ADB assures prompt delivery of Kumba/Mamfe road

Irked by jerky implementation of contacts in the Southwest Region, the Resident Representative of African Development Bank, ADB, and his aides were on a field trip in Kumba, to have a more intimate feel of the setbacks to expedient implementation of ADB sponsored projects, particularly, the Kumba/Mamfe road, that has lately been experiencing funding transfer problems.

According to the Resident Representative of ADB in Cameroon, Racine Kane, it is an opportunity to share experiences, examine and evaluate the execution of all projects engaged in the country.

The Representative revealed that delay among others has greatly affected the execution of projects in the country.

“There are problems of delay in receiving and sending documents to ADB and procurement sites and ways to reinforce their projects.”

He, however, noted that so far, they are trying to improve on the quality of their services in Cameroon; since their problem is not the resources but the execution of projects. Nevertheless, with the assistance of MINEPAT, ADB will ameliorate the performance of its portfolio.

He noted that such colossal sums to be invested in Cameroon, will meetup with the objectives of the country.

The Resident Representative noted that most of the projects are concentrated in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of the country, which they hope, will link the two Regions through road infrastructures.

“Our main interest in Cameroon is infrastructure, especially in the transport sector. More than 60 percent of our portfolio is related to transport, sanitation projects as well as agricultural projects,” he noted.

He assured the population that ADB will continue to invest in Cameroon in order to promote governance, to reinforce kits in capacity building, particularly,in the public finance sector.

This information by the Resident Representative of ADB, Kane came against the backdrop of a two-day meeting from August 10 to 11 held in Kumba to brainstorm on ways forward for projects sponsored in the country general and the Southwest Region in particular.

The 41st quarterly meeting was chaired by Meme Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, Chamberlain Ntou’ou Ndong.

In his welcome address the SDO noted with great joy that his Division has benefited from the investments of ADB and as such on behalf of his people he thanked them for the construction of the Kumba-Mamfe road which already has visible results. He also alluded to the creation of a training program in biomedical equipment maintenance in Government Technical Teachers Training College Kumba amongst others.

The SDO also thanked the African Development Bank for the projects carried out in the country so far, especially, in the domain of road infrastructure and the provision of basic amenities.

The administrator said the construction of the Kumba-Mamfe road the Bamenda-Mamfe-Eko-Enugu road will not only link the Northwest and Southwest Regions but the country and the world at large.

Kumba-Mamfe Road to be completed in under a year

The Resident Representative has disclosed that Cameroon will benefit investment and financed projects next year to the tune of more than $1.5 billion, more than FCFA 800 billion.

The ADB Chieftain in Cameroon also disclosed that the ongoing Kumba-Mamfe road project will be completed in less than a year.

According to the Representative the road project, being one of their major projects in the country, falls within their goals of linking the Northwest to the Southwest Regions through road infrastructure.

It should be noted that this meeting took place barely two weeks after the visit to Cameroon of the President of the African Development Bank Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, when he lay the foundation block at the Lom-Pangar hydroelectric dam which will at full term produce 30 MW of electricity to supply 150 localities in the East Region.

By Ngende Esther Boh

Can reopened Bamenda airport empower the common man economically, socially?

Common man would benefit if fares are reduced

The only advantage is that distances would be covered within a relatively short period of time. Avoiding hurdles on road such as traffic and delays on the way but it would not help the common man who hasn’t got the financial means especially during these tough times. If the fares are brought down, it would help the common man.

Evans Chi, Businessman Bamenda

 

It would civilize our children

It is going to facilitate movement of people from Bamenda to Yaounde and Douala and back to Bamenda but I think the fare of thirty two thousand to and fro does not consider other things. What if one is travelling to be back in two years? If they have to charge these travelers double, then it means they would be losing; so the officials should look into this. Tickets should also be made for one way flights. The coming of the airport in itself is good because children who had never seen a train now have the opportunity to see. If more airline companies come to Bamenda not just Camairco, it would be good because our skies would be busy and people would also make their choices over which planes they would like to use.

 David Awah, Business manager Bamenda

 

It would facilitate transportation

The coming of the airport to Bamenda is good and the price of flights too is cheap. It would facilitate transportation to Douala and Yaounde with ease. With the plane, the fatigues on the road are evaded. Travelling by road to Yaounde would reduce tiredness and stress that is associated with long hours when using road transport. Highways have have failed us so badly even though with air transport we don’t have access to all areas in Cameroon.

Samuel Chop, Teacher, Bamenda

 

Relief patients with emergency issues

We are happy that Camairco has come to Bamenda and we thank the Government for that initiative. It is a good advantage for patients who can be transported instantly to medical facilities in and out of the Region especially when it comes to emergency cases. But what if a patient needs the services of Camairco on days like Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays when planes do not fly? I think planes should be allowed to fly 24 on seven for the benefit of patients.

N Grace Yellulah, Pharmacist Bamenda

S Air transport would favour the upper class

Air transport is a big relief to the people of the Northwest region especially for those who are businessmen. It would ease their movement to other places and bring development. But I think in the nearest future, the Government should upgrade the services so that flights should move from inter regional to international.  I would also say the Government is in a rush. It’s not logical to go by air when we have not finished with road constructions. I think they would have given more preference to roads because a vast majority of Cameroonians travel by road. The plight of a common man is to see that roads are developed. Air transport would only favour those of the high class who would afford.

Celestine Tatah, Teacher Bamenda

 

Businessmen and Working class are targeted

Camairco is supposed to be beneficial to every person but given the economic situation in Bamenda with a lot of poverty, only a certain class of people would benefit. Camairco´s activities in Bamenda targeted businessmen and working class people.  Comparatively, the fares that have been fixed are cheap; it’s just that the common man cannot afford. Personally I would prefer to go by air than to use bad roads.

Roland Kinyang, Accountant Bamenda

 

Flights are affordable for the common man

It is a good idea by Camairco staff to settle in Bamenda and it came timely when we have problems with our road network. Considering that a greater population of Bamenda is getting more into business, flights would ease the smooth running of their business and maximize time. I think flights are very affordable for any common man compared to the stress encountered when using roads.

Solomon Mbanwei, Lawyer

 

A common man would hardly travel by air

It is going to serve time for those who have urgent transactions and would help those who can afford but it would not do anything to the man on the street because the cost of moving from Bamenda to Yaounde by road is by far cheaper than by air that would cost close to FCFA 33,000 so a common man would find it difficult to travel by air.

Bartholomew Fofou, Lawyer

 

A common man cannot fly

Camairco is going to ease movement to Yaounde and Douala. But the disturbing issue is that roads still remain bad. Not everybody can travel by air, so how does a common man go about movement. The roads within Bamenda and leading to the airport are horrible. I wonder how somebody drops at the airport and continues on a road as bad as that. However, Camairco is a great innovation that has come and we embrace it

Miranda Muluh Akumah, Lawyer Bamenda

 

It has no impact to the common man

It has no impact to the local man because they are poor and cannot even afford FCFA 5,000 to pay their bills so how would they afford FCFA 32,000 to pay a ticket to Yaounde or Douala. But for those who are extremely rich, there’s no problem. These are the people who can carry twenty family members to Yaounde or Douala by air.

Solomon Ebane Munongo, Animal Engineer, Bamenda

 

Common man isn’t privileged

Camairco´s coming to Bamenda is something we had been expecting and we received it with happiness because it is going to decongest road transport. But I fear the reliability of Camairco is not certain. I see it as a dead trap, especially as the machinery is run by the Chinese. We all know that Chinese goods are not formidable. The common man who lives from hand to mouth would never have the privilege to see the airport.

 Boniface Chia, Insurer Bamenda

 

Compiled Jean Marie Ngong Song

Bamenda Airport, just another white elephant project

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

Commuters in Bamenda have described the reopening of the Bamenda airport in Bafut as one of the Government’s misplaced priority projects planted here to serve only the same Government and its agents and not the local man or woman in Bamenda and in the Northwest Region as a whole. Despite its inaugural flight on July 20, re-launching the airport after three decades of inactivity, it came without renovation, at the heart of the ongoing Anglophone crisis and general hardship in Bamenda.

The economy of Bamenda and the Region by extension thrives on small scale businesses, predominantly agrarian with no major industrial action that can improve the daily earnings overnight. ‘Buyam sellams’ have been used to the strenuous land transport often characterized by incredibly poor road conditions, overcrowded buses and might be tempted to remain with these habits of theirs especially as the airport reopening came at a moment of hardship.

The roads within the city of Bamenda have greatly depreciated to a level that cars and motor bikes now visit the garage in hurly basis. Strolling within the city these days has been made worst as the remaining patches of tar has been stuffed with mud and it gets worst when it rains, a condition that is incessant these days.

The famous Ring Road promised by the head of state and placed under his so called personal supervision some time ago is still to be executed, not even by half; the seven Divisions of the Northwest Region namely, Boyo, Ngoketujia, Momo, Bui Mezam and Donga-Mantung are still to have tarred roads of class that link them to the central Bamenda town. The supply of potable water within the city still remains an underdeveloped area with public taps completely grounded or operated by private individuals and most often, the taps are dry even when there is the availability of purchasing power. The situation has rather come under self-reliant projects like the Bamenda III council purified water scheme and the Nkwen water scheme, pointing to the fact that water and related basic necessities are still in great need in the Region with some areas like Nzah fondom without even electricity.

Given that Bamenda is the third biggest city in Cameroon, there are many people travelling to and from here from all angles of Cameroon daily and CAMAIRCO flights from Douala and Yaoundé might not be able to ease this traffic, given that an air ticket is 32.840 FRS and equivalent of four trips to Yaoundé and back on a vehicle, a situation many in the Region have been used to for decades, talk less of affordability.

According to Vanessa Kum, wholesaler of body lotions at the Bamenda food market, the coming of the airport shall add little to her business and the Bamenda economy.” I go to Douala almost twice a month to buy supplies. I have the money to pay an air ticket. Can they carry my products that are always in cartons? So it’s not sensible t to me. If even they do, how will the reach the market? Look at Ntarinkon road and others in town. They should finish with the roads first,” she belabored.

To Nerius Nji, it’s a well calculated move by the Government to continue punishing the citizens of the Region. “The Government is bringing the airport so that when her officials are to come to the Region, they will come by air and poor people like us shall be left to use the bad roads. This government is wicked,” he said.

Northwest mass vaccination targets 180,000 cattle

A mass vaccination campaign targeting 180,000 heads of cattle has been launched in Bamenda the chief town of Northwest Region with a call to Veterinarians (Vets) in the Region have been enjoined to be prudent in administering vaccines on cattle when they go to the field.

The call was made on Tuesday, July 25, by Northwest Regional Delegate of Livestock Fisheries and Animal Industries, MINEPIA, Dr. Heinandez Atanga, together with the Director of Livestock Development Fund, CDENO, Michael Shupong Mbah during an occasion to launch the 2017 Cattle Mass Vaccination Campaign at the Conference Hall of the Regional Delegation.

The immunization campaign aims at administering the Perivax, Symptovax, Pastovax and Ndulovax so as to make cattle immune to deadly livestock pathologies like contagious bovine Pleuropneumonia, Black Quarter, Hemorrhagic Septicemia and Pasteurellosis noted to cause death tolls in cattle and consequent fall in the number of cattle bred.

In attendance were all Divisional and Sub-Divisional Delegates from the seven divisions of the Northwest Region. They converged to receive drugs and vaccine equipment to convey to their various delegations for immunization of cattle.

Before distributing the vaccines, the presiding officials cautioned technicians on conscientiousness; “Be diligent in the exercise to protect animals. Make sure you mobilize and sensitize cattle grazers before administration of vaccines so that the herdsmen come out in their numbers. Negotiate an appropriate period for vaccination. Do not impose the time on grazers,” the presiding officials counseled.

The subordinates were also warned against some malpractices in the field that can trigger ineffectiveness; vets were told to avoid combination of two or more vaccines in one syringe but to stick to the policy of ‘one vaccine one syringe’, to desist from exposing drugs to heat which is likely to damage them and to shun snobbish attitudes towards local grazers.

Some veterinarians exposed problems often encountered in the field, especially, peripheries that often go unvaccinated to include failure by the ministry to map them out, deliberate refusal by herdsmen to expose their cattle for vaccination, grazers′ lack of confidence in the vaccine, resistance by Fulani men to pay for vaccination, poorly constructed crushes and difficulty in accessing some terrains. The complaints were laid to the CDENO Director, Shupong Mbah, who acknowledged the problems and encouraged his colleagues.

“There are always problems. Our means are limited to our ends. It is when we strive to meet these challenges that we are credited. Concerning areas skipped during vaccination, the ministry knows about them but they always start with top priority areas before going to the grassroots. In the same vein, you should always begin with top urgent areas. First tackle the disease that would kill you,” he quipped.

An evaluation of a mass vaccination campaign carried out in 2016, was also, part of the event. Veterinarians applauded themselves for being ranked second in the previous year’s vaccination with a total of 166,200 cattle vaccinated. The statistics also revealed that Fundong Sub-Division had the highest number of cattle followed by Misaje Sub-Division.

On a sad note, cattle in areas like Menchum Valley and Bafut were noticed with skin diseases which according to the Divisional Delegate for Mezam, meant the Ndulovax was poorly administered. The animal technicians were thus called to be judicious in order to avoid future occurrence. Meanwhile, Divisional and Sub Divisional Delegates would perfect the exercise via routine follow ups.

They departed to their various destinations with vaccines. Immunization of each cow has been fixed at a subsidized rate of FCFA 85. Vets agreed to reassemble at the Regional Headquarter in October to evaluate the 2017 Cattle Mass Vaccination.

By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum

Experts flay tardy execution of projects

By Nester Asonganyi

With only five months to the end of the current financial year, the verdict on the state of execution of the Public Investment Budget, PIB in the Southwest Region paints a very sombre picture that pegs it on 25 percent; a circumstance that has forced experts to mandate all stakeholders to embrace effective work in order to avoid the mess looming over state sponsored projects in the Region.

Ngujebe Ngoh Bob

Southwest Regional Follow-up Committee Chairperson, Hon. Ngujebe Ngoh Bob, rang the alarm bell Wednesday, July 26, in Buea, during a Regional follow-up committee meeting to evaluate the execution of PIB projects in the Region.

During the meeting, it was revealed that despite an increment in the Region’s budget this year to FCFA 7 billion, up from FCFA 4.6 billion in 2016, the execution rate of projects stands at just 25 percent; a situation Hon. Ngujebe said if stakeholders and contractors in particular, do not wake up from slumber, the story may be very ugly.

“What is not satisfying is the level of execution which is at 25 percent today. Anyone doing simple arithmetic will want to put it at, at least 70 percent,” he said. As Chairperson of the committee, Ngujebe cautioned against excuses, especially, at the level of technical services where he said, they always come up with reasons why the execution rate is low.

“This is the time everybody has to sit up because if we don’t, we might be going in for a bad deal this year. That is why we have come up with very strong recommendations in terms of putting the files in order, ensuring very close follow-up so that in the next five or six months, we should be hitting at least 90 percent of execution rate,” he stated.

Five months to the end of the PIB year, there’s no project that can be boldly pinpointed as having been completed in the Region, and the excuse is; ‘it is still the first semester and since most of the contracts have been given out, palpable results are expected by November.’

According to the Regional Delegate of Public Contracts, Alfred Kati Njinti, the projects are following their normal course, even though there are some difficulties such as the late transmission of draft tender files, which he said is the beginning point of every project and projects cannot be attributed and/or executed without them.

“We find, equally, that even those that have been attributed cannot be executed because of some natural factors. For example, with the persistent rains, you cannot have good results from road works. That is why some of the projects are suspended until we have a good climate for it,” Kati Njinti said.

Difficulties hindering the smooth execution of projects were identified to include; immaturity of some projects; late submission of tender files; late arrival of some punctual credits; inadequate collaboration among stakeholders in the execution chain; non take off of some projects among others.

In the end, stakeholders decided to work harder and to respect deadlines. The Chairperson again, frowned at the unimpressive turnout of stakeholders at the meeting, cautioning that, it is important they attend such meetings in order to appropriately contribute their quota to local development.

Ghost towns, arson, bad roads are crippling Bamenda

Bamenda, arguably Cameroon’s third largest city is decrepit. It is enfeebled with infirmities. What passes for streets are dirt paths; pools of water dot the landscape. Stench and squalor welcome first timers to the Northwest Regional capital.

To add insult to injury, ghost towns and arsons remotely orchestrated by dissidents spoiling for a quick fix of the nagging Anglophone problem have practically crippled the city.

How is the city council coping with the avalanche of problems? How is the Anglophone conundrum impacting the city’s socio-economic trend in particular and the Region’s as a whole?

Jude Nsom Waindim, Secretary to the Bamenda City Council answers this and more in an exclusive interview granted The Rambler. It is at once pathetic and sizzling! 

 Q) Bamenda is in a state of total despair across the board; roads, social life, economy and political life and hygiene has simply gone kaput. Where lies the blame?

It is matter of shared responsibility. At the level of the City Council, we have a tri-annual project to tar roads within the sub divisional councils every year for the next three years. The first phase of it is ongoing. We have contracts for the maintenance of some earth roads. At the level of the city roads, we are aware that with the imminent stretch of the Bamenda-Babadjou road, the city of Bamenda shall benefit from 12km of dual carriage inner city roads. A few weeks ago, we received the French Ambassador here and the French development agency to carry out feasibility studies on the C2D, French debt relief programme. This programme shall see Bamenda having some 23 kilometres of roads to be done within the city apart from drainage, social facilities, and entertainment parks. It is a gradual process.

 

The socio-economic climate linked to the recent happenings cum the Anglophone crisis, we can say is shared responsibility. We opened our markets during ghost town days, but we cannot force the tenants to open their sheds. We can’t force them. It is a pity our kids are at home. They have been out of school virtually for one school year and every week businesses are grounded in respect of ghost town operation. We have coped with the kids at home and the difficult economic times.

It is heavy on the City Council because traders for the greater part of the week hesitate paying tolls. There are certainly some weeks where two whole days are ghost towns. It makes it difficult. We have called on people; traders, citizens to listen, to reason. Let us look for solutions to our problems rather than shooting ourselves on the leg. Yes, people are determined to have their demands heard; yes, the point has been made. I’m convinced that it’s time to take another step.

Q) Talking about roads, legendarily the ring road has sticky issues wrapped around it like a cobweb. Do you personally believe that this project will see the light of day in your life time?

I would have loved it to be completed in the next one, two or three years, but it’s a policy out of our portfolio. As a municipal manager, we really have no say. But it is a general cry that has lasted for so long. It is true that something is being done in patches. We would have loved that this road be taken in one fell swoop; we can only hope that things get better than this on this road.

Q) The City Council is blamed for everything wrong in Bamenda. What have you done to shed off this load of blame from your apparently administrative frail shoulders?

It is true that most of the blames are consequent on ignorance. It is true that may be we have not communicated as much as to clear the air. It is definite that when we communicate, there is still a lot of political manipulation; the people who really know the truth, but because of some political wants, what we have in mind is not heard.

We are in July, and it’s six months running that we had a new Bamenda City Council with HYSACAM. We went out of our way and had this contract entered into between the Government of Cameroon and HYSACAM. That’s a step in the positive direction. We have roads that are incumbent on us, and that those are the inner roads. The urban roads are the responsibility of the Ministry of Urban Development. It is true that once in a while, this ministry can send credits through the city council and our role is to do a contract through the tender’s board. The president of the tenders’ board is appointed from Yaoundé and not from the city council. We just oversee. When something is wrong we stop or write to Yaoundé. We also have roads that are the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works. It’s a shared responsibility. We are the only city council in the whole of Cameroon that from our budget, we are able to tar a few kilometers of roads through our tri-annual project.

Q) What has been the City Council’s approach to handling the crisis currently rocking the Anglophone component?

If you have been keen, you would have heard the Government Delegate in almost every radio station or slot in Bamenda, on pages of newspapers, we have sent out communiqués to radio. We have held meetings with traders, with their leaders.We have been vocal on the fact that, yes we have a problem and it has been identified; yes the authorities that we have, have accepted. We are also of the opinion that steps are being taken to resolve these problems. What we are against outright at the level of the city council is violence and arson. It started with us here with our structures destroyed. My office saw its windows coming down like that of the Government Delegate and fences and our gate. We are the first victims. We have been vocal, telling people that there is a way of going about solving problems. Violence should not be an option. We are vocal against calls for ghost towns. It should not be an option. Our markets have been burnt. Some of our attached structures have been burnt. We are victims and can only say no! to violence and yes! to dialogue.

 Q) How, would you imagine, has the crisis affected the economy of the Bamenda City in particular and the Northwest Region as a whole?

Bamenda thrives on petty trade, agriculture. When we shut down our businesses, it can only degenerate to what we are living now because we find it difficult even to embark on forceful recovery. We are finding it difficult to collect revenue. People refuse to pay tolls. People refuse to come and pay the taxes to the city council and if you go out with the social climate now for forceful recovery, you know what will happen. It’s really difficult and it’s affecting us enormously. The only luck we have is that, in spite of this, we have paid salaries regularly, run our administration daily though with difficulties and we’re trying our best as we can to pay our suppliers and contractors.

Q) Where do you stand as an individual vis-a-vis the prosecution of the bishops and other clergy in law courts?

It is a delicate issue and outright ridicule. I do not think the Bishops called for any strike action and the Bishops have been unequivocal that their doors are open. What makes the whole thing funny is the consortium of parents who have been distancing themselves from the case. I’m just wondering if there is not more to this than the eye catches. I’m so uncomfortable. Their point has been so clear and dragging the Bishops, the Moderator and the education secretaries on the fact that schools did not run is ridiculous.

Q) But apparently the Bishops, by the use of their exalted office deprived children of their right to education!

That is escapist! I have attended meetings where the education secretaries stood up to say schools should go on and parents said they were not going to send their children to school. So, it has gone beyond the Bishops. It’s now like the city council. We open our markets and shops owners refuse to open shops. The Bishops say their schools are open, they even ask kids to be brought to school and parents say no. I am of the opinion that schools should resume. What do you want the Bishops to do?

Q) Could you tell us how much has been reduced by the fire of protest fury in Bamenda and Northwest Region…

On our side, our markets have been damaged. The food market was burnt and the damage was estimated just on the property lost by traders at about FCFA 73million. We also know that the property on our lock up sheds was enormous and was in the neighborhood of FCFA 20 million. The Women’s Empowerment Centre completely went down; schools have been reduced to ashes. At the city council alone, the loss has gone up to FCFA 60 million. It has really been huge on us.

Q) And do you think, these burnings can ultimately resolve the demands of those protesting in particular and English speaking Cameroonians in general?

A categorical no! From my experience as municipal administrator, just imagine that people are clamouring for an administrative unit to control. Take it to be the Bamenda City Council Area, you want to come and control it but you burn the markets, schools and everything and when you finally have possession of that administrative unit, you start reconstruction afresh? It’s better to conserve and protect what we have now, when we have total control, we take off from there. It’s foolhardy to do that.

Q) Local administrators and other state agents like you have been proclaiming the security, the safety of students and pupils who want to return to school; however what is seen on the ground is insecurity written in capital letters because despite gun-toting gendarmes parading the place, the burnings and intimidation has continued unabated.

I will rather not comment on military administration. The powers that be have their intelligence service. They act in function of their intelligence reports; know when to step in and out. It’s tricky to comment on military policy and maneuvers.

Q) In all of these, there are two extremes; those who are swearing secession and nothing else and those who are for federation and dialogue. Which is your personal stand?

On a very personal note, if I must choose between federation and secession, I will cover my eyes and go for federation. It says it all. Those who are going for secession have their arguments but from the case of Cameroon and from those who have experienced the previous federation, if we were to move another step away, I think between the two options, in my humble opinion, federation will be my choice. At the same time, if we move our decentralization policy one step ahead, we may not be even talking about federation. It’s also true that the process has been slow. If it had been effective from Day One and followed up, I don’t think we would be where we are.

Q) Between the Anglophone crisis and bad governance which one is the worst?

All of them are evils. If everything is bad governance, it’s bad governance. If we have Anglophone crisis, I think those may be two sides of the same coin because the Anglophone anchor all their demands on bad governance. They accuse the powers that be, the central Government in Yaoundé of not taking proper consideration of the others. It has to do with governance and I think they are two side of the same coin. They are two evils that need to be handled as one.

Q) How will Bamenda roads look in like in the next two years?

The Bamenda-Babadjou road reconstruction starts in October. Whether it takes one or two years, the responsibilities remain the same. There are roads to be maintained by the City Council, those by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Public Works and everybody should take their responsibility.

I will like to tell all denizens that nobody loves this city more than the other. Same as nobody loves this Region more than the other and nobody can pretend to love Cameroon more than the other. It is outrageous for a group of people to sit somewhere and dictate what should happen to a whole people whereas, in every perspective, they are secured in a kind of Heaven somewhere. The repeated calls from the Diaspora for burnings, boycotts, I have said and shall say again that they should also pull out their kids from school in solidarity with us. We shall then know they are serious. We know where our shoes pinch; we are living it and we are saying that there are many ways to solve these, rather than sacrifice our kids; it’s been long enough a time to look at a different strategy.

Interviewed by Jean Marie Ngong Song

 

CAMAIR-CO flights to service Bamenda this week

By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum & Jean Marie Ngong Song

Years after its creation, Cameroon Airlines Corporation, CAMAIR-CO will officially launch its first flights into and out of Bamenda on July 20, 2017.

CAMAIR-CO General Manager, Ernest Dikoum, made the disclosure on Wednesday July 12 at the Bamenda airport site in Mile 8, Mankon during a meeting to evaluate the readiness of the airport by Northwest Governor, Adolph Lele l’Afrique Tchofo Debe and other service heads of the Region.

During the four-hour meeting all the units of the airport were inspected, including the automatic weather unit, the fire brigade unit, restaurant, registration desk, reception and luggage packs. Evaluation revealed that some equipment of the airport had been recently destroyed by vandals and the airport lacked basic facilities like water. At the end of the day tongues were wagging about the observation that the working staff already put in place was predominantly Francophone.

The head of service at the Automatic whether station explained that flights would kick off as from 8:00am when obstacles to visibility during flights such as fog shall have cleared.

As the Governor and his entourage assessed the units and airport gadgets, the French speaking staff heads explained in French the functioning of their machinery. After observation, Governor Lele l’Afrique expressed his conviction. “I call on all inhabitants of the Northwest within and without and those abroad to make good use of this tool given to us. We now have something in hand that can ease economic activities between Bamenda and the other cities of the country.”

Asked about what job prospects the airport will bring for Bamenda youths, GM Dikoum’s response was bleak. “In Bamenda we already have a working team but let’s not look at it in terms of job opportunities because we are not coming to recruit new staff in Bamenda. We are sending people to come and work but as we move ahead we would be able to develop other sources and recruit people as we extend our networks. For now we need people who are experienced and can really work in the field.”

According to Mr. Dikoum, the aircraft to be deployed is a forty-eight seater and will do three flights a week. He precluded thoughts that the Bamenda airport is intended to be linked to Douala and Yaounde, stating that the focus is to link Bamenda to the network of CAMAIRCO-CO so that people would easily navigate across regions within the shortest possible time and with less fatigue. “We should be proud of what has been done so far in terms of the investment service because you would rarely see countries across Africa with such an infrastructure,” Dikoum said. Meantime, bill boards punctuate every side of the highway carrying a price tag of FCFA 32000 for flights. It’s not yet clear whether the amount is per flight or not.

Rain water denies travelers access into Bamenda

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

Access into Bamenda was temporarily blocked for many hours last Sunday, July 16, by rain water following heavy down pour that triggered a rise in run offs.

At Up Station Bamenda, few meters to the monument erected during the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the military, a section of the road that has been a death trap and killed many, was one of the most affected.

The portion of the road for months now has had water settling inside the road that looks like a fish pond. Cars have to be practically pushed through. Most of the vehicles have to visit the garage upon arrival in Bamenda. Last Sunday was a moment to reflect on the necessity to repair or construct new roads in Bamenda. It was a sharp contrast to what the Minister of Public works Emmanuel Nganu Djoumessi said on May 16, at Santa, while launching the to-be reconstruction of the Bamenda – Babadjou road. He announced that work was to commence the next day. Till now, passengers still wait for rain to use the road. According to a post by a Bamenda based female journalist Comfort Mussa on the social media immediately the pictures were published, Bamenda needs total redemption by God himself. “Every rainy season now endures such scenes. Most of our road becomes practically impassable. Electricity, internet, and TV signals; as you drive to Bamenda from other regions, you can tell where Government priorities are. Where the tar gets thinner than plantain chips and the potholes get wider- welcome to Bamenda. I wish you could here me sing, we don tire Government premises, slogans, commissions, road map and projects launched.”

The situation in Bamenda town is no better; road junctions like New Road Junction in Mile 2 have potholes which could only be compared to crater lakes. SONAC and Ayaba Streets are a total ridicule with the bridge before City Chemist almost giving way.

The people hope Government will do something before the situation deteriorates further.

 

MTN Foundation builds, equips, hands over 3 primary schools to Gov’t

Within its framework of ‘Y’ello Schools’, the renown and one of the leading telecommunication networks in Africa
and Cameroon in particular, Mobile Telephone Network, MTN, has through MTN Foundation (humanitarian organization within MTN Cameroon) wholly constructed, equipped and handed over three Government primary schools in the Southwest Region to the Ministry ofBasic Education, MINEDUB; Government Primary Schools Bokoko Bonduma in Buea, Kake I in Kumba and Kumbe Balondo in Ekondo-Titi.

The schools were officially handed over to MINEDUB Minister, Mrs. YoussoufHadidja Alim on Friday, October 7,
2016 in Kumba by the CEO of MTN Cameroon, Mrs. Philisiwe Sibiya in the presence of the MTN Board of Trustees
Chairman, H.E Peter Mafany Musonge, the MTN Board ofDirectors Chairman, Mr. Colin Ebako Mukete and other important members of the public.

 

According to MTN BOD Chairman, Colin Ebako Mukete, the realization of the project is a proof of the positive and
constructive relationship that exists between MTN and the people of Cameroon. “MTN, an African company, created
in Africa by Africans to contribute to the emergence of our continent was established in Cameroon in February 2000,
with an ambition to participate in the sustainable development of our country.
As local investors associated with this noble mission, we ensure that the promises made by MTN to Cameroon are
met,” he reassured.
As he puts it, MTN assistance to Cameroonians undoubtedly goes beyond its sector of activity. He noted that,
MTN Cameroon seeks to work daily for the welfare of communities. It is for this reason, according to him, that one percent of their profit after tax is donated to fiance projects of MTN Foundation which are principally in the domains of health, community development, arts and culture and the environment.

Ebako Mukete stated: “MTN completely shares the vision of President Biya, who is determined to transform Cameroon into a digital economy. MTN is committed to contributing to the realization of this vision. MTN is thankful for peace and good investment climate in Cameroon because it is an essential ingredient for investment and economic development.”

Elaborating further, the Foundation Board of Trustees Chair, Peter Mafany Musonge remarked that education is
highly placed on MTN Foundation’s social responsibility guidelines. This, he said, explains why over half of its resources are invested therein in strides to meet up with its objective of “changing the school’, which to them signifies improving learning and teaching environment of pupils and teachers respectively.
These schools which consist of six classrooms, an administrative office, toilets for boys, girls and teachers, a water
point, 180 benches and a fence each, will benefit over 600 pupils every academic year.

The Foundation Chairman revealed that FCFA 259.574.000 is the total expenditure incurred for the realization of
the project, and since the launch of its activities in 2006; MTN Foundation has constructed 54 classrooms in 15 primary schools in seven Regions viz; Adamawa, Centre, East, Far-North, Littoral, North, and Southwest.

It would be recalled that the Foundation has not limited itself to primary schools; it has successfully installed 50
multimedia centres in secondary schools that benefit over 100,000 students and more than 4,000 teachers in the 10 Regions ofCameroon. In addition, through its Back-to-school programme, basic education has been provided to more than 16,000 orphans and underprivileged children nationwide.

Musonge enumerating some achievements ofMTN Foundation in the Southwest Region besides the three primary
schools, to include the provision of a complete multimedia centre installed at GBHS Tiko, offering of an atomic absorption spectrophotometer to the University of Buea for inclusive training, donating equipment to the Vocational
Training Centre of the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment in Limbe, donating farm equipment to Bafaw women associations in 2009, 2010, 2011; constructing a water point in Koko-Buma, donating computers to the Buea branch
of the National School of Posts and Telecommunications and medical equipment to the Buea Regional Hospital among others.”

The Senator appreciated the teachers for the great job they are doing while calling on the education community to
ensure the proper management of the infrastructures for posterity. Officially handing over the keys of the schools to the three head teachers of the various schools, Minister Youssouf Hadidja Alim emphasized their judicious use. She told the school administrations that, such a gesture by MTN Foundation should serve as a motivation for the production of excellent results.

The Minister on behalf of the Government expressed gratitude to MTN Cameroon, indicating that the execution
of these projects by MTN demonstrates the frank collaboration between MTN and MINEDUB. She urged them to do
more as it would only go a long way to enhance the fraternal relationship that already exists between public and private sectors. It should be noted that MTN Foundation is the very fist corporate foundation created in Cameroon in 2005. Since 2006, it has been working for the welfare of communities in Cameroon by investing in education, health, and community development.

It plans to in 2017, construct and equip three other schools in localities that would be determined by MINEDUB since its ambition, as the MTN Foundation Executive Secretary, JeanMelvin Akam explains, is to contribute alongside MINEDUB toward changing the school by providing pupils and teachers with quality infrastructure. He noted: “The programme shall be intensified given that, many Cameroonian pupils still learn under conditions that need improvement.”