Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Reunification Celebration - the New Face of Buea

Most of those who knew the South West Regional capital say the changes are visible even if some still want more.

Preparations for the upcoming reunification festivities in the South West Regional capital, Buea, are virtually over with all projects earmarked for the event having recorded near total success. Although most officials directly involved with the execution of the works in Buea refuse to speak publicly, they would prefer that observers see for themselves and draw conclusions.

Even if the independent confirmation we made holds that all is set for the reunification celebration, there are some Buea inhabitants who appreciate the new look of in the town without hiding their feelings to see the reunification feast and the presence of the Head of State bring along lasting development to Buea, in particular and the South West Region in general.

A ride from the entry locality of Mile 17 up to Buea Town presents a fascinating view of Buea with the roads well tarred and several new structures along the roads that leave no one indifferent. There are evident signs of a great event in the horizon to any new comer to town. Even though the usual coats of paint and flags that generally precede national celebrations of the magnitude of the forthcoming reunification of Cameroon are absent, there are clear changes that have taken place.

Between March 2012 and 31 January 2014 when most contractors were given the injunction by various government officials to conclude the execution of projects for the celebrations, most, if not all the work sites are empty as workers have virtually executed their projects and any finishing touches, they say, are awaiting the announcement of the date of the event before polishing can be done. Not less than 20 different work sites that were bustling with workers in Buea have laid down tools, saying they are only waiting for the D-Day.

One of the most impressive and glaring changes that the town has witnessed of late has to do with the road infrastructure with the creation of three peripheral roads that have added to the lone one which existed prior to the commencement of reunification projects. From an initial sum of FCFA 4.5 billion, over FCFA 27 billion has gone into some major infrastructural projects in Buea town.

As the people of Buea continue to expect more like the legendary Oliver Twist, they are thankful and anxious to see the face-lift that the town has undergone last. They are also eager to receive the various high-profile guests that the event is going to drain to Buea. From Limbe which is the Fako Divisional headquarters to surrounding towns like Muea, Tole, Tiko and the confluence town of Mutengene and even further to Meme Divisional headquarters, Kumba, the wait for the reunification event is almost central in household conversations.

Apart from the Molyko residential area where the population witnessed a boom since 2003 with the creation of the University of Buea, most Buea inhabitants agree that traffic in town has generally witnessed an increase. A simple test for such an influx of people in the town as the countdown to the event heightens is the scarcity of space in most hotels and inns, especially at weekends.

Visitors to Buea, in particular, have to make their hotel reservations early enough to avoid the unpleasant surprise of lodging in uncomfortable conditions. As part of the build-up to the event, Cameroon Tribune reporters visited Buea and its environs and lived the fascinating changes taking place in the town even before the date of the event is announced.

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