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War triggers foodstuff price hikes

The festering internecine war pitting Southern Cameroon separatists against the Biya regime has triggered a pernicious fixture in the livelihoods of many inhabitants of the affected Northwest and Southwest Regions reflected in foodstuff price hikes.
Food stuff including plantains, cocoyams, tapioca aka garri, tomatoes and melons have witnessed a steady price increase especially, in Kumba, the economic hub of the Southwest Region.
Kumba, Meme Divisional headquarters and junction town linking all other Divisions to Buea, Southwest Regional headquarters has been known for abundance in food supply to other markets.
However, since the escalation of hostilities at the beginning of this year characterized by routine gun battles, incineration of whole villages, destitution of their inhabitants and eventual desertion, business persons say food supply from villages to the urban markets has drastically reduced, thereby making the little that is available very expensive.
Ma Manyi, food stuff vendor at the Kumba main market told The Rambler that “it’s not our making that food is expensive. We know that but, there is nothing we can do. At first we bought plantains at cheaper rates from farmers but today most of those farmers are in the bushes and these plantains remain their major food.”
She explained further that the number of control posts they have to “settle” for both the military and ‘Amba boys’ before reaching Kumba all add to the increase in prices.
Also, one of such commodities which has witnessed a sharp increase in the market is melon commonly known as egusi. As at Saturday, June 9, 2018, when this reporter visited the market, a glass of unpeeled melon sold at FCFA200, a price which consumers say is twice for the same quantity which sold at a FCFA100 or less during the same month in previous years. Traders say this is so because what is being supplied now is old stock for last year and warn that if the fighting persists the prices might even triple because farmers who ought to be working are hiding in the forests.
Traders also attribute the high prices of food to the inaccessible nature of major highways to Kumba because of frequent gun attacks recently. Some say the fact that the railway in Kumba for some time now is not functioning due to security reasons has affected the large quantity of food which came in from the Littoral Region.
Apart from foodstuff, drinks of some targeted brewing companies have had FCFA 100 added to the normal prices. These retailers say there is a high risk involved in buying and stocking the drinks even when the breweries manage to effect some distribution mostly, in urban vicinities.
By NGENDE ESTHER

Not how long but how well (Farewell to Geofrey Elah)

All eyes grew wide with curiosity when, during the funeral service for Geoffrey Mbongale Elah in the Limbe Regional Hospital chapel on Friday, June 1, the Master of Ceremony mentioned a Senator and Member of Parliament among the huge crowd of mourners. It appeared incredible that in his short 33 years of life, this unassuming young man had made all these connections and that in death he was pulling such a widely diverse crowd.
But come the eulogies, you heard stone-melting accounts of how this soft-spoken, ever-smiling son of David Elahnzeh touched all these lives. All week long from midnight on Thursday, May 24, when his death was announced, the chorus was on the lip of every journalist in Limbe. So too was the refusal to believe it was a mere bike accident that took his life, though nobody could articulate an alternative cause of death. And that unspoken suspicion rang through the eulogies, all of which eventually settled for leaving it at the foot of the Cross of Christ.
It was barely mentioned that Geoffrey held a first degree in Law from the University of Dschang. Stealing the show over his academic achievement was a career in journalism which I unwittingly pulled him into. The Sun newspaper was born in my NGO office in Limbe, where Geoffrey was doing a stint as Programme Officer. He had just acquired basic computer skills and I encouraged him to pay attention to how the paper was being laid out. “You never know”, I said. And indeed, when Cyprian the layout person from Buea was no longer available, Geoffrey slid into his shoe, serving not only The Sun but many other newspapers and magazines as well. His creativity was only matched by his curiosity, and that is what predisposed him to making the connection from layout to writing and editing. He was very self-effacing and unobtrusive, yet impossible not to notice by his gentle winning ways. That’s how come, over trained journalists, he got elected Secretary of CAMASEJ Limbe branch. And only at a CAMASEJ elective General Assembly did I last see so many journalists per square meter. You rarely see youth of the fourth estate let themselves go in such crescendos of wailing. How did you do it, Geoffrey?
The lady whose biker son did the damage was inconsolable. Her son had closed and parked his bike for the evening, she said, but a friend came entreating him to accompany him to the Alpha club neighbourhood. By purported eyewitness accounts, the bike was hurtling without headlight when it rammed blindly into Geoffrey who did not notice him approaching.
Such interplays of cause and effect are often wont to fuel metaphysical interpretations, but where does it all lead? An English poet says the child is father of the man, and David Elah, together with the entire Ngale family, is missing a father in a son. That family now has Geoffrey’s two little girls to mother. So do all whose outpouring of love and grief has kindled so much hope in the immortality of his memory.
By Victor Epie’Ngome

Gambling makes foothold in Buea

There is huge money for those who manage to play football notably in the world’s big leagues. European leagues especially, have made instant billionaires of otherwise extremely poor Africans but who excelled at what is fondly known as the beautiful game.
But not every football playing African talent is often lucky to be spotted, let alone make it to the world’s top leagues where big cash is splashed. Notwithstanding though, the game is still loved back here, even by those who happen to be just mere supporters, enthusiasts. Smart business interests know this, and have introduced gambling into the fray from which they equally reap big cash thanks to the gullibility of idle youth and even old men alike. While real footballers sweat for their cash on the pitches, smart businessmen have invented gambling machines and ideas that more or less replicate what is played for 90 minutes on pitches.
With Cameroon mired in mismanagement and bad governance, the idle and frustrated lazy people have embraced gambling to the extent of believing in it for “emergence.” Without as much as much as kicking a ball, they are casting football predictions, as opposed to ballot papers, hoping in the process to see the brighter day. In Buea, it is a daily sport. The military boys are deep into this illusive means of getting rich while enriching Shylock business interests. They also crowd the “parifoot” boxes, for hitch free gambling.
Going through narrow streets in Buea, especially on weekends, one sees both young and old denizens, clustered in mushroom boxes, set in all strategic junctions of the town, gambling; hopefully. Under the scorching sun, wielding pens and paper, they queue up in front of the French betting boxes like students preparing for roll call. They crowd beer parlors; stick to TV screens, expecting to make hard cash. The normal football passion is farfetched, as they yell, argue and quake the town, watching football clubs “multiply” or sink their money.
The legalized “parifoot” gambler is becoming more of a social ill and an addiction with its underlying effects. While many of its disciples argue that it is “just a game of luck,” many others have termed it a dirty game, as it is enticing many young denizens into dreaming of hitting the big bucks from nothing else but pools betting. Students pinch their school fees to gamble, with the hope of winning and graduating into the class of ear ring wearing achievers.
This game is becoming more and more common, especially amongst young Cameroonians who pinch their parent’s money to gamble. In their back pockets would be a long list, what they call “a fish” speculating on which matches to bet on, and at the end of the day, most of them carry heavy faces but are still determined to find money from ‘God knows where’ to sustain the betting appetite.
On the other hand, the French and Chinese merchant stay on their marks, raking up every single coin and gleefully reaping from “shithole” governance.

By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred