Throughout the years, Cameroon’s road network has deteriorated significantly, resulting in increased accidents and a tragic loss of lives.
Cameroon is currently grappling with a grim reality while commemorating the 41st anniversary of President Paul Biya‘s lengthy tenure.
President Paul Biya assumed office in 1982, and during his four decades in power, he left a notable impact on the country’s infrastructure, particularly its road network.
While his leadership marked the initiation of various road projects, their implementation was marred by corruption and shortcomings, leaving many Cameroonians deeply disillusioned.
One of the most pressing concerns is the alarmingly high number of accidents on Cameroon’s roads.
What should have served as pathways for integration and economic growth have now transformed into perilous routes, claiming countless lives.
The roads are riddled with potholes, lack proper curbs, and are often plagued by reckless driving, turning them into death traps.
An average Cameroonian would find it difficult to cite a major road project the Biya regime has successfully executed during its four-decade rule.
Most roads linking towns in the country were built by his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo.
The lack of adequate maintenance, insufficient safety measures, and ineffective traffic management during President Biya’s 41-year rule have all contributed to the precarious road network.
Potholes, cracks, and uneven road surfaces have become ubiquitous, making safe navigation for drivers a daunting challenge.
These road defects not only inflict damage on vehicles but also significantly increase the risk of accidents, especially during adverse weather conditions.
Furthermore, the absence of proper road signage and markings has added to the hazards faced by motorcyclists.
Inadequate or missing traffic signs, faded road markings, and poorly defined speed limits have made it difficult for drivers to navigate potential dangers and adhere to traffic regulations.
The consequences of this road tragedy are heart-wrenching, as families are torn apart.
Lives are shattered, and communities are left mourning the loss of loved ones.
Just this year, multiple families simultaneously mourned the loss of dozens of family members in road accidents.
The Moliwe accident that killed six on March 31 and the tragic accident that killed 10 around Obala on October 13 are just glimpses of the dozens of accidents recorded this year.
In early October, the section of road between Kumbo and Ndop, often referred to as “Mile 27 Ndop,” split.
This stretch is part of the Bamenda Ring Road project, a 357km road that links five of the North West’s seven Divisions.
For decades now, President Biya’s regime has made repeated but failed promises to construct the road.
“The road had been displaying warning signs, but the authorities, as usual, ignored them,” said a truck driver who frequently used the Kumbo-Ndop stretch.
On Sunday, July 9, 2023, a tragic accident in Pitoa, Garoua, in the North Region of Cameroon claimed the lives of 15 members of the same family.
They were en route to welcome a relative back from Mecca after the Hajj pilgrimage when the devastating incident occurred.
Ironically, despite these harrowing realities, Cameroon received two prestigious awards at this year’s Kofi Annan Road Safety Award event in Morocco, a victory many Cameroonians said was undeserving.
President Biya’s 41-year legacy serves as a stark reminder of the perilous state of Cameroon’s roads.
In what many viewed as “a misplaced priority”, the government has rather been busy constructing 14 automated toll gates on major roads in the country.
But these toll gates, some of which will soon go operational, are standing on narrow, dilapidated roads.
The alarming frequency of accidents and the resulting loss of life demand immediate attention and decisive action.
It is imperative for the government to prioritize reforms, focus on road infrastructure development, implement effective traffic policies, and rigorously enforce traffic regulations to address this ongoing crisis.
Mimi Mefo Info