#defyhatenow Media Mentions

The Guardian Post Daily : Hon Malomba Mobilises Over 1500 Taxi Drivers against Hate

The Member of Parliament, MP, for Buea Urban Constituency, Hon Donald Malomba Esembe, has rallied over 1,500 taxi drivers in the city in a campaign against hate speech and related vices.

The campaign dubbed: “StopBadMop”, was flagged off Saturday January 6 in the mountainside city of Buea.

The campaign is a joint initiative of Hon Malomba Esembe and the civil society organisation, Civic Watch; through the #defyhatenow initiative, and the chapters of taxi driver unions in Buea, including SN-CHAUTAC, SYNCHCAM, SYNATUIRCAM, SYNTRACAM and FADU.

The unprecedented launch of the campaign saw in attendance over 1,500 taxi drivers mobilised from across the city of Buea.

During the launch of the campaign, an awareness raising session was held. It was facilitated by the head of the DefyHateNow initiative, Ngala Desmond and the MP for Buea Urban, Hon Malomba Esembe. 

The exchanges between the drivers and facilitators were frank and productive. 

Shortly after the session, the organisers and taxi drivers embarked on a motorised caravan of taxis from the Molyko Omnisports Stadium through Bokoko, Bonduma, Great Soppo, Clerks

 Quarters to the office of the Divisional Officer, DO of Buea. 

There, an impressive array of personalities, traditional rulers and denizens of Buea, waited impatiently for the caravan. 

The ceremony at the esplanade of the DO’s Office was chaired by the Chief Executive of the Subdivision, Abba Abdouraman. 

Other activities organised during the event included an ecumenical devotion. It was piloted by the Imam of the Buea Central Mosque, El Hadj Mohamed Aboubakar, Rev Mrs Tanyi Ekwoge Eloh Esther of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon and Rev Nji David of the Cameroon Baptist Convention.

During the prayer session, the trio commended the taxi drivers and organisers for the initiative, before urging the drivers to make their taxi spaces havens of love and harmony for peace and living together in the community. 

There was the presentation of the campaign “StopBadMop,” by the implementing partner, Ngala Desmond of the Civic Watch Association. 

It was Eben Chu, president of the Buea Chapter of SYNCHCAM, who spoke on behalf of his peers during the event.

In reading the declaration on behalf of his colleagues, Chu stated that taxi drivers in Buea had agreed to stand against all forms of hate. 

Other speakers during the event included two members of the South West House of Chiefs, Chief Etina Monono of Great Soppo, Buea and Chief Ndike Kombe Richard of Mondoni in Tiko Subdivision.

The monarchs had taken turns to exhort the drivers to continue in the new found spirit of promoting love and living together. 

There was also an intervention by the Executive Secretary of the South West Regional Assembly, Becky Limunga Effoe, who in a very motherly manner praised the drivers, commended their determination and urged them to stick with love. 

Entry Hon Malomba

When Hon Malomba Esembe, chief organiser of the event, took to the rostrum during the launch of the campaign in Buea, he first thanked the taxi drivers for turning out en masse to participate in the event.

He recounted that during his discussions with the leadership of the drivers’ unions in Buea, in the buildup to the event, his attention was drawn to the vulnerable situation of some drivers who suffered bodily injuries and material loss from armed groups and also of families that have been deprived of their loved ones, due to attacks from same groups. 

The lawmaker said he took upon himself to present the situation to the Minister of Territorial Administration, MINAT; who is in charge of matters of civilian protection.

He disclosed that the MINAT boss, Atanga Nji Paul, sent through him, a special message of condolence from the Presidential Couple to the four bereaved families, and a message of encouragement to the two drivers who suffered terrorist attacks. 

The condolence messages were accompanied by cash and in-kind gifts from the Presidential Couple to the vulnerable families. 

On the spot, the mayor of Tiko, Chief Peter Ikome Mesoso, who was so touched empathised with the six families and added to each of them the sum of 50,000 FCFA. 

The Imam of Buea, El hadj Mohamed Aboubakar, who was also moved by compassion at the sight of a little boy whose father, the late Akuma Sullivan Ndi, was killed by Amba fighters and his taxi burnt to ashes on 11 September 2023 in Muea, Buea. 

The Imam publicly announced that the Buea Central Mosque will henceforth cater for the education of the little boy. 

Hon Malomba had meanwhile during the event, presented to the taxi drivers, gifts from the Presidential Couple received through the MINAT consisting of bags of rice, cartons of vegetable oil and salt.

The taxi drivers who received assistance during the event included Acha Hope Nphong, who was kidnapped and grievously tortured in November 2020 and Lafayette Mekume, who lost his taxi during an attack in September 2023.

The families of four taxi drivers killed by armed groups also received assistance. They include the families of the late Ngo Wilfred, Feugang Beaudelaire, Akuma Sulivan Kudi and Yusuffar Oumarou.

The drivers, overwhelmed by the gesture from the Presidential Couple, expressed profound gratitude and reiterated their determination to work for a united and strong Cameroon under the leadership of President Paul Biya. 

Speaking at the close of the event, Buea Divisional Officer, Abba Abdouraman, appreciated the organisers of the campaign, describing it as not only lofty but timely.

The civil administrator said he was all joy to have witnessed such a republican event.

He said it was the first of its kind for taxi drivers to have been mobilised to combat hate speech in his area of jurisdiction. 
He has assured the MP for Buea Urban and other partners of his availability to work with them in the said crucial domain for which the Head of State set up a commission to promote harmonious living together.

AuthorMua Patri

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