Urban Disorder Calls For Order
As a result of increase in traffic and outburst of construction sites, big cities have happily welcomed the multiplicity of traffic police.
The cities of Yaounde and Douala and some Regional Headquarters have been experiencing exponential population growth for the past decade and this has ushered in incidental growth in traffic with all the nefarious effects one can imagine. Many vehicles have streamed into the country beefing up the number of vehicles plying the streets. The situation is worsened by the huge number of motorbikes that have invaded the roads in the name of poverty alleviation.
While workers in Yaounde take hours to reach their job sites, the situation proves even worse in a city like Douala where it takes up to four hours for people coming in from say Yaounde and travelling to the South West Region for instance to across to the other end of the town. Cases abound where people working in the city centre and living in far off Bonaberi are obliged to leave their homes as early as 4am in order to cross the famous Banaberi Bridge before it gets stock with traffic.
The situation could have been more catastrophic were it not for the ubiquitous presence of traffic police men and women. In Yaounde for instance, several mini police stations have been erected in sensitive areas many of which experience daily traffic go-slow. Talk of neighbourhoods like Mvog-Mbi, Melen, Ngoussou, Mokolo, Marche Central, Mendong and Entree Simbock and minds will quickly run to what is commonly called traffic jam. Rush hours are not good hours to feature in these areas. The situation is being exacerbated by the numerous construction sites in the city.
This has led to the blockage of some access roads and the overloading of others. As explained by Adamou Baba, Centre Regional Traffic Police Commander, this situation has led to the taking of special measures by the police department to ensure smooth movement of vehicles and people. Their performance has so far not been below average.
The interesting thing about the massive presence of traffic police is their tidiness. They look neat and ready to work. They are alert and ready to pounce on any recalcitrant road user. In some spots, one can find up to five traffic police men and women working and swapping duty. This special deployment, according to Baba is permanent. This assurance rekindles hope especially for cities like Yaounde and Limbe that are anxiously waiting to host the upcoming Female Africa Cup of Nations.
The mobilisation of the police force is expected to even heighten when the tournament kicks off. In the long and short of it, the increase in the number of vehicles in the cities, the upsurge of construction sites and the organisation of the female AFCON cup make up the greatest challenge for the police force. It requires several traffic police men and women to ensure smooth movement in big cities today.