Cameroon campaigning despite violence

Campaigning for Cameroon’s upcoming council and national assembly elections is well underway, despite threats from armed separatists in the English-speaking regions in the west, who dismiss  all activities organised by the largely French-speaking Cameroonian government as illegal.

When at the end of January 86-year-old President Paul Biya set the 9 February poll date, the separatists announced a six-day curfew. They threatened to “deal with” anyone venturing onto the streets, and in the past kidnapped more than 50 candidates.

More than 700 soldiers have been sent to English-speaking areas and Biya – who has held power for 37 years – says the election will be peaceful throughout the country. The biggest opposition party, Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), has urged an election boycott because of the security situation and a “biased electoral law”. Villagers from affected regions are fleeing to neighbouring Nigeria in fear of violence from both separatists and army. The UN and EU have urged the government to enter into a dialogue with the separatists.

“The international community really should help to solve this conflict,“ says Brian Bob Mbah, who lives in Buea, capital of the south-western English-speaking region. “People here are scared of going to campaign meetings because there are shootings both day and night. Nobody is safe. I hope I’m still alive after the elections.”

/Arison Tamfu, Cameroon

The postcards made by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.

Cameroon on the brink of civil war

Article published in Göteborgsposten
7 October 2018
By Arison Tamfu
Photos: Rodrigue Mbock

Cameroon. Paul Biya, Cameroon’s president, almost holds the world record for time in office. Today, Sunday, he’s likely to be given another seven years. But the country is increasingly divided. Separatists have declared independence in the English-speaking parts of the country, and violence is escalating.

Full article (in Swedish) here:

Armed men stormed the studio

Chronicle published in Journalisten
4 January 2017
By  Arison Tamfu

Cameroon. Cameroon’s president Paul Biya, 83, has occupied his post for 34 years and is one of most Africa’s long-lived rulers. At the beginning of 2008 he announced that he wanted to modify the constitution, implicitly securing his power hold for life. Masses of Cameroonians took to the streets to protest.

I was working at the privately owned Equinoxe Television (ETV) – one of the most popular TV channels in the country – and on February 25 I was meant to interview the leader of the opposition, Fru Ndi, about the suggested changes to the constitution.

I had barely started the interview before armed police stormed the studio and ordered the interview to stop and the TV channel to be shut down. A few weeks later, the constitution was changed to the president’s advantage.

Full article here: