It is three pm downtown Yaounde and there is some traffic congestion along the Warda neighbourhood this Monday, 18th December 2017, the date on which the Yaounde Christmas trade fair, YA-FE is supposed to start.
Many Yaounde city dwellers boarded vehicles en route to YA-FE but got disappointed when they reached the venue for this year’s event, the Yaounde Multisports Complex, only to realise that it has been postponed again after the initial opening date, 16th December 2017 was pushed forward to 18th December.
They were greeted by closed gates…at one corner of the road, pots and dishes belonging to caterers could be seen; at another corner an abandoned ice cream machine; at yet another corner of the sidewalk, a pop corn vendor is stationed, visibly depressed; makeshift bars have sprouted opposite the Sports Complex, with almost no customers.
Youths are also seen lingering around the area which has been placed under military surveillance.
Notices pasted on the wall indicate that for security reasons, the fair has to move to another site.
Many inhabitants of Yaounde are worried with the situation. Danielle was at the grounds on Sunday and again on Monday only to meet closed gates. “I am disappointed because I have spent a lot on taxi fares!” she laments.
Fabrice Mbeudeu, a pop corn vendor just like Danielle, is disappointed as he envisaged doing great sales during the opening ceremony.
Nicholas, a restaurant owner shares a more pathetic story. He explains that he is about to loss over 500.000 CFAF since he paid for a stand at the grounds for his culinary services.
This morning, he came along with his fresh vegetables to cook and no business means perishable products will get bad.
Yaounde en fete, often referred to as YA-FE was moved from the Yaounde Conference Centre to the Multisports Complex this 2017 and the official opening date was Saturday 16th December 2017 but on 14th December 2017, the Senior Divisional Officer of Yaounde II – Tsinga in an official letter, requested the organisers of the fair, Inter progress to relocate the fair to another site.
The organisers released another press release this Monday that YA-FE will hold at the May 20th Boulevard.
**Read more about the relocation of YA-FE since its inception here.