When Harambee Starlets face the Black Queens of Ghana in their opening game of the 2016 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in the Cameroonian town of Limbe on Sunday, there is a probability that only few local football fans will turnout.
This is because of the mood of residents at predominantly English-speaking Limbe in South West Cameroon, hosts of Kenya’s Group ‘B’ fixtures. The low fan turnout at last week’s Cameroon vs Zambia World Cup 2018 qualifier played in Limbe is seen by some as an early warning signal that the crowds at the women’s tournament will be low.
Anglophone activist groups that launched a call for a boycott of the tournament, greeted photos of largely empty stadiums as a sign of victory that their call is being heeded.
Following disaffection with the predominantly French-speaking political authorities, seen to be unduly dominating their English-speaking compatriots, there have been calls for Anglophones in Cameroon to give a cold shoulder or outright boycott of the AFCON.
Cameroon’s Anglophones have held grudges against their Francophone brothers for duping them in a post-independence reunification deal where they expected to be equal partners.
They often complain of being treated as second-class citizens.
English-speaking Cameroonians in Limbe and neighbouring towns were left in utter shock as security forces molested the Common Law Lawyers group that has been on strike to protests the government’s attempts to erode the Common Law practice in constitutionally bilingual and bijural Cameroon.
The Limbe populace is also vexed that the city’s council brutally removed roadside petit traders, causing some to lose their livelihood.
City authorities say they had to rid crowded roadsides of disorderly hawkers in order to keep the city clean and give it a facelift to welcome guests.
Anglophone teachers in the country say they will join the strike on Monday to uphold anglo-saxon values under threats in anglo-saxon Cameroon.
There are yet other recent grievances accounting for the seeming apathy among the local population of the Group ‘B’ host city.