In a dispatch Thursday, the opposition politician said the demolition being led by municipal authorities is “entirely disgusting, lacks empathy, is void of considerateness and is totally uncalled for at a time as crucial as this.”
Zama insists that the demolition of semi-permanent houses and makeshift business structures under the pretext of restoring urban order is nothing but a “wicked, soulless, brutal and selfish attack on the poor and most vulnerable in Limbe”. He only fell short of enumerating the difficulties locals go through as a result of the conflict in the country’s North West and South West Regions and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is with a lot of pity that we have observed the Council breaking and destroying small businesses along the streets in Limbe. Yes! That is what they are, small businesses. Those businesses support partially or entirely more than 80% of households in the municipality,” said Zama. “The city council and the government have had enough time to build an economy that works for everyone, an economy that can create jobs and carry the hopes and aspirations of everyone in the municipality. But they have failed! They have taken their failure and anger and are venting it on young Cameroonians.”
The SDF District Chairman says their frustration about this is the same today as it was in 2016 when the council started this exercise.
His words: “The council is renting out dilapidated structures in her markets and the same council has been collecting taxes and rents from these small businesses. Why has the council not destroyed and rebuilt her rundown market stalls or stopped collecting taxes and rents from these small businesses? Why benefit from them and turn around and stab them in the back when they are doing everything to survive in a very bad economy?
“We are living in an existential crisis and the actions of the council must be considerate and compassionate. If anything, the council should start by breaking down its rundown stalls in the markets that stink of filth. We would have thought the council would be providing small credit schemes for the many who are struggling to do business and feed their families on a daily basis but instead they are busy destroying businesses that people have gone into loans to set up.”
As a way out, Zama says the council must immediately reconsider its path and engage “actions that will bring profound joy to the poor and vulnerable in society because that is the task they have at hand”.
Cameroon-Info.Net recalls that Zama was arrested on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, on the instructions of the then Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Fako, Zang III after he led a protest against demolitions at the time.
Indeed, a 48-hour administrative detention was slammed on the local opposition party leader for protesting the demolition of semi-permanent and makeshift structures in the town of Limbe.
Zama had confronted local administrative officials who were supervising the demolition exercise at the Cassava Farms neighborhood with a placard on which he called for the demolition of some structures at the Limbe Markets constructed with temporal materials.
“Go and demolish temporal structures at the Limbe Markets before moving to demolish privately owned structures,” the placard read.
According to the SDO, Zama’s action was intended to incite the population to disobey public authorities and by extension call for a rebellion.
Like in 2016, Zama remains unbending, urging the City Council to “create employment opportunities for youths rather than demolish houses left for them by their fathers and grandfathers.”