Tapang Ivo, a Fullbright Scholar and Youth Activist has insinuated that passengers are to be blamed partly. In his popular Facebook page, he wrote:
“…We have mourned, we are mourning and we will continue to mourn. But that does not stop us from asking the question above. To me, following reports of overloading, the passengers are partly to blame.
Knowing that the train was beyond capacity, with some reports stating that passengers were standing, it was wrong for them to have encouraged the driver or train conductors to move on. Prayers would not have saved an overcrowded train, Forget it and be real here.
Like in most cases in Cameroon, overloading has become a norm. Drivers cannot effectively switch gears and the weight of the car forces it to either overturn or derail (for trains). Should we blame the gangster regime alone? No.
Remember that we expected an overcrowded train following the collapse of the only major highway linking the capital cities of Douala and Yaounde. The regime lacks stronger institutions and its citizens lack the courage to question power, speak to power and hold power accountable on every front. Until then, more trouble in the offing.
Overloading must be punishable by law. Passengers including drivers in overloaded trains and cars must be arrested and jailed. Public flogging of corrupt officials must take place on Fridays at noon for three months in front of the international media and family members. That would be a law under my future regime…” Tapang concluded.
BaretaNews disagree with Ivo. We must understand our system and where we are coming from. We must understand the education and culture. We must also understand what happened prior to when the people were running to take the train to Douala. We must recall the economic importance of Yaounde-Douala road and why people rushed to the train station. There is no way you can blame passengers not even partly. I understand, we need to start building some of these cultures, but let us not miss the realities here. The Transport Ministers instructed CAMRAIL administration to do everything possible to arrest the situation after Yaounde-Douala road collapsed, but out of the unscrupulous nature of the officials at CAMRAIL, they collected money even after exhausting their tickets and reports say many got into the train without tickets. Now, we must understand how human beings operate.
Naturally, when humans are free to act without rules and consequences they turn to do things out of the normal way. That is where government comes in. It was the place of the government and CAMRAIL to put in place structures and measures to ensure that whatever you do, safety must come first. For CAMRAIL and their conductors to have allowed people to get into the train above its capacity, then that was wrong and gave a huge problem. All blame as far as BaretaNews is concerned must go to the government and CAMRAIL officials. They are responsible .They were supposed to put in place measures to avoid that and even arrested those who tried to force their way. So they did none of the above, therefore BaretaNews blame the government and it’s agencies entirely.
BaretaNews, however, agree that overloading whether in taxis, buses etc should hence be strictly followed and punishable by law, but again can corruption leave police officials who are engaged in these checks? No. It is becoming a normalcy that police officials compete with each other for the first to bring in more bribes so that their bosses should not keep them home and/or cause their transfer to areas where milk does not flow. This must stop. That is why we must change the system and the government. The Cameroonian people need a new face, a new government that starts putting people first, a government where there is law and, a government which builds independent institutions and ensures everyone respects it, a government which start making people trust in its system. Once these are done, things will change naturally and thus, Cameroon will become great for once.
God is still saying something.