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Prisoner Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Cameroon's former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization

From his inner cell room in the Kondengui Central Prison, Sparrow Hawk's prisoner Marafa Hamidou Yaya former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization addressed a letter to his former booh and dinner pal His Excellency President Paul Biya, in which he bites and blows Biya's flesh, while exposing him to the people, and inciting them to anger.

I have managed to  translate the French written letter into a comprehensive readable English. Please bear the errors with me.

Mr. President of the Republic,

It is in the heart of one of the most tragic and the darkest periods in the recent history of our country that I am writing to you. The shocking images of the railway accident that occurred in Eseka on October 21 in the Yaounde-Douala line used by Camrail, have deeply traumatized Cameroonians. and will long continue to hunt them for a very long time.

What about the 79 innocent ones whom death have deprived of their destinies and who were brutally taken away from their families, where they the only ones who died, or are you hiding the others from us?
Hundreds of injured victims are still struggling to hold on to life in deplorable health conditions, which is also unbearable to our citizens, as this tragedy would have been avoided. If emotions are high today, it is because it is merged with pain and anger.
When this tragic event occurred, Mr. President of the Republic, you were not in Cameroon. You only addressed this incident 48 hours later, when you finally arrived the Yaounde Airport, and ever since then, you have not yet visited the disaster site.

In such cases, that one can theme as a national disaster without fear, the Head of State should and why not not carry the pains of the nation, address his countrymen with words of compassion and appeasement, and meditate on behalf of all the people at the site of the incident.

This is what Cameroonians are expecting from you. Do this simple gesture Mr President, to grant their wishes. Go on to Eseka. The dignity and emotion of the whole country requires this.

Cameroonians are also awaiting the truth from you. You created an Investigating Commission to detect the possible causes of this accident in your Decree of Oct. 25, but yet, you decided to appoint only members of your government to this committee. How then can this commission proves impartiality and the independence required in such cases?

How can your Ministers establish any transparency on the potential responsibilities of the State? How can they even endorse the responsibilities of Camrail, a company bounded by the same common interest with the State?

All these investigations according to your prescription, can never be ready before 30 days. Cameroonians are not fools Mr. President. They know very well that this investigating commission can never reveal the entire truth of the Eseka accident, whereas, they want to know this truth. They want to know about the mechanisms of the sequential deficiencies and multiple malfunctions that led to this horror. You owe them the assurance of the independence of this investigating commission by including members of the civil society, high ranking engineers, eminent scientist, legal authorities, former superior officers, former ministers and Doctors.

The only credible investigation will be that whose interests are not aligned. Our country lacks nothing. Give them the opportunity to prove their competencies and experience. Give Cameroonians the possibility to know every truth about this disaster. That way, they can start mourning.

Finally Mr. President of the Republic, note that Cameroonians are aware that the fatal incident of Eseka was not simply an accident. The luck or better still the ill luck played its role, but unfortunately it got engulfed in a series of breaches complacently exposed by the carelessness of your administration.

It is because the road linking the two principal towns of the country were brutally discovered collapsed, due to insufficient maintenance, that in a haste, they overloaded passengers in a train, bypassing the basic security rules. It is because the hospital in Eseka lacked beds that injured victims where transported in terrible conditions to hospitals in Douala and Yaounde.

Mr. President of the Republic, if our roads and rail infrastructures were not dilapidated and worn out, this disaster won't have happened. If our health units were not useless, the wounded would have been honourably catered for.

The first lesson that we have learn at the expense of the sufferings of this terrible accident, is the urgency to invest massively in the dark infrastructures of our country.

When I was Secretary General at the Presidency and Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, I made so many unsuccessful attempts to convince you on these, but you only engaged a series of emergency plans in this area, that were not sustainable.

The Eseka disaster whose memory will never die, therefore orders authorities of this country to hence procrastinate. Time has come for Cameroon to be finally transformed into a State of efficient modern and responsible administration and infrastructures.

Time has come for the Cameroonian leaders to be at the service of the people and listen to them. The Eseka disaster has sparked off a wave of shock in the citizens. Those who chose to remain deaf to this blast of warning, have lost contact with the people.

Marafa Hamidou Yaya

The letter in French





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