By Joe Dinga Pefok
Jane and Justice Foundation for Human Development, an NGO with headquarters in Douala, will, in the coming days, organise a series of demonstrations against the worsening state of insecurity on our roads.
The demonstrations will be organised in Douala, Yaounde and Bafoussam, to cover what the Foundation terms the triangle of death, in reference to the Douala-Yaounde, Yaounde-Bafoussam, and Bafoussam-Douala highway.
The above information was disclosed at a press conference, which the National Coordinator of the Foundation, Pius N. Njawe (Publisher of the French language daily, Le Messager), and some of his close collaborators granted in Douala on November 9.
Major activities of the crusade will include peaceful protest marches and grand rallies which will kick off in Douala on November 17 and 24. On November 17, there will be a 3-km march from "Carrefour Sodiko" (Bonaberi) to the Bonaberi Motor Park, where there will be a grand rally.
The target of the campaign will be drivers of public transport vehicles in particular. On November 24, another 3-km march will start from "Carrefour Yassa" (in the outskirts of Douala towards Edea/Yaounde), to "Carrefour Dakar" where there will also be a grand rally.
Participants at the crusade to which the general public has been invited, will include among others local administrative, municipal and political authorities, as well as economic operators, members of transporters' syndicates, members of related civil society groups, resource persons in the domain of road safety, drivers, riders of commercial motor cycles (bendskins) and some popular Cameroonian artists like Ange Bagnia, Lapiro de Mbanga, Nkotti François, Papillon, Misse Ngoh François, Joe La Conscience and Guillaume Tell.
Highlights of the rallies will include speeches calling on drivers and
bendskin riders as well as other road users to strive to exercise
prudence while using the highway and town streets
Some victims of road accidents as well as family members of the victims will also mount the podiums at the rallies to give testimonies.
According to the officials of the Jane and Justice Foundation, all the speeches and testimonies to be presented at the rallies will be geared at drawing public awareness to the fact that: road safety concerns everybody.
Meanwhile, the Foundation will organise the crusade in Yaounde on December 1 and 8, and in Bafoussam on December 15.Njawe disclosed that the Foundation was taking measures to obtain official authorisations for the different marches and rallies.
Enough Is Enough
In a release issued by the Jane and Justice Foundation, the Foundation recalled a number of ghastly road accidents that rocked Cameroon in recent times like the one which occurred at Ebombe near Edea that left 32 persons dead.
It cited other accidents whereby people are still to
recover like the one at Bangangte in which over 10 persons died on
October 27, 2007 and the one on the Douala-Bafoussam highway where some
30 people perished. It was disclosed that the recent accident at Njombe
led the Foundation to take a resolution to embark on a road safety
Causes Of Accidents
Njawe attributed the major causes of accidents on our roads to both human and material causes. As for human causes, he noted for example that there are many people who "buy" driving licences and jump on to the road with vehicles, when they in reality do not yet know how to drive well.
He cited one of the Foundation's slogans for road safety campaigns, which is: "To buy a driving licence, is to buy one's own death." Njawe also complained about some drivers who take to the steering wheels while drunk. Also, there are several cases of drivers who, though tired, still insist on driving instead of resting.
He equally cautioned against the bad practice of drive while on the phone, and so drivers have a divided focus or lack concentration. Such people easily cause accidents. Above all, Njawe said most accidents are ghastly because the drivers always engaged in excessive speed.
As for the material causes of accidents in Cameroon, Njawe noted that many roads in the country are death traps, because of their bad states. He said not only are our major highways narrow but that they are also rarely maintained. He said there are major roads in the country, which look more like a line of potholes.
Njawe questioned what government does with the money being collected from tollgates round the clock. He asserted that the huge sums of money are officially supposed to go for road maintenance. Besides, he condemned the impunity which big transporters exercise probably because they are CPDM big guns.
He cited as example the case of Guarantee Express, noting that some of its buses were involved in two recent accidents on the Douala-Yaounde highway, in which several people died. He noted that in both cases, the Guarantee drivers were wrong, but so far no one has heard of any sanction meted on the bus company.
Birth Of Foundation
The Jane and Justice Foundation for Human Development was created in memory of Mrs. Jane Njawe (wife of Pius N. Njawe), whose tragic death occurred at the Esseka Hospital on September 16, 2002, after car accident at Omog II village on the Douala-Yaounde highway.