By Paul Njie
The late Mayor of the Buea Council, Ekema Patrick Esunge was seen as a man at war with members of his own political party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM).
He would often accuse CPDM elite from Fako as working against him and the ideals of the Head of State, President Paul Biya. He had a long-lasting feud with his predecessor — now CPDM senator for Fako — Mbella Moki Charles.
In September 2018, gunshots were heard around Sawa Hotel in Douala when Mayor Ekema made his way into the hotel. Security forces had been falsely alerted that armed separatist fighters had made their way into the hotel — the men were rather the bodyguards of the late mayor, who were dressed in civilian attire.
After clarifications were made, Mayor Ekema said separatist fighters had nothing to do with the incident but claimed without proof that it was the handiwork of his political rivals.
Disagreements between Ekema Patrick Esunge and his direct collaborators were also rife. During his administration, at least four council officials were kicked out of office, including his First Deputy Mayor, Motomby Mbome, whom many say had fallen out with the boss of the council.
The late Mayor of Buea was considered brave and stern, yet other inhabitants of his municipality referred to him as disrespectful and insubordinate. In March 2019, the Mayor disrupted a peaceful march in the municipality organised by journalists who had authorisation from the Divisional Officer. Mayor Ekema said Buea was his town and prevented the authorised march from going on.
But, despite the intra-party feud between Ekema Patrick and other party members, some inhabitants of Buea say he was a good mayor and a good leader. He championed the cause against ghost towns in Buea, provided humanitarian assistance to people affected by the Anglophone crisis, and carried out developmental projects in his municipality.
He would be remembered as a man who held his municipality dearly at heart and fought till death to ensure that Buea was not taken over by people he claimed were out to destabilise the country and its unity.