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The Ugly Side Of Mokolo Market 

By Edith Etongo*

The face of the Mokolo Market, one of the most popular markets in Yaounde, is marked by spots of garbage, congestion and numerous cases of pick pocketing.

Partial view of Mokolo Market

Despite the efforts of the Yaounde Urban Council to manage the mounting garbage heaps by providing garbage cans, the situation seems to remain pre-occupying.  Many traders and buyers apparently still give a blind eye to the cans as unsorted garbage is littered even around empty garbage cans. The traders have gone as far as creating dumping grounds within parts of the market in disregard of specific areas allocated by the city council.

The manner in which foodstuff is displayed irresistibly attracts flies. An ordinary nose would hardly stand the stench that emanates from the garbage cans. Thereabout, every passer-by triples his steps, while the traders habitually burry their noses into their loincloths and shirts. Even the mad as well as mentally sound persons around there do puck both nostrils towards the sky as they urinate and defecate into the cans in broad daylight.  

There isn’t an easy and clear passage into the market with people and car jostling along. The situation is worse during peak hours when people scramble to purchase items. For instance, there is a usual scramble at the Congelcam Fish Store where people from all over the city seemingly go to buy fish. This is the case for both retailers and consumers. The scramble coupled with congestion gives room for pick pocketing. When there is congestion, one finds it difficult to differentiate between buyers and pick pockets as those involved in the evil also move around carrying market bags as well. This set of pick pockets are made up of mostly the youth.

They snatch phones, money and even handbags from inattentive buyers, especially women. It is said that the Yaounde Urban Council put in lump enormous efforts to give the Mokolo Market a befitting facelift. Yet, many have wondered why such a splendid dream should turn up in halves. Some have attributed it to the high rate of illiteracy, school dropouts and unemployment rate in Yaounde, while others think it’s just the way things are done in every market.

*(UB Journalism Student On Internship)

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