Where are the buses for the Africa Women's Cup of Nations (AfCON) organised by Cameroon from 19 November to 3 December? This is the question on every Cameroonian's lips in reference to the communiqué from the Prime Minister, Philémon Yang, who informed on 24 August 2016 that the Portuguese group gathering Eximtrans Sarl and Irmaos Mota was declared winner of the partnership contract for the fu ding, supply and operation of an urban mass transport system via bus in the coty of Yaoundé during the women's football competition and beyond.
The promised buses still not visible even though the African competition started a few days ago, comments are going around on the fact that the project was only a pipe dream.
Célestin Hermann Tsambou, Managing Director of the new bus transport company in the Cameroonian capital, brought some clarifications in a communiqué published on Friday 18 November 2016. He explained that, at the end of the negotiations with the government of the Republic of Cameroon, a group Eximtrans/Irmaos Mota indeed signed on 30 August 2016, a public-private partnership contract with the State of Cameroon, represented by the Minister of Transport, Edgard Alaon Mebe Ngo’o, and the government delegate to the Urban Community of Yaoundé, Gilbert Tsimi Evouna, on the implementation of an urban transport system meant to be in operation before, during and after the 2016 AfCON and this for a duration of ten years. A project was indeed started in this regard. This is the company called Société de Transport et Équipement Collectif de Yaoundé (Stecy).
Some components of this contract, which is already effective, explained Célestin Hermann Tsambou, however had to have their execution postponed, mainly due to the delay registered in making available the former Sotuc (Société de Transport Urbain du Cameroun) base in Nlongkak, Yaoundé. Which was still occupied until Wednesday 16 September 2016 by employees of the defunct company “Le Bus” who demanded payment of their benefits.
With regards to a provision in the contract, Mr Tsambou added, which was about bringing the first group of buses to Cameroon, initially scheduled to have taken place before the organisation of the 2016 AfCON, this will only be done after this competition. “To bridge this gap, Stecy proposed an alternative solution, approved by the government, which resulted, without compensation from the government, in making available to the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education, ten VIP buses from local agencies: Touristique Express, Finexs, Bucavoyages and Le Voyageur which were painted with the colours of the countries participating in the 2016 AfCON, and currently parked in front of the Yaoundé town hall while awaiting being handed over to Minsep and Cocan [AfCON organisation committee]”, wrote the MD of Stecy.
He explained that the urban mass transport system being meant to service the general public regardless of the AfCON competitions, the 150 buses indicated in the contract with fifty buses by December 2016 and the remainder between January and June 2017, will ne available as per the timetable of the roll-out. The urban transport project jn Yaoundé has thus not been abandoned. But it just fell victim to delays...