Cameroon: NW/SW Reconstruction, Development - Paul Tasong Wants All Hands On Deck

Consultations were broad-based in the inaugural meeting in Buea yesterday June 29, 2020.

Consultations in the South West Region by the National Committee for the Presidential Plan for Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) had its first day yesterday (29 June, 2020) in Buea, capital of the South West Region. A session chaired by Paul Tasong as National Coordinator flanked by his assistant, Njong Donatus, and Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai.

Addressing the cross-section of people in attendance, Paul Tasong gave his word to South West inhabitants that reconstruction will begin with assisting reconstruction of some 12,000 homes damaged during the violence. He explained that individual aid would amount to FCFA 1.5 million in kind like corrugated iron for roofing. "All victims are beneficiaries to the plan" Minister Delegate Tasong said in reply to worries on where the reconstruction would begin.

During a five-hour session held in the hall of Buea Mountain Hotel, the National Coordinator of PPRD explained that the Committee's work would span through 10 years and spread over phases. He highlighted the crucial needs of the population to include the promotion of social cohesion, revitalization of social infrastructure and revival of the economy.

Paul Tasong voiced that "No one can shoot down the Presidential plan" to answer what he termed disbelief and bad faith about the reconstruction and development of the sinister regions. According to him "suffering is not an ingredient of peace" and so people could not continue to suffer while waiting for what they called peace. He concluded that the reconstruction plan was also a contribution to bring back peace. Telling Figures Participants including opinion leaders, NGOs, traditional rulers, and heads of institutions was treated to a presentation by Tamajong Obase who showed that 315 kilometres of road has been made impassable with 26 bridges des- troyed in the South West Region during the crisis. Also, 30,000 hectares of farmed land was abandoned and 119 of the 501 schools damaged in the South West Region. Overall, some 99 villages were burnt down leaving 116,000 persons affected and 23,723 houses destroyed. In the circumstance, the National Coordinator of the Presidential plan still called on those he described were still nursing a dream of a "journey to Buea" to realize that it would never happen and come back to the rearmament centres for rehabilitation.

Field consultations yesterday in the South West Region were a curtain raiser to a five-day field trip by Paul Tasong's committee seeking to rebuild bridges of peace, prosperity and sustainable development. South West Senior Divisional Officers, members of PPRD, UNDP staff, humanitarian agencies, leaders of political parties and civil society were in attendance of yesterday's session with the PPRD committee. Today (30 June), the Committee programmers to meet Divisional representatives from Fako, Kupe Muanenguba, and Lebialem in separate groups in respect of the current rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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