Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Reunification Celebration Slow Work Rate Deplored

The Regional Supervisory Committee met on Wednesday to evaluate the level of project implementation.

Seventy two days to the very last day set to finish all projects in preparation for the up-coming 50th anniversary celebration of Cameroon's reunification, the regional preparatory commission, headed by Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai, has met 16 January, and expressed worry over the pace of execution of jobs for the event by some contractors. Many of the road projects are still to be started.

During the assessment, the City Cleaning Company (HYSACAM) and the electricity supply company were alerted to quickly marry their services to the new roads that shall have been created in the Buea City. The various sites identified to plant the anniversary monument were reported with a taste of frustration that none of the locations has been chosen yet in spite of the time running. The various Senior Divisional Officers scantily reported their preparations insisting that bad roads would be a major impediment in transporting their various quotas of persons to Buea.

Among worrisome projects, the Governor cited the renovation of the Parliamentarian Flats. To mark his dissatisfaction, the Governor urged the Regional Delegate of Tourism and Leisure to track down and bring to him in the next seven days the contractor whom he said was nowhere to be found. Report of work on the Flats, begun over eight months ago, however, put execution rate at 50 - 55 percent.

Another project giving nightmares to the commission was identified to be the Mile Four-Sasse-Buea road under renovation. Though not a last minute- chosen project like others, Committee reports on the road sparked hot debates and members spoke of "a very poor job with a very tiny coat of bituminous concrete". Its winding and narrow state is also a cause for concern to those who believe that the road would ease circulation between Buea and Limbe where numerous visitors shall be lodged without necessarily passing through Mutengene.

Hygiene and Sanitation

The local supervisory commission recommended that henceforth clean-up campaigns be carried out weekly in Tiko (gateway to the South West), in Limbe (with numerous and choicest hotels), and notably in Buea (place of the event). The committee expressed appreciation with what Buea's Council was already doing to keep road sides clean. With the Soppo market already displaced, ramshackle and makeshift structures have been cleared from the main street running from Mile 17 to Buea Town passing through Molyko, Great Soppo, and the Police road junction. To embellish the Buea City, the cream white colour has been chosen to paint all road-side structures for uniformity. The Limbe Urban Council preferred the white colour. Generally the public has accepted the inconveniences inherent as a mind-offering participation to make the event the splendid success it deserves.

Roads

Although some 12 road projects have been earmarked to be opened, renovated or tarred in Buea for the reunification event, much fear is still animating the minds of the Regional commission as to their effective finishing before the deadline of 31 March assigned by the Joint Ministerial mission that visited the various projects last 9 and 10 January. The reason is that only a few of them have received the first touch of the bulldozer like the 7-Kilometre Afosi - Bokwai - Muea and the 150-metre Ex-Legion - Governor's Office.

Only two contractors, Arab Contractors Enterprise and the Chariot Company have been retained for the road jobs within Buea City. The people, however, are questioning why the covering of gutters on the Mile 17-Police Junction- Buea Town central stretch of road is not being considered as a priority which could even create more roadside parking space to save accidents.

Communication

The communication sub-committee expressed the need for giant screens to project the ceremonies and talked of a press centre to host journalists on that occasion. The Sub-Committee urged the stakeholders to open up to the press to allow free flow of information.

Water and Electricity

A few months to reunification celebrations, water remains problematic in Buea. Although the local authority of the water supply corporation (CDE) promised speedy action before March ending, and the Regional Delegate of AES/SONEL gave lengthy explanations for the regular and vexing outages of power, the committee members still held that these necessity providers are not serious enough to command faith.

Parking lots

Buea being a hilly geographical setting, if the parking is not taken seriously many embarrassments of go-slow shall be witnessed. That is why the Regional Committee took time to identify the various spaces allotted for parking. Such include the Penitentiary Administration School area, the P and T School, Camp Hysacam, Esplanade of GMI, Presidential residence esplanade, Governor's residence area, the Vocational Training School, New Buea Council yard and the Public Works School field. It was hoped that by March ending, these lots shall have been properly prepared for the parking of the thousands of vehicles that Buea shall receive.

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