An atmosphere of uncertainty is reigning in Kumba, SW region, barely two days to the celebrations to commemorate the 2017 Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March 2017. The excitement that is usually seen among women as the day approaches is not seen this year.
Even the usual mad rush for the women’s day fabric has completely disappeared this year, with not even a single tailor or seamstress acknowledging having stitched a women’s day dress for any woman.
At the Kumba main market, traders said they could not risk their money to buy the fabric from the Laiking suppliers because of the prevailing atmosphere in the town, marked by calls for boycott of all public events.
Some traders said the response that the public has since given to calls for boycott of other national events scared them from risking any business concerning the women’s day event.
“Putting your money in the women’s day fabric is a risk no reasonable trader can take at this time, especially considering the boycott calls coming from Consortium leaders,” said a trader at the Kumba Market by name Oga Louis, who added: “the women’s day period is usually a period for brisk business in the Kumba main market; but you can see for yourself that everything is dead this year. Perhaps the ongoing Anglophone crisis has made people to be scary, both buyers and sellers. Ever since the ghost towns started we are witnessing very rough times in the market. This has made everybody to be careful the way they risk their money.”
Some women who spoke to The Median said the calls for boycott and the threats on the lives of any women who will be seen wearing the fabric are what have killed the usual enthusiasm among the women of Kumba and its environs.
Other women said they see no reason to celebrate women’s day when their children are not going to school. Besides, the women say they have spent all their savings to pay school fees for their children, yet the children are still at home because of strikes and ghost towns.
Tailors and designers are perhaps the most affected by the boycott of women’s day fabric in Kumba.
“I have not received even a single fabric this year. This is very unusual because in past years I used to confection between 100 to 200 dresses for women and women’s groups,’ regretted Mrs. Alice Mbone, who lamented that the year has started on a really bad note for she and her colleagues of the same profession.
However, indications are that the women’s day will not be completely boycotted in Kumba and other towns of the SW region. We gathered that women working in public services have been threatened by their bosses that anyone who is not seen at the ceremonial ground on the 8th of March will go down for it. We were told that some services have provided the fabric for their women, urging them not only to take part in the march past but make it very colourful.
As for the manager of LAIKING, the company that supplies the women’s day cloth and other CICAM products in Kumba, much of the stock that they brought in from Douala has been sent back since the Kumba women have not shown any interest in the fabric.
-The Median Newspaper