Upheavals shut down schools, increase pregnancies

While Anglophone parents worry about political alienation and its strike action sidekicks by teachers and lawyers that has made for epileptic functioning of schools since November 2016, another front seems to have been opened by high rate occurrence of teenage pregnancies in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.

Annettte Eposi is a teenage mom who cannot even take proper care of herself but as a result of idleness and peer pressure, she got engaged in a sexual relationship that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Eposi is now forced to go the extra mile not just to take care of her “green” self but her new born baby as well. She said it wasn’t easy for her during the period of pregnancy; it has not only affected her education but traumatized her a lot since almost everyone rejected her. She furthered that, her family and friends isolated themselves from her and regarded her as a bad child. “It limits your chances or slows your ability to follow your dreams and ambitions. It demoralizes you and you find yourself in a dilemma, confused if to keep the pregnancy or get rid of it.You feel like your world has come to an end,”averred Eposi in regret.

Off hand research has proven that the level of teenage pregnancies in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon has highly increased, due to socio-political instability in the two English speaking Regions since last year. Many youths, especially, girls indulge in sexual relationships as a result of idleness, leading in most cases, to unplanned pregnancies. Some vulnerable teenagers also found themselves in their present state because their parents could not afford their needs as a result of the “ghost towns” which has critically crippled the economy, with most business people left to suffer. When rich men show up, promising to give these vulnerable teenagers money, they are left with no option than to give in since their financial burdens would apparently be taken care of. Comparison and the need to show up cannot be undermined as a reason why teenage girls get pregnant, since they want to be like their rich friends or to look better.

Atabong Eunice, a teenager,believes that teenage pregnancy is on the rise during this period of tense state of affairs in the country.Using the adage which says “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” Eunice said because of idleness, teenagers are giving room for negative thoughts which have long lasting effects on them. “We visit friends a lot and share emotional thoughts and feelings about boyfriends and sex. Cajoling and convincing each other to have a taste of sex all because there is nothing to keep us busy.”

In order to avoid and reduce the high level of teenage pregnancy, a woman in Mile 16 [Bolifamba] in the outskirts of Buea, called Mami Colette lamented, echoing that if parents give timely advice to their girl children the level of teenage pregnancy will reduce in these two Regions, the current crisis notwithstanding. She said that girls need proper sexual education and orientation.

“Most parents are negligent; they do not spend time with their daughters and try to find out about their social lives. It is also good to give your daughter pocket allowance so as not to predispose her to chasing men in order to get money. Also, try to always make her feel she can trust you, be her best friend,” Mami Colette advised.

According to Njock Sylvester, teenage pregnancies are wont to change the destiny of a child because not every man will like to marry a girl who already has a child for another man. He advanced that, sometimes because of an “urgent pregnancy” they are forced to get married to the man responsible for her predicament or even driven out of home in cases where the one responsible doesn’t admit. To this effect, Sylvester is restless to have the problem solved and for schools to resume quickly so that the high rate of unplanned pregnancies among youths, currently, be reduced.Whatever be the case, parents should engage their children into some activities to keep them busy like learning a trade.

Speaking by way of counsel, Mpeh Vanelle, a teenage girl has advised her peers who have gotten pregnant to go close to their mothers in times like this and it shouldn’t hinder them from achieving their dreams and goals in life. “They should stop lamenting and pick up the pieces of their lives and continue like nothing happened to them,” Vanelle recommended.

By *Tabi Efundem Kelly

*UB Journalism Student on Internship

 

 

 

Catholic Church disavows artificial birth control

Cameroon is statutorily a secular state and by that token, does not line up behind any doctrinal edict from whatsoever religious denomination. However, given that the Catholic Church plays a primordial role in the nurturing of children in particular and youths in general, its current fixation on the use of contraceptives runs counter to Government predilection, and raises the spectre of perpetual conflict within its followership.

The Catholic Church and the state of Cameroon differ sharply on the use of artificial birth control methods also known as contraception. While contraception is permissible by health precepts in Cameroon, the Church is opposed to it. The Coordinator couple of the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Bamenda Nerius and Marcelline Ngangfor, reaffirmed the Church’s position on the use of contraception to The Rambler.

Partakers of sexual intercourse derive both pleasure and procreation from the act. Most often than not, the intension to obtain pleasure supersedes the intension to make children even though many find it hard to satisfy the zest for sex and simultaneously put aside the tendency to make babies.

Varied artificial birth control methods including the use of condoms, contraceptive pills, birth control sponge, diaphragm, vasectomy, sterilization, withdrawal and vaginal ring have become the option for many who wish to avoid pregnancy. The Catholic Church on its part uses the symptom thermal technique, backed by the fact that it is a natural way of family planning. This technique uses a thermometer to observe the mucus of a woman, records the signs on a chart and then interprets the reading according to the fertile and none fertile days, thus allowing couples to act accordingly.

Nerius and Marcelline, teach natural family planning and live by this example.  They declared that “the symptom thermal method which involves a thermometer observes the signs and symptoms of an individual woman without generalizing.  It has an upper hand over contraception which is likely to cause obesity and sterility.   Most couples say that natural family planning prescribed by the Church does not work but that is a lie. It works. Natural family planning has its rules which people fail when they don’t follow.  It is not that natural family planning has failed but that people have failed natural family planning.”

Queried on the difficulty to suppress sexual desire, the coordinator couple of FLO said “To be an ideal man, you have to be self-disciplined. You must not act like an animal who responds to stimuli. Animals just act based on their instincts but human beings have reason. Human beings are supposed to act not based on emotions but on reason.  The difference between humans and animals is that human beings have reason. The good news about the woman’s fertility cycle is that a woman’s fertility cycle is only about 25percent fertile while the rest 75percent is none fertile. It means you have more time to enjoy yourself if you think sex is enjoyable. Mind you, The church does not state that conjugal love is only good for procreation. No!The Church does not say people should continually give birth to children but that people should take into account their own welfare as well as those of their children but in all there should be no object to obstruct sexual intercourse. God said a man and a woman would become one flesh and so nothing should get into the way. If you say you cannot make the decision to control sex or postpone sex, and then it is the same thing with other aspects like withholding yourself from excess alcohol consumption and stealing.” They furthered that natural family planning retains dignity to married people, brings trust, mutual respect and better couple relation but contraception turns the woman into a sex object.

In her emphatic NO to contraception, the Church holds that natural family planning is divine. Theologians have cited a passage in the Book of Genesis chapter 38 where Onan spilled his semen on the ground to avoid impregnating his brother’s widow. This act displeased the Lord and the Lord smitten Onan. According to the social teachings of the Church, unnatural methods of family planning are a breeding ground for sexual promiscuity, abortion, adultery and fornication thus illicit. Nerius and Marcelline scoffed that “Producers of the condom contraceptive claim they have produced sophisticated condoms to prevent STIs including those that cannot break and female condoms but the production of condoms have simultaneously witnessed an exponential increase in STIs.”

There are over 20 teachers of natural family planning in the Archdiocese of Bamenda with over 300 couples already responding positively to it. The Church keeps entertaining hope for progress when non-contraception would have suppressed sexual immorality.

By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum

Mortuary secretly taking in curfew victims

The carnage inflicted on Anglophone Cameroon in the wake of curfews imposed on the Southwest and Northwest Regions to ensure hitch-free commemorations marking October 1, seems to be jarring Government and causing some of its functionaries to be wary about divulging information relating to death cases.

This frame of mind is exposed by the Director of the Bamenda Regional Hospital, Dr. Kinge Thompson’s inexplicable refusal to confirm three murdered persons being preserved at the hospital mortuary to the press, even as the veracity of the occurrence had been confirmed by a reliable source.

The three victims of troops brutality, Fidelis Numfor, Akwo Rene Mua and Donatus Azeh Nchiamukong (person living with a disability), were killed by live bullets of the military following recent manifestations in Bamenda. Fidelis Numfor was executed 100 metres from the Regional Hospital Mortuary, Akwo Rene Mua, was shot around Travelers neighborhood. He later died in the hospital, while Azeh Donatus, an amputee, was shot around his house in Menka, Mile 4 Nkwen. Eye witnesses say Donatus was shot about 2pm on October 1 but that his body was only dropped off at about midnight on October 2, at the mortuary gate by the forces of law and order. The sister to 27 year old Akwo Rene Mua, one of the victims, narrated how her elder brother was called up by a friend that same October 1, to go and watch the manifestations in Travelers.

“A friend of his came to our house and asked him to accompany him to Travelers to go and see how the boys were planning to march on that day. Forty five minutes after that, I received a call and the caller asked me to meet my brother at the Regional Hospital for he has been shot and taken there. I went there and saw my brother in a pool of blood and in pains. He looked at me and told me he was dying. He finally died in my arms. He is the lone brother, my sisters and I have. I am a Form Five student. We live together. He takes care of me through his hawking business. We are from Wum. I don’t know how I will start arranging his burial, when I have just FCFA 10,000 on me,” lamented Akwo Felicitas, sister to the victim.

Unaware that the three deaths had become public knowledge the Director of the Regional Hospital had told reporters on October 3 that no deaths had been registered by the hospital adding that even if that were the case, he had not yet been informed. He, however disclosed that some 14 cases of injuries were recorded between October 1 and 2, “although most of the victims had opted to be discharged rapidly.” He revealed the victims had expressed fear about the probability of being picked up from the hospital by security forces, although he claims it was against the ethics of his profession to let go a patient in critical condition. According to him the Government has been assisting victims since the crisis began by way of settling their hospital bills.

On the side of the killings, eight motor bikes in a parking lot around Travelers junction were burnt down by police operatives on mission to confront anyone attempting to march on October 1 in adherence to calls for restoration of the Southern Cameroons state. The forces used motor tyres to light the fire that consumed the motorbikes. One of the owners Nkwetche Vitalis, who had sought relative safety in Douala during the social tension in the Region was bitter. He wondered whether the forces of law and order were preventing violence or committing it instead. A human rights advocate, Nchang Michael Abongwa, Coordinator of the Evangelical Council for the NGO, High Commission for General Intervention condemned the atrocities being systematically committed by security forces in the English Speaking Regions. He said even if at all the population forcefully marched on that day, the military ought to have resorted to rubber bullets in bringing about so called order instead of the live bullets. He also condemned the fact of people abducted in relation to the manifestations and taken to Yaoundé.

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

Prison officials strike goldmine in Anglophone detainees

Irreverence for human life that had all along been limited to the governing class in Cameroon now seems to have permeated the entire spectrum of civil servants as exemplified in the latest display of such insensitivity by warders and wardresses of the Kondengui Central Prisons in Cameroon’s political capital, Yaounde, alleged to be making fortunes from Anglophone detainees wallowing in oubliettes.

Reports hold that they spare no occasion to extort money from detainees and their ‘brave’ visitors alike. Hostages and ex detainees, similarly, have made a clean breast that their watchmen chopped and continue to chop as much money from them as they possess.

“The warders did not miss any opportunity to exploit us. We paid for almost every service they rendered to us. Often times, our visitors were duped,”averred a prisoner who had purportedly just handed in his “tithes.”

Elucidating on feeding patterns in the dungeon, a former detainee who spoke to The Rambler on condition of anonymity for security purposes, claimed that none of them had a taste of the “flavoured slow poison” served as food at the prison. Hear him: “Detainees are fed once a day between 11am and 1pm. They are served with a cup or two of pap (corn fufu that is pap-like but solidifies after hours) and soya bean soup (a mixture of roasted soya bean flour, water and salt.) That is what detainees are ‘privileged’ to have daily. Anglophones did not eat this, not even for once,” he bared.

The obvious question ensuing from the unsavory revelation bordered on how they coped during the eight months incarceration behind the fortified walls without eating from their abductors. He bared that, “we had two stoves and three pots. On days when we did not receive cooked food from our visitors, we cooked.”

To ascertain the veracity of his claims, we spoke to his former prison peers who were not privileged enough to benefit from the Presidential decree freeing some Anglophones arrested in the heat of uprisings which up until now appear to be far from over in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. They came clean that their brushoff of the prison meals (if at all they are worth the appellation) was because they suspected it was not ‘clean.’ They equally conceded that they suspected their food was septic and its deathtrap appearance informed their steer clear posturing.

“We were arrested because we were Anglophones not because we had really committed any crimes. Which is why, they could do anything to hurt us. So we suspected everything from them. Their food and water and if we had our way, we would not breathe the air in that place,” he reeled in a mixture of laughter and frowns.

The Anglophone detainees were allegedly maltreated, at least according to them. They were provocatively denied some basic rights. They were reportedly denied even their right to freedom of worship. One of them noted that, “about the treatment of Anglophones, it was very harsh. I remember that we were barred from going to church by some overzealous warders when we just arrived. They said Anglophone ‘terrorists’ have no right to worship. When we took the matter to the authorities, it was resolved, though unwillingly.”

Anglophone hospitality and solidarity are said to have been on display during their eight month stay at the prisons in Yaounde. The now ex-detainees recounted how they received their brethren of the English speaking regions who either came with food in hand or word in mouth all geared towards bettering their indefinite stay in ‘a strange land’. “The Anglophone community was very supportive. Besides our family members, we had donations from sympathizers, friends, well-wishers, and loved ones. Colleagues also made remarkable gestures during those tough days,” he admitted.

It is still unclear whether elite Anglophones in Yaounde supported these ‘extremist’Anglophones and by extension the struggle.

Family members and friends have been forced to make huge sacrifices for theirs incarcerated at the prison. Cordellia, spouse to one of the detainees, narrated the hardship she has endured since February when her husband was arrested. “He is the one who had a good job. Since he was arrested, he has not had a salary. Now I have to work thrice as hard as I used to just to be able to look after him and our three kids.  I have to cook and go give him every visiting day. Having to shuttle between Kondengui and Soa four times a week has been draining,” she wrapped up.

Relating to the receptivity of the warders and wardresses a detainee’s ward forwarded that the guards were everything but approachable. She noted that they were searched and sometimes harassed during visits.

“When you go there with a pass, they touch your breasts and private parts in the name of a search. I was so embarrassed. They shout at you like a child and order you around. They even squeeze money from us. Going there is a nightmare for me. But what can I do? I have to take care of my uncle.”

The question flying in the wind is whether being an Anglophone has officially become felonious.

By Claudia Nsono

Internet addiction blamable for up-welling in mental illnesses

The ubiquitous character of New Information and Communication Technology, NICT, has greatly increased the amount of health information available to the general public. With unlimited information on the internet, currently at the disposal of the public, denizens tend to rely more on the internet for various kinds of information needs, ranging from religion, education, weather, communication and health.

While emails and general information searches remain the most common use of the internet, using internet to obtain health information is very popular with millions, using the facility and a considerable segment of the population explicitly using it for health purpose, it is important to assess how this particular use of the internet is affecting people’s wellbeing, especially their physical and mental devices.

According to Dr. Nkelle Johnson medical practitioner in Kumba, traditionally, physicians held and filtered health information for the general public. Given the availability of health information online, people can now bypass medical professionals entirely and find information, advice, support and even treatment. But he says the overuse of internet related information for health does not only cause depression to patients who can’t find help but causes new illnesses to both the sick and those addicted to its use because of the tightness with the screen.

Firstly, frequent search on the nets keeps one glued to the screen and this causes brain restructures. According to this doctor, one of the most fundamental consequences that a large amount of screen time has on adults is restructuring of the matter that your brain possesses. It is a psychological condition based around severely excessive use of electronic devices. Too much screen usage results to poor cognitive performance and also problems with white matter ability to communicate.

Apart from the headache, internet addiction causes tubes vulnerable to eye strain. Light from the screen does not only keep one awake, but also damages the retina and blurs vision. To help solve this, medics recommend that after every 20 minutes of starring at screen, look at an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. Plus use a dimmer switch.

Health experts further hold that devices have cathode ray tubes. Monitor gives out X-Ray radiation that can affect one’s health. This radiation can cause cancer, tumour, insomnia, and headache. But note that one can avoid exposing oneself to this radiation by staying long distances away from the screen or limiting the amount of time spent.

With the rounding up of holiday classes that have kept students busy for some two months now, their next best companion for holiday becomes their mobile phones, computers, tabloids. Parents are, therefore, called upon to educate children on the effects of too much screen time to their health and also to regulate the use of the internet among them.

By Ngende Esther Boh

 

 

Healthcare personnel sharpen working skills

Over a hundred medical personnel, including directors of hospitals, district medical officers, members from the delegate of public health in the Southwest Region and some partners have converged on Kumba for a two-day conference at the Tower of David hotel, Buea Road.

The Regional coordination meeting took place on Thursday, July 27, and Friday, 28, July 2017 under the theme “Improving the quality of health care delivery” seeking to enrich participants on how to improve health care delivery, especially, to those of the remote areas who don’t have access to quality health facilities.

To officially declare the conference open was the personal representative of the Southwest Regional Governor, Julius Tata, Cultural and Social Adviser. He reminded the health experts that healthcare is Government’s priority and by the same token, enjoined them to move away from routine and old practices especially as Government is not relenting efforts in assisting them have a disease and infection free country.

According to an expert from the Ministry of Public Health, the process of providing quality healthcare, especially during delivery is far more than having equipment. To him, “providing good healthcare starts with the functioning and management of health institutions, hygiene and the fight against hospital infections. The process must start with diagnosing the problem before getting to solution.”

To some participants, the conference gave them the opportunity to expose the challenges they are facing on the ground given that, they hardly have an opportunity to meet with their delegate due to long distances. The district medical officer for Bakassi, Dr. Akaragwe Alphonse, to this effect explained that, with regard to delivering healthcare, which was the focus for this second meeting in 2017, the condition is bad with a high mortality rate in his district, because, as he put it, women in his area often choose to give birth in church, with the assistance of traditional birth attendants with no hygiene exercised. According to him, even if the women successfully give birth, the children are still exposed to danger as their parents refuse them from been vaccinated, a situation that the administration is struggling to deal with.

At the end of the Regional coordination meeting, many participants like him hoped that new methods on how to cope with the present challenges will help them in their various stations.

By Ngende Esther Boh

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

Dialysis sessions resume at Bamenda Regional Hospital

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

Dr. Kinge Thomson Njie comforts patient

The threat of imminent death that had hung on persons with kidney failures in Bamenda and the West Regions has now been consigned to nothingness, following the resumption of dialysis sessions in Bamenda. This took effect on Tuesday, July 25, with the arrival of some 100 kits from the Ministry of Public Health.

The Bamenda Regional Hospital Hemodialysis Center now operates at full capacity with all the eight dialyzing machines operating simultaneously and handling patients.

For six weeks, over 67 patients with kidney failures in the Northwest and West Regions of Cameroon who often dialyze at the Bamenda hemodialysis centre have had to reduce their routine session from two to one a week and at times compelled to purchase their own kits at the cost ofFCFA 150,000. Following the arrival of fresh kits that shall last for two months, they will now have to undergo dialysis twice a week and at the subsidized cost of FCFA 5,000.

The revelation was made recently by the Director of the hospital, Dr. Kinge Thomson Njie, in a public presentation of the kits.“The dialysis kits are part of the machines, consumables, syringes, tubes and liquids that are used only once and discarded. They must be there before a proper dialysis session. These kits were no longer available and that triggered the crisis that we have been going through at the hospital for close to six weeks now.

The arrival of these kits is a great relief. The 100 kits from the Ministry of Public Health shall last for two months and I was assured that this is just an emergency package to salvage the situation. Minister Andre Mama Fouda has assured me and patients that in the days ahead, a huge consignment that can run for the rest of the year and even take us into the next year shall arrive,” intimated Dr. Kinge.

According to Ephraim Nkusu, President of patients with kidney problems, the arrival of the new kits shall serve as a major bailout to members of his association. “We thank God and the Director of the hospital who kept assuring us that the kits will come and they have come. We now have the dialyzer, which is the artificial kidney, the cables and concentrates, solutions and needles. We are fortunate that despite the shortage of the kits we have not lost any member. We just hope that the bigger consignment would come as promised by the hospital administration so that we can know that our normal two sessions a week is guaranteed,” he said.

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis is a treatment that filters and purifies the blood, using a machine. This helps keep your body in balance when the kidneys can’t do their job. Dialysis has been used since the 1940s to treat people with kidney problems.

The kidneys are a pair of organs, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of your spine. They’re responsible for purifying your blood by removing waste and excess fluid from the body. When the kidneys don’t work properly, dialysis is used to perform the function of the kidneys.

Properly functioning kidneys prevent extra water, waste, and other impurities from accumulating in your body. They also help control blood pressure and regulate the levels of chemicals in the blood, such as sodium, or salt, and potassium. They even activate a form of vitamin D that improves the absorption of calcium.

When the kidneys can’t perform these functions due to disease or injury, dialysis can help keep the body running as normally as possible. Without dialysis, salts and other waste products will accumulate in the blood and poison the body. However, dialysis isn’t a cure for kidney disease or other problems affecting the kidneys. Different treatments may be needed to address those concerns.

GE

Politician embarks on ‘strategic congestion’ of Buea

By Mambe Njikofore Mande

Buea is reportedly the current fastest growing city in Cameroon. Beautiful structures are daily, sprouting in the municipality. Understandably, construction material business is brisk; so too is revenue accruing to the council from building permit fees. But on the flip side of this development is the obliteration of the aesthetics, of the beauty of this town of legendary hospitality.

Political consideration and expedience have, by and large, taken precedence over sustainable town planning. So too has pecuniary or selfish fiscal interest overtaken the exigencies of sustainable town planning legislation. The only visible development being embarked upon by the municipal council is the littering of pavements with structures, meant to be rented out to traders. The council appears to be doing nothing else other than digging up every open space and squeezing in these boxes that go for building structures. All other development is undertaken by individuals, many of who are civil administrators and other privileged civil servants that have managed to grab land and stolen state funds.

It started off at the municipal Motor Park at Mile 17 where buses and other commuter vehicles now practically scrub at one another for want of space.

A recent demolition exercise embarked upon by local authorities was ostensibly to create space for pedestrians and motorists to have ample space to go around their businesses unfettered. But that does not seem to be the case as the much sought after space is now overtaken by boutiques commandeered by authorities of the municipality. Green spaces are now almost totally absent in most of the town.

Independent observers have seen this action as lending credence to the contention that in good old Cameroon, a law can be enacted after passing through statutory process, only for same to become a bone of contention between those who are supposed to ensure that such edicts are respected and society at large.

As it stands, disrespect for constituted authority is even perpetrated by administrative and municipal officials, who, under the yoke of immunity, inflict pains on unwary citizens. And what choice do the people have if they have no say in the matter?

Last November, many inhabitants of the Buea municipality were lamenting and wailing for demolitions to stop to no avail. They were made to understand that there was need for space or a gap of at least five metres from the main road to the first building. That was understood. Now where has that need for space gone to? Ndiwamba Ismael, a teacher held that “The demolitions were done to create space at the road sides but if the council is constructing buildings on this space, then, it is wrong.”

The good book says “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Of what use is the mouth if it cannot speak out and reprimand malevolence? Of what use are the people if they cannot even have a say in their own welfare?

Recently, the Buea council has been dotting two-storey narrow structures all over the town but the big deal here is the locations of these fresh structures that are tending to transform everyone else in the town into a trader, as if that is the only option left for its teeming inhabitants eking out a living. While land owners and builders have been strictly instructed not to build less than five metres from the road, the same instructors are planting buildings within this frame of distance, some barely a meter away from the main road. Is the law disregarding itself? ‘Dr. Do Good,’ a meat vendor at Clerks Quarters vented out his disappointment with the council; “I am not happy with the constructions done by the Buea Council because they earlier made it clear that constructions should be made not less than five meters away from the roadside but they are the ones who are not obeying the laws. This building opposite us for example is not up to three meters in. It seems they are teaching us to disobey the law.”

In an interview granted to The Rambler, Nsuh Patrick lamented; “I think they did not find it necessary to inform the inhabitants of this innovation. Quite often, the public is forgotten and only remembered at the end and development, we all know, should be geared towards the people. We certainly need environmental trees to be planted because anyone who had known Buea 30 years ago must notice that the amount of rainfall has reduced and the place is getting hotter by the year.”

Nsuh also complained against the congestion that comes with this latest development. “This house has been here probably since before independence around 1959. No one resists development but because this two-storey building is constructed right in front of my apartment, it will reduce the amount of light and ventilation in my house. I hope that for a start, the rents will be favourable. ”

These structures are beautiful quite alright save for the touristic outlook of legendary buildings, relics which of course, have been blocked. More so, ventilation and light have been denied the occupants of the older buildings, thus, altering the quality of their lives. Most of these people were not even informed about the new twist of events.

However, some denizens think it is the best idea purporting that it will give the town an enhanced and advanced look. The Rambler caught up with Matilda, a vendor in Clerks Quarters who expressed her satisfaction. “I did not have any idea about the constructions. I did not know that ruthless demolitions were carried only for constructions to follow but since the constructions are beautiful and presentable, I like the idea.”

The million dollar question now is ‘was space created only for official congestion to crawl in?’ Again, denizens are wondering why the municipal authorities are hell bent on dotting rentable boutiques all over town as if in a bid to transform every one else into a trader. They wonder when the very disturbing issue of lack of potable water means nothing to the mayor. And they wonder what the streets of the town would become within the next year or two if sanity is not introduced on the few tarred roads here.

 

Car in minister’s convoy kills kid

While on the tour, an unfortunate incident occurred whereby one of the cars in the Minister’s convoy, CA 0957 D knocked down an eight-year old girl whose name The Rambler got as Beckly Anto Tiguh,  at Mabonji, one of the villages along the Muyuka-Kumba stretch of road.

The little girl, who was hurriedly rushed to the Kumba District Hospital for medical attention unfortunately, gave up the ghost on arrival.

It was not established whether it was the driver or the child who was at fault, even though going by a bystander’s account, the car was being driven at break-neck speed.

Family members claim that she was knocked down on the pedestrian path, contrary to claims that she was distracted by a handset which she was manipulating at the time of the accident. Probably out of fright, the driver who hit the child did not immediately signal others until the convoy arrived Barombi Kang, the first village into Kumba and the Minister was being welcomed to Kumba by excited CPDM party adherents. At GBPS Kumba-Mbeng she got the news that the child had died and immediately, she re-directed part of her convoy to the Kumba Districts Hospital to console with the deceased family.

The Minister’s trip was thus stopped impromptu. She and the entire entourage expressed sincere regrets and immediately condoled with the family at the Meme Senior Divisional Office after visiting the hospital. The Basic Education Boss could not continue her tour to other schools in Meme as preplanned, given that she was devastated by the incident and so left for Bamenda through Mamfe after the routine condolences.