Inter urban travel in Cameroon is perhaps the most nightmarish thing there is where DEATH or INJURY is almost always expected. Every year we see a record number of deaths on these roads but hardly anything is done to curb these tragedies. There is no denying the fact that the nature of our inter urban “roads” are a huge contributing factor but we will talk about ROADS another day, let’s talk about how we as Cameroonians contribute to these deaths.
1) ROAD SAFETY: As Cameroonians, we seem to take pleasure in violating road safety laws. Once I gave a friend a lift, when they got in the car I asked them to buckle up, to which he responded “Massa we dey na Cameroon no be America” huh, I said well if you don’t value your life, I value my windshield it’s not cheap, I can’t have you jetting at 60 miles per hour through my windshield. Many Cameroonians genuinely believe that not buckling up increases their chances of surviving in the event of a crash. Anyways driving on these roads is a nightmare, given the nature of the roads SPEED LIMITS are almost not a thing, hitting 120KM per hour is seen as some sort of expertise “Driver you run fine eeh now now so wey we comot Douala we don already reach Buea”, sometimes passengers complain about the driver being too slow. Needless talking about the recklessness with which they pass other cars where they are not supposed to, it is scary and painful to watch.
2) VEHICLE CONDITIONS: Cameroon has a phony vehicle inspections commonly referred to as “Visite Technique” where for very little MONEY, you can get a PASS sticker pasted on your shattered windshield that is held together by TAPE and it’s even worse when I see this on INTER URBAN buses but perhaps the most shocking was when in the process of trying to get documents for my car, someone offered to bring the “viste technique” pass sticker without taking my car to the inspection station, anyways I asked how’s that possible and got the “Anything is possible in Cameroon” response so I said NO THANKS I did not travel here to come and die. Do I trust these inspection stations? Question for the gods.
3) ALCOHOL: Boy do we love drinking so much such that we’ve normalized drinking and driving to the point that some drivers claim they drive better when they drink but how can you blame them when the police officers at the numerous “Checkpoints” on these roads take a 30 minutes break, find the closest bar and get a bottle or two of beer while in uniform! Anyways all this things that I am writing here is just NOISE when we start giving our lives value, only then will these things change. This is part of why we are dying on these roads. The most amusing thing is when I hear ADULTS saying government officials are using WITCHCRAFT to kill people on these roads so they can maintain their positions in power “HABAI!! Unfortunately, PRAYER can not save us from STUPIDITY but like a great man once said “Le Cameroun c’est Le Cameroun”.