By Arrey Echi Agbor-Ndakaw
It is a weekend and you are home relaxing with your family after a busy week. Your favorite tv or radio programme is on and it is a particular episode you have been anticipating. Your eyes are glued to the big screen and your ears are perked up listening to every word, when suddenly, in the middle of that climaxing moment, there is pitch blackness and grave yard silence! Electricity is gone off!!!! It may happen just in a twinkling of an eye. This is the normal day-to-day life in Cameroon, the giant of the CEMAC zone. Correspondingly, in the early hours of the morning or late in the evening, the sight that greets many people are those of throngs of individuals from primary school pupils to grandparents carrying buckets of all shapes and colours trekking distances to fetch water. Some of these people have been for month’s ohne ende without water. Meals are served late; children and parents arrive late at school and at work.
Blessed with a rich variety of flora, fauna and aquatic life with an impressive number of streams and rivers and even the sea passing through this cursed triangular call Cameroon, it is not surprising to hear its nickname - ‘Africa in miniature’. With this richness in natural resources and a steady and regular rainy season, energy and water should not be a part of our Cameroonian problems. However, even with the vast supply of natural and mineral resources that God in his infinite image created and planted in Cameroon and an active ministerial department in charge of water and energy, these crises have become the rule rather than the exception. Many find it very normal nowadays that lights and water must go off so much so that staying even one month without this happening is considered a miracle. Appliances and food stuff have been known to get bad again and again.
Cameroonians have derived new methods of going about their daily lives. Kerosene and solar lamps and candles are always on the ready. Meanwhile, those who can afford readily buy standby generators and construct bore holes which ensure a regular supply of water and light. The vast majority of the population however, continue to trek in search of water. Others have the good sense to buy storage cans which must be filled in the wee hours of dawn. This has in a way created jobs for some industrious individuals. However, people suffer from the brunt of excruciating prices as some of these water storage containers cost an arm and a leg. And as if to say the Cameroonian people can do nothing, the concerned sectors and their workers most often lazy away in their offices. Bills are deliberately delivered late and sometimes never and they muster the courage to penalize those who delay to pay bills they never saw. This has created a new trend in which consumers chase bills to avoid being penalized.
Despite having all these resources and even the ability to develop others and improve on the wellbeing of citizens and neighboring countries by being a supplier, many concerned and observant citizens have voiced their worries as to why these two sectors which are so vital to human life are not fully utilized? Or could it be that unscrupulous individuals make away with resources put in place for such projects? Whatever the situation may be, one thing remains sure, until these matters are addressed and possible redresses reached, water and energy crises will continue to be amongst others; a cancer plaguing this beautiful “cursed” triangular country in Africa.