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“When nature becomes speechless”
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“When nature becomes speechless”

Alphonse Akouyu

A horrible road accident has a community re-thinking how to share roadways and commercial space in a safe manner, writes Alphonse Akouyu, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Cameroon.

The economic life of Cameroon reached a turning point when the President opened an international economic conference in Yaoundé with the aim of attracting investors to Cameroon.

Featuring household names like Tony Elumelu of Nigeria, Chair of the United Bank for Africa, and Jose Manuel Barosso, former president of the European Union, they called on investors to benefit from Cameroon’s Africa in miniature status while advising the government on some of the measures to attract quality investment to Cameroon which would propel the country to emergence by 2035.

In the North West of Cameroon, specifically in Bambili, home to the University of Bamenda, which aims to produce a quality labour force to manage these investments, inhabitants were still recovering from the shock caused by investments in the community. Bambili is separated into two sections by a national highway leading to other Divisions and sub-divisions of the North West Region. It is technically located along a hill, as you would read from my ‘Mungwin Story’ posted on this site. What this means is that once you’re on the highway, you either descend or ascend, and this makes it prone to accidents given the narrow nature of the road.

The main commercial centre of the community is popularly called ‘3 Corners’ because it is the main junction within the area. Once you’re there, you either choose to continue your journey on the highway, move towards the university, or take the road that leads to the traditional headquarters.

This was the scene of one of the darkest days in the history of this vibrant, youthful community. Just before mid day, a truck transporting ground meant for road repairs experienced brake failure along the main highway and started descending towards 3 Corners. The result of this brake failure left this reporter tongue-tied due the damaged he witnessed. The truck clattered in to a mini-van, where the first victim was destroyed in to pieces. Later on it rushed towards another truck distributing drinks, where two other innocent souls were dismembered due the force of the impact, and many were left injured. The body parts of human beings were littered around like cow meat meant for sale, and out of respect for the souls of those who died, I have decided not display the images.

I have still not been able to eat meat up to now because of what my eyes saw that day. Even nature was speechless at what had just happened, and no wonder a very thick round rainbow appeared in broad day light when the sun was almost at its peak. Later on in the evening, we experienced the heaviest rain so far this year in Bambili. Many people told me that the rain came to wash away the blood of the innocent.

Three people who left their houses that morning with the aim of going about their daily business have had their status change from ‘is’ to ‘was’ just like that, I said to myself. In typical style which has become they way we do things in this country, the municipal council has started destroying some road side businesses in order to prevent future incidents of this nature.

I asked the question ‘Why do that now? Must we always wait for a negative action before we come up with a positive reaction?”. I was later told that this businesses had been asked to leave their present site but refused to obey. But once again, why only now use force to send them out?

The incident has also brought in to perspective the attitude of truck drivers in Cameroon. Are too many of them because of their ‘big cars’ careless about what happens? It has also made us to ask questions about the nature of our roads, the people who are driving and those selling items along such junctions and highways. All sides have a point and we must listen to their versions of the story, be it the woman who sells items to send her children to school, the commuter, the authority who decides to destroy the stores for safety reasons, or the driver who can’t pre-empt a brake failure. All stakeholders need to be heard to come up with an equitable solution to this problem.

As family members bury what’s left of their loved ones, life is slowly returning back to 3 Corners, though not at its usual hustling and bustling pace. The hope is that we all be very careful when using the roads and while making wise decisions for our safety.

photo credit: T Sign via photopin (license)

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About me: Hello everyone this is your friend Akouyu Alphonse from Bamenda located in the North West Region of Cameroon. I graduated from the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda after studying Banking and Finance. I hope to become a Business/International Relations expert.

My areas of interest are serving as Journalist especially on Sports (football) and societal issues aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and volunteerism.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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