Cameroon is hosting the 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the 2022 competition that has brought together 24 countries that qualified for the tournament.
The competition is taking place at a time when the two English speaking regions of the Central African country, the North West and the South West, are in a protracted conflict that was sparked by a protest involving lawyers and teachers in 2016.
An armed separatists’ movement claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged following the government’s crackdown on the protests.
English speakers make up around 20 percent of the country’s population and have long complained about being marginalized by the French-speaking ruling class.
In the January 10 interview, Fr. Lado called for stadium boycott of AFCON matches in Cameroon.
“I simply invite Cameroonians who care about human dignity to boycott stadium in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the bushes in the North West and South West regions and with those jailed in violation of human rights and public liberties,” the Jesuit Priest who serves at the Centre for Studies and Training for Development (CEFOD) in Chad said.
“I protest against an Afcon conceived in corruption and financial mismanagement,” Fr. Lado who has launched an online campaign protesting against Cameroon hosting the football competition told ACI Africa during the January 10 interview.
He added, “I protest against an Afcon played over the corpses and in the blood of English-speaking Cameroonians (Anglophones). I protest against an Afcon in a country that is insensitive to human rights and dignity.”
“I protest against an Afcon in a country that officially imports prostitutes with taxpayers’ money for the competition,” the Jesuit Priest who has been vocal about the ongoing violence in the English-Speaking regions of Cameroon further said, adding, “It is time to re-humanize world soccer soaked in corruption.”
Last year, Fr. Lado embarked on a 245-kilometre pilgrimage dedicated to efforts toward dialogue, peace and reconciliation in the Anglophone regions of his native country.