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Spyglass: Kondengui Is Not Yet Full… 

By Azore Opio

While the sparrow hawk has been delivering colossal food for its family in Yaounde, it seems to have forgotten that there are sparrows, mice, voles and other small mammals;  grasshoppers, beetles, scorpions, lizards, carrion, smaller birds and amphibians in Buea. Although they may be smaller prey, they could, however, constitute a minor, but equally delicious percentage of its diet.  In other words, the airborne "falco sparverius" cat should zip across the sky to Buea. There is a lot to benefit.

Rarely can the commencement of a tradition be placed so precisely in time; the tradition in question being that of trying to kill life. Recently, I witnessed a prize award ceremony at the Buea Regional Hospital Annex and I wondered if cretins were not being rewarded for their roguery. We know that the people do not trust the hospital. They say it is the place to go to die. The hospital is poorly managed. There is a lack of equipment and supplies. The renovations the Chinese carried out a few years ago were seemingly handed over to cobweb spinners; hot water is sold at a price. The government employs doctors and nurses to work there. But they do not like working. The hospital could be described politely as a chamber of indifference and danger.

I remember that in 1997 or 98 thereabouts, late musician Etub Enyang took his sick child to the Hospital and waited from around 10 in the morning to 4 in the past meridian before a doctor ambled in and didn’t as much as glance at the sick party. Exhausted and much the worse for wear, the child was treated at a private clinic when he was a hair’s breath away from death. Etubs would expire at the CDC Cottage Hospital after a great deal of "toing-and-froing" at the Regional Hospital Annex. Then sometime in December 2005, a young woman in labour was rushed to the same hospital; the doctor on duty was called, but replied that he was at a University of Buea graduation party. The young woman bled to death.

There are lots of other ills that could qualify the hospital for a temporary shut down. The queue at the pro-pharmacy is often slow and sluggish, because the staff purchase drugs behind the door, the eco-graphy technician is almost often absent and, worst, some of the gatemen are not only arrogant, but assume the professional role of pathologist and mortician. Once a desperate woman came in a taxi screaming that her son was dying; the gateman gave the unconscious fellow one look and pronounced him dead, and despatched him for cold storage.

On February 5, 2010, the day of the prize award, yet another taxi deposited a sick man at the Hospital. The attendant who brought the patient approached a nurse for help, but she just shrugged and pointed to a wheelchair. It was the attendant and the taxi driver who rolled the patient into the hospital. And when the taxi man wanted to drive out, the gatekeeper sat back comfortably watching as the driver struggled with the gate. The most he did was to warn the driver not to damage the gate.

"I say, if dat gate comot, you go hear bad," he growled. You will remember I said recently that there are people who like to sleep, praying for someone to get smart with them so they can make their lives hell. There are other ills we will discuss later. In the meantime, there is a building standing pitifully, decaying in Buea opposite the Prisons Barracks "rejected" because it was poorly constructed. And there are uncovered drainages, unfinished schools and those that have not been started at all but appear in files as complete and functional.

Mr. President, if you take a walk before the sun sets, you will appreciate the misery that grips the nation and see how felons who sing your name day and night pander to financial scams, corruption, as it is fondly called now, and whose dastardly antics tarnish your name and the name of the nation. You will meet notorious outlaws as they plan their next robbery and the conniving and secretive plans of contractors being made right under your nose. You will see how those you have trusted all along have been rustling the coffers. Then, and only then, will you agree with William Pitt that "where the law ends, there tyranny begins."

The police, nonetheless, are all glitter and smiles, working day and night, risking their precious lives to take care of criminals and dissidents who bode no good for the peace. There is no flaw to their marvellous training – like the recent case at GTHS Buea, which the police handled with matchless finesse; it was dead open and shut against the boy.

Alongside good marksmanship; they keep notorious criminals off the streets. Some of the policemen, I must confess, work so hard, waking so early and sleeping so late they hardly know when the sun rises and when it sets. They are smart. Always sprightly, spick and span in their uniform and armed even when they go out to quench their thirst after a hard day’s work, they are sensitive and great law enforcers who can’t afford to be upset by guttersnipes and brawlers.

And all because they know what the common man wants; peace! And ho! I was forgetting the tax collectors who ride two horses at the same time. The other day I was in Douala, one of them wanted grease worth just under FCFA 100,000 to lubricate the wheels of a container valued at FCFA 7,000,000 so it could roll out of the port more rapidly. Who loses? Who cares?
Bienvenido, falco sparverius!

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