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(Re)Unification Celebration Will Be Brutum Fulmen If… 

By Bouddih Adams
President Biya again announced the celebration of 50 years of re(unification) of the Cameroons in his New Year message. If at all it is celebrated this year, it would have been celebrated two years after it was due.
Why I say “if at all it is celebrated this year” is because, after failing to organise the celebration in 2011 (that is 50 years from 1961 when the (re)unification took place), Biya announced at the end of that year in mid-New Year message that the celebration will take place in Buea.
The eruption of joy in regular Buea inhabitants can only be compared to the eruption which the volcano, on whose slopes they live, has spared them for a dozen years now. Everyone thought it would take place in 2012.
Following that announcement, bulldozers rumbled and tumbled unto the site adjacent to the Prime Minister’s Lodge, supposedly to plant a three-star hotel. Arguments arose as to the name the hotel would bear. On the lighter side, some people thought it should simply have as name, ‘Reunification Hotel’, while others, on the deeper side, thought it should be named Nguve Hotel as tribute to the founder of Buea, Nguve Likenye.
Planning of other activities, that were dramatically conceived, started dying down after the caterpillars and other equipment that were working on the site for the new hotel died down and the project was practically abandoned. The Post even launched a debate that should precede such major but controversial issues so that they are thrashed out and the protagonists find middle-ground for the citizens to have a feeling of belonging and for the country to surge forward and develop socially, economically and politically.
Issues like what went wrong; whether it was reunification or unification; why do Anglophones or Southern Cameroonians feel cheated; why is the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s Lodge and other legacies of the Federal era and system in Buea not being used gainfully; what happened to good practices culture West of the Mungo, and so on and so forth. These debates, however, died because there were no indications that the celebrations would take place.
Nevertheless, a few things that were started here and there, in the wake of Mr. Biya’s announcement, went on, like the renovation of Mountain Hotel and the Parliamentarian Flats Hotel. But there was no improvement on the road network and other infrastructure, water became as scarce as dog’s tears, electricity supply became more epileptic, just like other amenities and utilities.
CPDM political elite also initiated a fundraising baptised “Support to the Reunification Celebration” and the common man was tasked to also contribute to it. Given that the celebration is funded by the President from his bulging and bottomless coffers, the fundraising appears to me as an upset to the Robin Hood philosophy of ‘stealing from the rich to give the poor’. Just like the racket organised some time ago to raise funds for National Identity Cards. ID Cards are now issued free, but where is the money?
However, the funds so raised can rather be used to develop some of the amenities that Buea lacks and which are not among the ‘Reunification celebration projects’. And they are legion. 
Vague Announcement
Then, Mr. Biya, again, on the eve of this year, announced that the celebrations will take place “in the months ahead” – whatever that means. The vagueness smacks of skulduggery, coming from a President of the Republic who is supposed to be assertive and firm.
But by the estimation of the contractors of the projects, as gotten from Mr. Biya’s proconsul in the Southwest, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai, on January 2, at 11:37 am on the CRTV national station, the work will be ready in three months. This means that by April 2, the projects would have been completed and the keys of the gates or doors of the “huge construction sites” and infrastructure in Buea handed over and ready for the celebration.
Lest those authorities in Yaounde come and impose on Buea citizens again, the priority projects are: the road network, to wit, the Muea-Buea Town Road, to ease access into town for those coming respectively from Kumba, Mamfe and Ndian on the one hand; and the Mile 4 Victoria (Limbe) – Clerks Quarters (Buea), for visitors from Limbe and Idenau. Thus, the Mutengene-Mile 17 Road will be for visitors from Douala, Yaounde, Bafoussam Bamenda, the Grand North and so on.
Also, to ease movement within the town, the Great Soppo – Buea Town road, Mile 18 – Malingo, UB – Sandpit, Tuborg Junction – Hospital (under attention), Malingo-Check Point access roads – just to name these few – must be paved. If all of these roads are not opened, then Buea will be rendered a ‘huge traffic congestion site,’ if the celebration comes.
Of course, Buea thirsts for water. It has become a “gallon town” as inhabitants criss-cross it with gallons all the time searching for water. As for electricity, we can leave that with Mr. Biya, as he has demonstrated in three decades of his reign, that his security is more important…
Whatever the case, the construction of the three-star hotel should recommence and should be befitting to Buea and trendy with the technological development of the world today. This is because the renovation of Mountain Hotel and Parliamentarian Flats, will only go to confirm the observation that all Mr. Biya and his regime have done in these thirty years, has been to renovate or, better put, splash paint on what Ahmadou Ahidjo built or on the structures constructed in the days of Southern Cameroons or West Cameroon.
Things like the grandstand, which are used only occasionally, can come later. It is true, that a modern grandstand adds to the beauty of the town. But it is truer that it does not impact on the daily life of the regular Buea dweller.
What Went Wrong?
Before we go, let’s start with “Truth and Reconciliation”, the policy which South Africans adopted after the collapse of apartheid (only yesterday), and have forged ahead to become a socially, politically and economically strong country (today) to compete even with so-called first world countries.
Cameroon’s version of apartheid, which is euphemistically called marginalisation of Anglophones, must be looked into with all candour through a Truth and Reconciliation framework; where people would come forward and testify or confess, so that we can achieve real forgiveness, reconciliation and veritable national integration. If this does not happen, we can shout “national integration” or “Cameroon is one and indivisible” for the next fifty years, but it will only end up like a man shouting that he has eaten when, deep down, he is starving to death. The celebration will end up as brutum fulmen, if there is no Truth and Reconciliation.
Southern Cameroons movements and pressure groups, opinion leaders and representatives, must sit down to talk with the authorities that be, umpired by the UN, UNPO, the Commonwealth or other international organisations and try to right the wrongs, for genuine peace to be.
Are We Together?
 

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