Cameroon: “Reconstruction is a pathway to peace” – Paul Tasong
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Head of the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) of the North West and South West Regions (NOSO), Paul Tasong has noted that the ongoing reconstruction efforts for the two English-speaking regions are a pathway to bringing peace to the badly affected regions.
Minister Paul Tasong is on a five-day consultation and awareness campaign in Bamenda, North West Region which seeks to bring together development stakeholders of the region to chart a way forward. He is equally to hold a similar activity with officials of the South West region in the coming days.
“Reconstruction is a pathway to peace. It will be done gradually from the secured areas to the most volatile,” Minister Paul Tasong said. “People cannot live on assistance forever. The same story has been told to us for four years and the only thing we see is misery. We have to reconsider”, Paul Tasong highlighted.
The Anglophone crisis that started in November of 2016 has had led to human, financial, and material damage. Homes, bridges, hospitals, markets, schools have been burnt and several lives have been lost in a crisis that is in its fourth year.
Separatist fighters in a move to frustrate the activities of the PPRD had called for ghost towns to be observed in the days the officials will be in Bamenda.
The Mayor of Bamenda City Council Tembang Achobong reiterated to the minister that there was a need for the reconstruction programme to take into account the following tenets;
The plight of the teachers, especially those of the mission schools and lay private sector that has gone for months and years with little or no salaries. They too need construction.
Provision for an adequate fund for the rehabilitation of the Bamenda municipal stadium as the PWD elite one football club goes international next season, regrettably without a training ground at the moment.
The need for work to begin on the Bamenda-Babadjou highway which has become a nightmare for travellers making their way in and out of the region using this stretch.
Mayor Achobong noted: “… Now they’re choices to be made, as the time and days of lamenting and mourning on the calamities of yesterday and seeking for avenues of revenge are long over”.
“..It’s time to strengthen, comfort, forgive and reconcile ourselves and look into the future with hope and expectations”. “As for me the city mayor and the people of Bamenda, we have chosen to forgive one another”.
“We of the North West in one way or the other, individually and collectively in our silence and indifference, in our utterances, in our actions and inactions contributed to the Anglophone crisis,” Mayor Achobong said as quoted by mnews237.
“The entire infrastructure is down but with the coming of the Minister, there is hope. If we convey the right messages, the projects initiated will last long” Mayor Tanjong Martin of Tubah municipality said as quoted by the Observer237.
The Observer 237 went on to report that the Mayor of Bafut, Ngwakongoh Lawrence saluted the initiative and says he will begin making calls to the people of Bafut to welcome the reconstruction process. “When I asked them to return, they told me they have no homes, no shelter. This is a move in the right direction,” Ngwakongoh noted.
The Cameroon government has moved swiftly to ensure the return of peace to the English-speaking part of the country. This has been done through the creation of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Centres (in Buea, Bamenda, and Maroua), the release of detainees who were arrested for misdemeanours and the Organization of the Major National Dialogue