This is the city of excellence!

When he served as Mayor of the municipality, Mbella Moki Charles named it “The town of legendary hospitality.” It was Mbella who contracted the French waste disposal company, ‘HYSACAM,” to handle Buea’s public hygiene imperatives. Local council labourers that hitherto carried out these chores were either redeployed to other duties or remained underemployed.

During Mbella’s tenure at the Town Hall, there was no raging war like is the case today. The social atmosphere in the municipality was generally convivial and depicted the mayor’s legendary hospitality approach to running a town hall. It is no longer the case now. Years back, a shooting war was declared, political animosity between the sitting mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge and his predecessor heightened. Systemic and deliberate steps to obliterate the Mbella legacy were reportedly engaged, including sacking council staff suspected of having any links to their former boss.

This culminated in the abrupt change of the legendary hospitality nomenclature to “City of Excellence.” Excellence in this case would logically denote a drastic facelift of the municipality in every sphere of socio-political life. It would mean that the town now towers over mere hospitality to something like nobility and perfection. But that is not quite the case.

Buea has been overtaken by mountains of stinking garbage in every street corner. Little or nothing is being done, even as an emergency measure to halt this towering vector of an imminent epidemic. Ironically, the mayor’s priority is fighting the ghost towns syndrome to a standstill. So, despite the established fact that a cholera outbreak is most likely to kill more denizens, and do so faster than ghost towns, the mayor is preoccupied with intimidating and hacking open business premises that didn’t open for business on ghost town days.

And so, huge mounds of refuse litter Buea and environs, threatening to block the main streets in some cases. As earlier indicated, the phenomenon constitutes an imminent health hazard with the possibility of the spread of disease pretty high. Certain individual households have resorted to burning their waste with the help of kerosene or petrol. But with the coming of the rains, even this crude, desperate method of waste “cremation” is proving inadequate. And either way, the high levels of toxicity emanating from such burnt waste is said to be very disturbing to preventive health authorities who, in any case are helpless. The resulting gasses from the burnt refuse, experts say become is very dangerous to both human and animal health.

 Also, assorted burnt refuse is said to produce toxic matter, often deposited on plants like vegetables which are harvested and sometimes consumed raw.

Areas like Molyko, Sandpit are practically chocking with breathing difficulties as we write. If Buea is being overtaken by “excellent dirt” and official brutality and destruction, the Bamenda City Council is very silently having new mountains rapidly rising and in certain cases replacing what used to be food markets. The town stinks to the nose. Potholes on the few dirt roads in this city are more or less open graves, that daily swallow automobiles and drives the economy on snail shells if you will.

The ‘HYSCAM’ garbage collection contract boycott is mainly blamed on the current level of insecurity induced by the ongoing war in the English speaking Regions of the country. ‘HYSACAM’ workers are said to be afraid of getting into the neighbourhoods for fear of being attacked by separatist militias and marauding bandits. It is alleged that a good number of their utility trucks were burnt at the Musaka junction refuse dump in the outskirts of Buea. Reason they no longer collect refuse in the Buea municipality for many months now.

Ironically, the council readily affords enough labour and strong military protection each time the mayor goes about sealing business premises, forcing them open or bursting the tyres of taxicabs whose drivers either feared to do business on ghost town days or had them parked in garages for repairs.

Governor asks refugees to come out of forests

Feigning indifference to the persistence of turmoil emanating from the current crisis pitting Southern Cameroonian separatists against the Biya regime, Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai has declared that his Region is under control even as he acknowledged what he terms manageable disturbances that call for collaboration from the entire population to put an end to violence and embrace dialogue. He was speaking in Buea during a recent Regional administrative and security coordination meeting.
He referred to the meeting a traditional ritual, aimed at assessing the administrative and security situation in the Region. “We have had exchanges with Senior Divisional Officers and the Regional Chief of Defense forces and I will say the Region is under control. There are some disturbances but with the collaboration of the entire population, people of goodwill, traditional rulers, political leaders, the elites and the media, I think we will overcome all the challenges,” he said. Okalia added that preparations for future events are already underway given that the current school year will soon be over and, preparation for the next school year must be embarked upon because all the activities begin now, which circumstance justifies the presence of all SDOs in the Region and other collaborators.
In this connection, the Governor said: “We wish to continue in sensitizing the population to be aware that the truth is for them to come back to their homes; the forces of law and order are there to protect them against all acts of terrorism, hence they shouldn’t be afraid of the forces of law and order; rather they should be confident and be reassured in the presence of the military.
“We are inviting the elites, traditional rulers to come back and continue to work and sensitize their children especially, those who have been misguided and are now in the bushes for them to return home because dialogue is on the lips of everyone and we cannot dialogue with people who are in the bushes; let them return and the administration is there to exchange with them so that the situation should return to normal everywhere in the Region.”
Emphasizing further on the need for refugees to come out of hiding, the Governor added that, at the grassroots, traditional rulers, all leaders including family heads, elites, should return and go to the village to discuss with some of the children or the young men who to him are misguided and are now in the bushes. He said that what they are doing is detrimental and has no future emphasizing that it is the discussion with the entire community that can solve the problem.
Okalia assumed that it is only when people will return to their respective villages that dialogue would continue and one would be able to meet with the hierarchy for possible solutions. He also, appealed for violence to be put to a halt and “things returned to normal, before any other initiative because today the entire society is disturbed by the prevailing violence.” He talked of the Head of State having allocated many projects to the Region, many of which portend much hope to the population.
All the assurances notwithstanding, the governor admitted that the meeting was taking place within a peculiar context “that continues to be marked by the socio politically tense environment which is now commonly referred to as the Anglophone crisis.”
The governor acknowledged that the nation has registered the loss of many defense and security forces, school authorities, traditional rulers and even denizens assassinated under various circumstances by what he dubbed “the so called Ambazonia Defense Forces.” He however, appreciated the authorities present who have despite the harsh and tense atmosphere carried out their duties smoothly.
By Relindise Ebune

MINHDU in search of prudent urbanization strategies

The fast developing rate of the Southwest Region and attendant problems that the phenomenon is likely to pose subsequently, is what prompted the Southwest Regional Delegation of Housing and Urban Development to organize a one day Regional consultations for the elaboration of the national urban policy for Cameroon aimed. It was aimed at carrying out a diagnostic report that should formulate the fundamental streamlines and instruments of national urban policy.
Speaking in Buea Monday, June 4, Diang Jude Abungwo of 2e and Partners Consultancy firm charged with the responsibility of coming forth with an urban national policy for Cameroon revealed that as of now there is no existing national urban policy for Cameroon. He said even though some Regions do have certain development urban plans, there isn’t any that is national urban. It was their responsibility at the level of the consultancy firm, he said, to bring in their technical knowhow and expertise to be able to come forth with it.
He said that the national urban policy is going to contain the methodology which they are to use at various levels with various stakeholders in a bid to see how the Region can become urbanized.
Asked why some buildings in Buea are erected on marshy terrain, Diang stated that it is at the level of non respect of rules and regulations. He said denizens are the first to be blamed. He said the issue of slums is a terrible one plaguing the country as they are seen almost everywhere with some neighbourhoods emanating from it.
He added that Cameroonian cities are extending vastly and that under normal circumstances, such cities are supposed to extend vertically and not horizontally. Consequently, to be control is required if only to avert bigger problems in the future. He said that urbanization in 2010 stood at 52 percent and wondered what would happen if it jumps to 80 percent. Cameroon, he advised, must be able to control that in order to become emergent in 2035, since prudent urbanization is such a key aspect which cannot be circumvented.
Emile-Moise Endene Kotto, Southwest Regional Delegate of Housing and Urban Development, noted that urbanization is speedily growing in the Southwest Region. The Region’s demographic landscape has changed, due to the high urban growth rate with which towns are expanding alongside drastic change of social, cultural and economic structures.
Endene Kotto pointed out that urbanization in the Region is still to bring inclusive growth which in turn has resulted in proliferation of slums, urban poverty, rising inequality and insecurity. Hence, consultation is a step in a long process, enabling both the Government of Cameroon and UN-HABITAT to come out with a consensual diagnosis on urban issues, and which process is expected to take them to an adequate and reliable urban policy.
Bernard Okalia Bilai, Southwest Governor, said Cameroon, like many other developing countries experiences rampant urbanization with a demography explosion. According to him, since 2008, more than half of the world’s population lives in camps. In 2050 about 70 percent of the world’s population would be living in urban areas, he revealed. Narrowing down to Cameroon, he stated that according to the National Institute of Statistics, urbanization rate was at 52 percent in 2010 while demographic growth stood at 2.5 percent in 2014.
“Many challenges remain to be faced in the country, reason why Mr. Biya, through various stakeholders has embarked on mastering the development of towns to transforming them into production and consumption centres necessary to boost industries, promote the development of intermediary or secondary camps, while endeavouring to structure economic activities in urban areas and contribute to the development of surrounding rural areas.
By Relindise Ebune

MINADER to repopulate Bakassi with 500 farmers

A campaign to repopulate the Bakassi Peninsula by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, MINADER has been launched in Buea.
MINADER aims at doing this through a special mini-programme that will trigger economic boom by developing agricultural activities in the area.
Officially launching the programme to select young farmers to be installed or reinstalled in the Bakassi Peninsula on Thursday, May 24, the Technical Adviser No 1 at MINADER, Enang James Enang, said the selected 500 young farmers are going to be given minimum packages to start with. He said they will not come empty handed but will benefit from well-equipped houses ranging from beds, mattresses, kitchen utensils, palour equipment and many more.
“We want to put these youths in the best possible environment so that they can efficiently and effectively carry out agricultural practices,” Enang said.
He added that the age bracket as at now is below 40 years but that when the application files would be collected, the commission that would be put in place might look at all the peculiarities; if there are some applicants who are above the age bracket but fulfill many of the other criteria, the commission might consider.
About the types of crops these young farmers would be cultivating in the Peninsula, the Technical Adviser said: “We have identified seven crops that are suitable in that area. For cash crops we have identified oil palm, cocoa and rubber; for food crops we have identified watermelon, okra, egussi and cassava. Probably when we finish the soil suitability test which we are about to carry out, we might come up with new crops that are more suitable in the area. Again, our objective is to get those youth to carry out agriculture and make money.”
To Dr. Mohamadou, Inspector General of Regional Services at the Southwest Governor’s Office, the importance of Bakassi cannot be overemphasized in the life of Cameroon, which is why Government has put in place many projects among which is a special mini-programme for 500 young farmers. He said that the Government has already provided more than 3,000 hectares of land for the exercise in order to permit the youth boost the sector of agriculture.
It should be noted that MINADER is offering the opportunity to 500 young Cameroonians of both sexes wishing to settle or resettle in the Bakassi Peninsula, Ndian Division of the Southwest Region to carry out agricultural production activities. Of the 500 young farmers; 250 new yoor market gardening. Applications should be submitted to the Regional, Divisional, and Sub-Divisional Delegations of MINADER oung farmers would be recruited throughout the national territory; 200 young farmers/farm families residing in the area; 50 fishermen/women fr at the nearest Agricultural Posts not later than June 30, 2018.
By Nester Asonganyi

Political upheaval may compromise 1,178 jobs at CDC

The pangs of the simmering crisis pitting Government against aggrieved Southern Cameroonians has eaten deep into the flesh of the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, to the point that its management has confessed to the possibility of laying off no fewer than 1,718 workers in the nearest future in the event that the current circumstance persists.
The corporation’s management was speaking recently in Limbe while awarding labour medals to some 1,000 meritorious workers of the corporation in the presence of the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Gregoire Owona.
“Dialogue should be considered an important tool in resolving the socio-political crisis in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon because the CDC has already suffered and continues to suffer countless casualties,” Staff representative, Hon. Efite Andrew stated.
He said as a result of the crisis, CDC has lost two staff; Puh Emelda of the Manyu Project who died from a stray bullet in Mamfe and Ewodu Ndjobo of the Tombel Rubber Estate, who was brutally killed by unidentified gunmen. Efite, continued that CDC in the recent past has suffered untold losses as a result of an attack on the payment crew including the Illoani Estate Manager and the Industrial Unit Manager, leading to a loss of close to FCFA 30,000,000 cash. As he explained, “two corporation vehicles (a pick-up and an ambulance carrying drugs for workers) and a CDC caterpillar were burnt down to ashes at Mondongo leading to a material loss worth FCFA 500,000 000. Also, Illoani Mill pick-up was seized and burnt by unidentified men at Bomana.”
According to the corporation staff representative, there have been persistent attacks on the following Estates: Illoani Palm Estate, Boa Palms Project, Illoani Mill, Mbonge Rubber Estate and Tombel Rubber Estate. He said the Manager of Illoani Palm Estate is currently under house arrest as gunmen have sent messages that they don’t want to see him out of his house else, he will be murdered.
“Should this socio-political crisis continue, it is evident that CDC may cease operation in the above mentioned areas, and may suspend contracts of all the workers concerned, viz; 406 workers of Boa Project, 354 of Illoani Estate, 92 workers of Illoani Mill, 390 of Mbonge Rubber Estate and 476 workers of Tombel Rubber Estate, making a total of 1,718 workers who risk losing their jobs,” Efite explained.
He said this does not only put the economic position of CDC at stake but, the unanswered question is what will happen to these workers and their dependents should these Estates close down?
On behalf of the entire staff, Efite appealed to the Government to call for an inclusive dialogue so that together, a solution could be reached and CDC safeguarded.
To the General Manager, Franklin Ngoni Njie, the environment in which they operate is increasingly becoming challenging and their operations are being adversely affected by the socio-political crisis prevailing in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. He said this has not only resulted to destruction of property, slowdown of their production related operations in certain areas of the corporation but, also to loss of human lives.
“The crisis is posing a real threat to our business. While we thank the administrative authorities for the support we have been receiving to be able to manage through this far, we want to reiterate that the corporation is seriously threatened,” Njie lamented.
Promising workers management’s commitment to maintain healthy social dialogue in the corporation, the GM reminded them that the ceremony was in fulfillment of a legal, moral and social duty. He said it was also an opportunity for the corporation to honour and motivate its labour force, especially as CDC last witnessed such a ceremony some 14 years ago.
After listening to the worries of CDC, Minister Owona of Labour and Social Security promised them that Government under the leadership of President Paul Biya, is aware of the social tensions and unrest in the Northwest and Southwest Regions and is leaving nothing to chance in order to restore peace and order in this part of the country. He assured, “Through social dialogue, the Government will not relent until a serene and peaceful social climate is restored.”
Owona appreciated the entire staff and General Manager of the CDC for the performance of the enterprise and its permanent contribution to promoting development and economic growth in the country. He said the excellent and serene social climate in CDC is proof of the existence of constant social dialogue between workers and management of the enterprise.
“The glaring results of CDC could not be attained without the assiduity, devotedness, loyalty, respect of hierarchy, patriotism, and sense of responsibility and the spirit of enterprise of these workers. Better days lie ahead for social cohesion at the CDC,” the Minister assured.
In all, 504 recipients and a total of 1,298 medals were awarded; 320 of them in gold, 480 in silver gilt and 498 in bronze. While some of the recipients are still in active service, others have retired and a few have succumbed to death.
By Nester Asonganyi

Abandoned villages are looted, burnt

Amid strident but still to be heeded calls for immediate and all-encompassing dialogue to chart a way forward to resolving the now gangrenous showdown pitting Government against separatist Southern Cameroonians, the war President Biya declared against the latter has moved from mostly unreachable rebels to abandoned villages writhing under the pangs of looting, maiming and rape. The worst hit by what now appears as Government avowed quest to annihilate separatists and their kith are villages in the Southwest Region.
The most recent of such indulgence is last Sunday’s burning of houses in Mbalangi and Ediki along the Kumba/Buea highway. Reports bespeak wholesale burning of houses with no laid down criteria for the choices of affected buildings following a fierce gunfire exchange with suspected separatists. Elements of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR, are allegedly swooped on the villages with mechanically aided incineration artefacts that were employed in setting houses ablaze.
This has led many to begin wondering what could be the correlation between a war declared on separatists and wholesale incineration of houses owned by innocent citizens who most likely would have fled for safety to other towns and villages.
Only a few days earlier, the destruction crusade was at Munyenge and Bafia in Muyuka hinterlands. The reckless abandon with which soldiers inflicted arson on the mostly wooden buildings that adorned the towns leaves no one in doubt that the war is against separatists to denizens of the land which they operate from.
While admitting that there was reason to attract military presence in the Muyuka and Ekona vicinities, owing to the gruesome murder of a soldier, the fact that soldiers are not known to have combed surrounding bushes to weed out suspected criminals in Ediki and Mbalangi lends credence to the much evoked thesis that Government intension is to run the affected territory into calamity.
Earlier on, the calamitous caravan wreaking havoc on villages in the Region had visited the same despicable feats on villages along the Kumba/Mamfe and Kumba/ Mbonge/ Ekondo Tiiti roads.
Surprisingly, the same Government that is cajoling chiefs and their subjects to return to abandoned villages is behind the now perceptible pogrom being wrought on the same people. With abandoned farmlands and burned houses, fear of possible famine and eventual decimation of the population of the Northwest and Southwest Regions is heightening by the day.
This apart, there are concordant reports of an accelerating rate of entry into Nigeria by Cameroonian refugees particularly, Taraba, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Benue States. This is exclusive of the bloated number of internally displaced persons that is on a daily rise due to persistent atrocities by Government forces.
The excuse being bandied is that forces loyal to secessionists have been killing regular soldiers. Were this to be the case, would conventional insight not have caused the target for retribution to be the culprits instead of innocent villagers whose only crime is being resident in upheaval-prone villages?
From what has been panning out since the advent of the simmering conflagration between Government and Southern Cameroonians, there is every indication that there will be no letting up by Government. Many are inclined to believe that the much parroted dialogue is a farce being employed to douse blame from the international community that has already seen the callousness inherent in the regime’s approach to crisis management.
Even worse is the fact that in the face of all of this, there has been a conspiratorial silence from those who pass off for political elite in the two Regions. From newly elected and appointed senators to parliamentarians and mayors, the credo has been business as usual. Not even the Wirba and, more recently Senator Barrister Kemende display of courage seem to prod them.

Foolish war ripping Cameroon apart!

It started with a handful of “the nation’s leaders” declaring that it is anathema to as much as dream of changing the constitutional architecture of Cameroon. Bogus reasons were advanced. “Founding fathers’” wishes were exhumed and spread out as reason why even at the risk of being killed by selfish parochial interests, Cameroon must remain “one and invisible.”
Greedy Spin doctors were invited from friendly diplomatic quarters to join in the refrain of condemning “the evil of thinking about sitting like one big family to restructure Cameroon, such that every corporate interest counts.” Jail accommodation was augmented and the proverbial Big Brother went to work overtime, watching; pointing out and having real and imaginary dissidents deftly isolated and unwillingly accommodated in Kondengui and other fetid jails.
The “dialogue” refrain was intoned. Political scavengers settled for it and sang their voices hoarse, even as the vicious guns of power belched and coughed regularly… on command, leaving hundreds of protesters sprawling in their own blood. The operators of the killer machines were hailed in insipid speeches as patriots, fighting to contain extremists, terrorist prophets of doom. Poor soldiers are also dying, avoidably.
Cameroonians living in the English speaking Regions are being routinely subjected to “litanies of curfews.” Thousands of businesses have so far been destroyed in this part of the country. The economy this way now resides in the extensive care unit, to say the very least. Bullets, hunger and general poverty are felling the weak and innocent. Daily. For once, Cameroonians have become refugees in foreign climes.
Others yet, have taken to the forests either because their ancestral homesteads have been burnt to ashes or direly resorting to pristine ways of living to stay alive. Very few schools are functional. Educational standards in those that dare to hold are by and large, shoddy. Kids are taking to the bushes in droves, patronizing the drug industry. They are, out of sheer frustration and radicalization, joining militias, some of them dangerously murderous.
Governors and other Government ranking brass now don bullet proof jackets, with caskets to compliment. Denizens of the two Regions under review are living like rat moles, ever ready to pop out from invisible but handy corners and flee to safety. Kidnapping, which was absolutely alien to Cameroonians in past decades has become a regular thing. No one is safe. Not even those who are, by their actions indicating that dialogue could be a euphemism for “decreeing peace”, barking out orders and not listening; being guarded round the clock by soldiers who, by no means are not the solution to a problem they did not start.
The so called international community and “world bodies” are making brisk business from hawking their ‘AK47s’ and pellets. They are protecting their neo-colonial interests and minding those they have decided should protect their overseas interests, provided they don’t holler like the talkative Zimbabwean Bob whom they love to hate… They may well be waiting and watching, in no haste to show any obedient servant the door. Not just yet.
But one thing is clear. Cameroonians are dying in droves, unnecessarily. Thousands are joining the radical militia. A dear, lovely nation is being taken back to childhood, before our very eyes! A foolish, avoidable war is ripping Cameroon apart. And the leaders have decided that they are not our servants, but overlords! Apalling!

Cab drivers, passengers hurt selves over bad roads

The Bakweri Town stretch of road in Great Soppo, Buea, which has gained notoriety over the past two years for its disgraceful and dilapidating nature, is fast becoming a point of conflict between cab driver and their passengers.
While some opportunist cab drivers have taken the opportunity to tax passengers who pave the road very high, other considerate taxi drivers have a tug of war, with other passengers who get furious when the driver takes the direction of this very poor stretch of road.
What caught the attention of the public some days back was a conflict between a taxi driver and a nagging woman, who missed a deadly blow, from the furious cab driver, after the woman considered the cab driver’s charge of FCFA 200 from Check Point, Molyko to Bakweri Town as abominable. Thanks to the bad nature of the road, even the cab driver was barely steadying himself as he made to hit the quarrelsome passenger.
Just as the road has rendered even the popular “emergency engineers” helpless, as it has gone beyond man power, many taxi drivers are also promising to abandon the road completely. One them, popularly known by drivers as “mayor Sammy” said “it has become risky using the road, especially now during the rainy season, which the gullies are fast axing all of the road.’’
While many passengers frown at the long traffic experienced on the road, inhabitants around the pot-holed road neighborhood are frowning both at the council and the taxi drivers. While a lady selling fruits hard by thinks it is normal for the council to abandon a busy road like that one, Makole Charles and inhabitant of Bakweri Town rather blames the drivers outright. He says, “taxi drivers have a union and they ought to come out in their numbers, especially on ‘Keep Buea Clean’ days and try to repair the road to their best, while waiting on the council.”
“Sometimes when I think of the Campaign Street road which was only repaired because of the coming of the president, I fear the Bakweri Town road will continue to be scraped off and abandoned for many more years.”
The accelerating decline in the usability of the road is a call for concern. It is not only replete with deep and extensive potholes, but the current situation is aggravated by threats of its degeneration into a gorge. The heavy downpours have not helped matters as accompanying erosions have left gullies running in the middle of the road while most amateur drivers end up in the gutters even in the day time.
By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred (Student Journalist)

Delegate admits tardiness in attestations award

The Southwest Regional Delegate of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Buinda Godlove Nsakabo has conceded his Ministry’s tardiness in the award of attestations to participating youths two years after they participated in a training programme, blaming such insouciance on the unavailability of funds.
He made the declaration on Thursday, April 12, as some young tourism actors in the Region trained since 2016 on the security of tourists, reception techniques, hygiene and quality of service, especially for the last female AFCON received attestations at the Buea Council Chambers.
The attestations were given to trainees of 2016 batch under the auspices of the competitive value chain project. To him, the project is aimed at training some young Cameroonians in the domain of wood and tourism so that they can be competitively operational in the open market.
Questioned why the attestations took two years before being issued, Buinda blamed it on financial constraints. He added that the project falls under the ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development in synergy with the Ministry of Tourism and Forestry. He said that they train young Cameroonians in the domain of ecotourism, forestry and wood transformation because the state is moving from theoretical education to that which can be competitive in the world.
Acknowledging the lateness in handing over the attestations to the trainees, he noted: “Some of them had great opportunities, but because they never had the attestations at hand then, they had to miss such openings.”
Going by one of the participants, Enanga Lydia, the training in 2016 was enriching as they learned how to make a bed, place things at the restaurant, and attend to clients at the reception. They also learned basic culinary skills.
Bessiring Gilbert Bertrand, another trainee, has 18 years experience as a receptionist. He said say the training was one of the best he has had so far, because for five days they were groomed on both theory and practical hotel management.
By Relindise Ebune

Reinstated Soppo market resurrects old risks

When Senator Charles Mbella Moki, the immediate past Mayor of Buea conceived the idea of moving the Great Soppo Market to a more convenient location in Bokwai, the explanation was that its previous location around Cameroon Opportunity Industrialization Centre, OIC, was a drag to free flow of traffic in the city of legendary hospitality. However, a new phenomenon that is materializing in an even more promising market has been inching its way into the physiognomy of the town directly opposite where the transferred market was located.
Soppo market was posing a lot of challenges like traffic congestion, risking the lives of market goers and pedestrians alike,as buying and selling in the market advanced almost to the centre of the main road. It was therefore in the spirit of curbing these threats that the market was transferred to a safer place dubbed the “Buea Central Market.” But today, despite the motive for that decision, another market opposite COIC, has been established with the same threatening features.
The market which started just with locally cultivated crops has now turned into a complete market or super market with many Buea inhabitants flooding in and out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The Rambler took interest in this worrisome phenomenon and decided to seek reasons why the current circumstance came into being.
According to Desmond Mua, a trader at the newly established market, it is related to land grabbing and not just congestion.
He added that many people prefer the current market in Soppo because it is in the centre of the town. Going by him, those from Buea Town and Molyko can easily access or visit the market, which is less costly and less stressfully but, that the present Buea Central Market is at the outskirts of the town. Here, he said, many face challenges just getting there to purchase one thing or the other.
Mua like his counterparts applauded the initiative of establishing another market that could replace the old Soppo market. He advised, “The market is even getting smaller and with time if nothing is done, some traders would place their business items at the centre of the main road just to sell. Already, we are experiencing little fights here and there on each market day just because of space to sell goods. I would advise the Buea Council that, if it is possible to demolish some private homes or residents around the market to create space, it would be better and would go a long way to solving the issue of space we now face.”
Though the market is gradually but surely posing a challenge of general chaos, traffic congestion besides being the ultimate death trap to denizens, it seems authorities have decided to be blinded over this issue. All attempts to talk to competent municipal authorities pertaining to this issue were futile.
By Relindise Ebune