The Kumba II Council in Kumba, South West Region of Cameroon saw the light of day in 2007.Then, a Presidential fiat put an end to the defunct Kumba Urban Council.
The metropolis was split into three Sub-divisions. At that time, it was an opposition fief and so those who submitted proposals of what’s today the official boundaries of the Sub-division robbed it of any potential for growth.
Here there is no free land, no forest reserve and income generating enterprises. Investments such as the railway station and largest beer depot in the South West were technically cut off to areas where the ruling party was thriving.
Today, the whole of Kumba is under the control of the opposition party. Revenue generating facilities such as markets are the preserve of the City Council. These put the Kumba II Council at a beggar’s end.
Though highly populated, it has neither has internal elite nor source of revenue.
Albeit these difficulties, part of which has been attributed to a failure of the decentralization process, Kumba II continues to thrive.
Sadly, each time the Council lobbies for a development project, it is required to show evidence of having land on which to carry out the project on. A Government project to construct an office for the Divisional Office, DO is still to take off due to land constraints.
Worst still, the persisting Anglophone Crisis has eroded a few francs the Council use to get through thoroughfare.
To size up how challenging the task has been for the Council, The National Times caught up with Mayor, Martin Forcha Ndobegang. He x-rays the plight of the Council, especially in the heat of the socio-political tension in the two Anglophone Regions.
On pitfalls of the decentralization process, the Mayor accuses the Kumba City Council for further compounding his Council’s plight.
He described the much trumpeted Decentralisation policy by Biya’s political song birds as an opium and wishful thinking that has not worked for over two decades since it was promulgated into law.
According to the Mayor, despite the bleak picture, officials of the local collectivity under his leadership are working hard to ensure that the Council thrives.
Mayor Forcha said their efforts are attracting a lot of investment for the people. He singled out the giant projects to be bankrolled by the World Bank and others which he said are being stalled by the on-going Crisis and political bad faith from some quarters.
The erstwhile SDF South West Regional Chair also discussed the October 7 Presidential poll and expressed optimism that his party, the SDF will emerge victorious.
The Mayor’s responses are thought-provoking, incisive and revealing. Listen to the complete interview on The National Times. It is a rare piece from our team of repoters. The National Time’s Abah Isidore, Maxcel Fokwen and Beng Primus captured the mayor’s thoughts for you.