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CAMWATER: Who Sponges All The Borrowed Billions? 

By Azore Opio
The first major disease that afflicts Cameroon is corruption followed by fear, sycophancy, then poverty, mediocrity and AIDS, for good 
The Republic of Cameroon suffers from extensive corruption and it seems it is Government policy to pursue corruption by all and any 
means. The certified thieves passing for Government officials here are as corrupt as the grave. Here flourish champions of bribery, 
embezzlement, backdoor deals and double deals, nepotism, scams and supply of ‘air’, patronage, statistics fabrication and fiddling, 
pilfering, forgery, kick-backs as well as direct stealing. In fact, well oiled freewheeling and dealing. And yet, a certain ‘next-of-kin’ 
journalist, before President Biya made it to Buea for the Reunification celebration, had said where the Head of State passes, development 
follows; today, all the towns the President passed through are suffering some shortage of water or peripatetic power supply. Lack or 
inadequacy of these amenities is a sign of development.
In the free for all corruption crusade, Buea, Limbe, Douala, Yaounde and Bamenda have emerged as some of the best catchments to spend 
baffling billions on imaginary water projects. Considering the water scams, the pronouncement by the Regional Delegate of Energy, Mines 
and Water Resources, Mr. Celestine Awah, with all due respect, on CRTV Buea Press Club, Saturday 22, was a poor attempt at converting an 
ugly recurring decimal into an improper fraction of deception. Awah tried to condense and soothe a chronic social misery suffered in the 
hands of unprincipled rulers and ‘ruiners’ by trying, still lamely, to convince a dehydrated people that a drop of water is better than none. 
Awah, unfortunately, and perhaps not unknowingly, was representing his superiors and CAMWATER which are the human embodiments of 
all that is wrong with modern deception and deprivation of a people. So when the Hon. Delegate Awah announced that they are going to 
ration water for five years to the population of Buea in the Southwest Region, and why not the rest of the unlucky lot of Cameroonians 
living in an area with six months of intense rains, the people screamed, cried and some nearly fainted from the effect of anger, and they 
would not have hesitated to stone Awah. Awah was just making fun of Buea people. 
Measuring water in drops for five years after Buea people know that Government spent three point something billion repairing and 
extending their water scheme? Those are horrible terms for a Delegate, who is an engineer, to use on a people who have been fooled all 
the time. It was a timely announcement on the part of Awah; that they should continue to thirst for water which is nowhere in sight.
The 3-billion-water scheme in Buea doesn’t measure up to the quality of a wretched floor rag in the ghetto. Pipes are haphazardly laid, 
snaking in and out of the top soil, then looping over boulders. No surveying is done prior to laying pipes; every Tom Fool, Dick Head and 
Dumb Harry is a surveyor, a water technician and a plumber.
Awah should not have wasted his breath because Buea people, and other Cameroonians, of course, have become water nomads moving 
from one dry tap to another dry tap, scavenging for water. They have adapted, physically, to a waterless life and developed unique 
characteristics that let them slake their thirst on natural spit. They have long learnt to hold their breath longer without water, and shit 
much less frequently than if they had water flowing regularly in their pipes. Awah should instead be worried when the people of Buea will 
lose their cool and not be able to hold their dry breath any longer.
The Awahs have decided to ration water to Buea denizens for five years. So, who is sponging as all the billions that Government never gets 
tired of borrowing, some of which found their way to be frittered away in Buea? 
I remember visiting the same Delegate thrice last year in search of clarification on the water crises bugging the Region, and like the hard 
to pin down water, Awah found every easy way to flow out of my barrage of questions. 
CAMWATER, AES-SONEL and other utility companies; including the public service, have taken Cameroonians for granted for too long. They 
have become so familiar with their scheming habits and bad relationship with public money that they find it normal to look down upon 
the people without dignity. Added to this, is the incomprehensible water shortage, and the amazing power cuts. Cameroon, indeed, has 
made historic progress toward the establishment of a viable corrupt arrangement that guarantees the continuity of the status quo. So, fake 
water projects with pipes and pumps are all conduits seemingly fitted to supply air their way while money flows the other way. But then 
again, who is sponging the billions, and why is CONAC not being factored in this lopsided equation?

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