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Re-unification Celebration Should Uplift Buea 

Interviewed By Walter Wilson Nana

The Mayor of Buea, Charles Mbella Moki, in this exclusive interview, rejoices that celebrating the re-unification of British Southern Cameroons and French Cameroun in Buea will not only bring a facelift to the municipality and the Southwest Region in general, but will also highlight best governance practices prevalent before independence. He spoke to Walter Wilson Nana.

What was your reading of President Biya’s end-of-year message?

The climax of his message is the declaration that affords Buea the opportunity to host the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Re-unification of Cameroon. Indeed, we in Buea, had worked so hard towards that, through the town hall meetings we held at Pan African Institute of Development, PAID, Buea.

We take this opportunity to express our thanks to all the participants at those meetings, especially the guest speaker, Prof. Ndiva Kofele Kale. He worked hard to ensure that our case was presented to the right quarters, including the facts and figures related to the Re-unification of the Republic of Cameroon. We are also grateful to all those who are out of our community, who saw the need for the celebrations to take place in Buea.

And as we wait for this great event to come and go, the fallouts of such an event should be witnessed by our population. Our wish is to see Buea, and the Southwest Region in general, transformed into a veritable workshop and the realisation of concrete and lasting projects. These include; the improvement of the inter-urban road networks, the expansion of the water supply system, the extension of the electrical system and the renewal of the infrastructural look of the municipality.

Re-unification is an issue for all Cameroonians, but the people of the Southwest and Northwest Regions are intrinsically involved. What are your expectations from them?

I can infer that you are talking about English-speaking Cameroonians; that if you deny them the right to celebrate Re-unification, then, you would have taken a core element in their sense of judgment in being Cameroonians.

President Biya has recognised the fact that English-speaking Cameroonians are an integral part of this country. He has always highlighted it, this time, making it concrete with the pronouncement that the celebrations will take place in Buea. It will require that we all sit down and look back.

As it is said; he who does not know where he is coming from, may never know where he is heading to. That grand event in Buea will highlight some of the best practices that were prevalent before independence and redefine our objectives so that the country can be properly focused in a direction for the common good of all.

In an earlier interview you granted The Post, you stated that Buea was already working in view of the celebrations, what is the Council doing in that vein?

The people of Buea had been prepared for this, including those resident in and out of the municipality. There are millions of people, who are connected to Buea in one way or the other. Buea is such a natural environment that can afford to accommodate the challenges that come along. It should be understood that when this event is to take place, a lot more have to be done.

What concretely are to be done, to make Buea befitting for the celebrations?

I had, in a memo forwarded to Government before this event was announced, requested for an urgent attention to be focused on the road network in Buea. The street from the Police Roundabout to Mile 17 has to be completed. You can see that the gutters are not covered, the walkways were not done, the electrical system was not done, what is on now was done by the Council.

A standard electrical system must be put in place in Buea. We have to create outlets at the east and west ends of the town. These will include; Bonjongo, Mapanja, Likombe, Bwasa, Bokwaongo right up to Middle Farms in Limbe. We also believe that beyond the aforementioned projects, we should be able to have another outlet that leads through Bonakanda, Buea Town towards Ekona-Lelu and Ekona-Mbenge.

If all of these are done, we can connect Molyko to Tole, Molyko to Bokwai, Bokwai to Ekona and more. We had succeeded to convince the Head of State to upgrade the water system in Buea. The work is on, but it needs to be accelerated. We are thinking about an elaborate electrical expansion for the town of Buea. Those are the major thinks we have to do for now.

If President Biya is going to come to Buea to celebrate the 50 years of the re-unification of Cameroon, will the relics of West Cameroon be rehabilitated?

Not just rehabilitated, I will propose renovations. We are talking about the houses, which are still there, the Bismarck Fountain, the Mountain Hotel, Prime Minister’s Lodge, the Presidential Palace and many others.

No one should be frightened by these many requests we are making. The fact is that it is very important for the town to be given the image it deserves to host very important personalities for an occasion of this magnitude. As a Council, we have progressively encouraged our citizens to invest in building good structures in the municipality, following simplified procedures from our specialised departments.

You can see many hotels coming up in the town and people building here and there. We think that the average Buea person was prepared for this event. It is an opportunity for us to put on the fore our spirit of legendary hospitality. By the grace of God, the event will be a memorable one and make a turning point in our history as a country in general.

What do you look forward to as we count down to the celebration?

The challenges are going to be many for the people of Buea. We have to gird our loins, fold our sleeves, be one another’s keeper and let everyone have Buea at heart. We should stop spending time on senseless tricks and debates and rather talk about the development of this town.

The Head of State has given us the challenge, the ball is in our court, the onus is on us now, to make our little contribution, so that when the time comes, let all of us be part of the planning process. It is also a moment for us to celebrate. It has never come to Buea and coming at a time like this, that we are here, is indeed a moment that warrants us to consider the goodness, greatness and glory of the Lord.

The people of Buea are conscious and they will assume their responsibility. Let me also convey my gratitude to the members of the press. If some loud noise were made, as an appeal for Buea to host this event, the press did an indefatigable job.

From the town hall meetings to the press conferences, newspaper articles, interviews on radio, TV, newspapers and online publications, I say thank you. We in Buea shall remain indebted to the press for the success story of the celebrations of 50 years of Cameroon’s re-unification. The press championed the advocacy and upheld the truth. This gave us the unique opportunity to stand up and be counted as well.

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