Cameroon: Trade Union Leaders thank bike riders

By Shout-Africa Cameroon correspondent – Bike riders came to the end of three months activities to call for peace, say no to manipulation and join government’s bid to foster the peace in the country over the week-end.

bike taxi riders cameroonOne of the sectors that constitute a veritable force in the country on Friday celebrated the successes of its peace crusade which ran from September to November 2011. Aimed at mobilizing all motorbike riders in the country, the peace campaign was organized in the wake of the October 9 presidential election in Cameroon.

At a news conference to thank all bike riders in Douala, the President of the Peace Commission of National Trade Union of Motorbike Taxis in Cameroon, SYNAMOTAC, Guy Bruno Youmsi Chimba did not hide his feeling: “We are thanking all riders because our goal was attained. We refused being manipulated, said no disorder, but consolidated peace before, during and after the presidential election. This is to demonstrate the maturity in which the corps has attained.” Before addressing the press in Akwa, Douala, SYNAMOTAC undertook a march for peace from the esplanade of the DO of Bonassama to Omnisport. A football encounter rounded up the three months of peace mobilization activities on Saturday.

This was in recognition of the firm decision by bike riders who refused to heed calls for protests which might have resulted to unrest. Some people had engaged to influence us to go to the streets. “In 16 years of commercial bike riding I have come to understand that disorder in the sector can contribute to enough disaster. Some people use the riders to achieve unholy and selfish gains. Some people join the sector either to steal, or cause political insurrection and then when that is achieved they quit the sector. We want to show the Head of State, who has ceaselessly fought for the peace of this country, our maturity to consolidate that peace.” These activities were motivated by experiences at elections in some African countries, where social unrest completely took over the fate of the nations. “We wanted also prevent such situations in Cameroon. I’ve received anonymous calls at the October 9 election calling on me to rally the trade union to join in protest marches. But we were resolute; we refused provoking disaster, but mobilized ourselves to defend our career and image,” Guy Bruno disclosed.

By 2009, Douala had at least 60,000 motorbikes, while Cameroon as whole counted some 250,000 bikes. There were about 15 stalls in Douala selling motorbikes in 2010. Currently an average 20 motorcycles are sold in Douala daily. The region with the highest number of motorbikes being the Grand North, and we have found out from our survey in 2009 that an individual in that region owned 3,000 motorbikes.

Insecurity remains our highest difficulty. I receive a plethora of complaints protesting a wide range of abuses including thefts, armed robbery, fatal assault, pick-pocketing and we have not ceased to call upon competent authorities to help us out. We face constant harassments like the issues relating to matriculation, which must be handled with care. But want authorities to know that the situation in Douala is peculiar: the city has many ethnic groups, political parties and the city itself is a gateway to other countries and the enforcement of such measures must well calculated and hand-in-gloves with our trade union. That is why out of the 21 documents government asked every bike to have, we requested four.