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How Safe are the Cameroon Roads in 2011

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Aaron Kaah

Official reports from the Cameroon ministry of transport say over 1256 people died on the Cameroon roads in 2010 as a result of road accidents and related incidents. Though the ministry did not say for certain what was the main cause of the road accidents, the communiqué went further to state that the Government was doing the best it could to avert the situation. Though early this year the Cameroon governments had banned inter urban transport vehicles from making night journeys into the country roads as a means of curbing road accidents, the syndicate of inter urban drivers retaliated saying the main cause of road accidents in Cameroon was the poor state of the roads and the bad faith of road safety officials in the execution of their functions not the night journey’s.

Foreigners to Cameroon have cried out aloud on the way public transport vehicles are over loaded with people and properties to in elastic limits in the country whose 60% of the roads are still earth ground. This becomes frightening as no road safety measures are taken to guarantee the safety of road users and passenger’s .In the peak periods of the year this becomes an order of the day as the drivers and their vehicle owners gamble to make gains at the expense of the population. Parking and off loading as they will with impunity. The few Inter urban roads are poorly constructed or hardly maintained and over speeding especially by the logging truck drivers who slalom in and out of the deep holes on the so called tarred roads in kribe –Douala, Tiko –Douala, Edea –Yaounde high ways is a big problem, The poor mechanical state of the vehicles is also mournful tale. It is not known in Cameroon at what age a vehicle is supposed to be imported. Vehicles plying the roads, some refurbished to look new continuously without good engines and pedal breaks are imported in to the country at high custom duties making it impossible for vehicle owners to think of purchasing new ones in to the country, the new a vehicle the higher the imported custom duty in Cameroon. Yet government officials run in the most sophisticated vehicles on their roads and some will testify that the roads are good partly because of the superb state of their cars; can they sale these vehicles to source income for construction of these road??

As any one drives around the country, it is common to see smashed up wrecks of trucks that had rolled in to a ditch or in to a big tree or head on in to one another but this doesn’t compromises the bright faces that use the road or the lesser fair altitude in the government officials who stand at road blocks to check the road users and their vehicles.

Along the Bamenda – Yaoundé high way the discovery is even scary, as vehicles flipped on their backs with their tires look in to the air, some with their wind screen shattered, and over all overwhelming frightful trucks, cabs that had rolled in to roadside buildings, all these specimens’ relate the sad story of a nations roads. More threatening is the appearance of fresh scenes on these roads daily. Of recent the road claimed 5 from a single family and a babies head was no where to be found in the wreckage. The pain and agony from the incident left that family paralyzed and the entire nation cold. Can this be at eye opener that the government is not doing enough?

It is also not known why the government has allowed these wreck trucks and vehicles to stay where and not even the sign boards that tell the public “five died here” can be a mercy. But on the whole one thing is clear that the roads in Cameroon are a dead trap and only vigilance on the part of the Cameroon government and road users can reverse the odds in 2011.

As the summer holidays echo, this is time for government to map out road safety strategies with the actors that are and to remain the drivers, some who are too addicted to alcohol that there is a thin line between enough and too much.

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posted @ 12:37 PM,

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