As Buea, chief town of the South West Region of Cameroon prepared to host the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the country some two years back, a plethora of projects were being executed in the region. All major roads were either completely tarred or renovated while earth roads were graded.

As the days narrowed down to the celebrations of the reunification anniversary, Buea witnessed a facelift as it was almost difficult to distinguish between night and day in the town. This was due to the total lighting of the streets, junctions and inside the quarters. There was some order in the town as all road side vendors and stationed vehicles were removed by the council authorities.

The pavement graveyard

Just few months to the coming of the head of state to Buea, the population woke up one day and noticed that the pavement which separated the main road in Buea had been removed thus creating what is today described as the “Paul Biya Boulevard.”

Long abandoned Mountain Hotel where the reunification of French and British Cameroon was signed and the historic parliamentarian flats including the German constructed Prime Minister Lodge consumed Billions of FCFA as the government decided to give them a rehab. Not only was Buea a reflection of a modern town, but it could be compared to a state in the United States of America.

On February 20, 2014, H.E Paul Biya after years of postponement finally decided to visit Buea. The Presidential visit which lasted two days saw the celebration of the 50th edition of the reunification of Cameroon.

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Buea was the epitome of focus as the entire Cameroonian population admired its beauty, historical heritage, culture, cosy weather and warm reception.

Buea a shadow of former self

Today, anybody who visits Buea will have a completely different story to tell as the town has become a shadow of itself. One will wonder if at all the projects put in place were just made to last long enough to host the president and fade out immediately after his visit ended.

The two state hotels in the town which were renovated in 2014 glopped Billions CFA of tax payers’ money are currently under yet another renovation two years later. Billions of Francs CFA have again been allocated for their complete renovation and extension as the Nation prepares to host the Female African Cup of Nations to take place this November in two regions of Cameroon; Centre and South West Regions.

Today, it is not only difficult but almost impossible to see a street light blooming in Buea at night. On more than one occasion, students and denizens of the university town have staged protests against the frequent power failures and irregular supply of potable water.

Roads infrastructures in Buea have yet another sad story to tell. Almost all roads that were tarred during the reunification ceremony have gone bad. From the Mungo bridge right to Limbe and back to Buea through Tole, the roads are disastrous. The main road in Buea which has been known as the “Paul Biya Boulevard” has become a death trap as the number of deaths recorded on a daily basis has forced the population to wonder why the pavement that separated the road was not reinstalled after the reunification celebration.

Development only for special occasions

While Buea seems to have been abandoned to itself, denizens of the town have been quick to question if the regional capital only gets maintained when an announced visit of the head of state is made to the region. While the authorities have continued to keep silent to the questions and worries raised by the local man, inhabitants of Buea however remain optimistic that in the next ten years when the president will pay another visit to the town again, that is if he will, development will therefore show its face once again to the town.