A stopover in Yaoundé? It will inevitably set off a live performance of “tchips” amongst Cameroonians leaving for overseas. And when the airline goes the opposite manner, these within the cabin additionally wince.

Stopping in Yaoundé doesn’t make the Doulaias completely happy. The 2 metropolises cordially hate one another. Financial capital towards political capital, periphery towards middle. Two cities and, in a manner, two nations, which don’t tolerate their cultural, morphological and even meteorological variations.

Nonetheless no freeway!

In Douala, we chuckle on the unhealthy style of those officers on stilts in fits and ties, their nostrils exhaling the omnipresent crimson mud that makes the capital so ugly … Then again, the inhabitants of town of seven hills wouldn’t go to stay within the sticky warmth of the shoreline for all the things on this planet.

This rivalry wasn’t that unhealthy when it got here to clichés. It received worse because the nation slipped into an existential psychodrama, because of political tensions and the Anglophone disaster.

Though separated by a distance of 218 km, the 2 cities have by no means been up to now aside. For the reason that deadly derailment of a passenger prepare in Eseka (Heart) in October 2016, the prepare connecting the port to the capital has solely carried freight.

Handicapped by colossal debt and contested administration, Camair-Co, the nationwide airline, is now not in a position to fly its planes. To make sure each day connections between the 2 cities, it’s decreased to the constitution of a Ukrainian Boeing.

Let’s transfer on … Pompously baptized “a significant axis”, the paved highway that connects the 2 cities has been worn down by truck site visitors, it additionally connects Chad and the Central African Republic.

He is a silent and insatiable killer. It’s a nightmare for Cameroonians as a result of it ends in the deaths of 1000’s of individuals yearly.

The federal government tried to exchange this highway with a freeway. He turned to China, which agreed to fund the mission. Nonetheless, of the 196 km of highway, solely 60 km had been coated. The work, which started in 2014, was because of be accomplished in two years. Seven years later, there may be nonetheless no freeway.

An unbeatable path

“All these tasks are at a standstill due to the corruption that reigns in Yaoundé,” stated a journalist based mostly in Douala. “These officers don’t really feel any sense of guilt once they delay the event of our nation by taking public cash.”

The journalist continued: “Those that have sworn to guard the widespread good and serve the state solely consider getting wealthy on the expense of the state. By which severe nation are tax inspectors richer than enterprise leaders? “

The fault lies with Nationwide Faculty of Administration and Judiciary (AT AM). This elite faculty produces civil servants who “serve the president as a substitute of serving the individuals,” stated Joshua Osih, a deputy from Douala. Osih, a member of the opposition Social Democratic Entrance, has promised to abolish this faculty if he’s elected president.

“With 35.1% of corporations based mostly in Cameroon, Douala is the primary industrial middle of the nation and of Central African Financial and Financial Group“Stated economist Jean-Roger Essombe Edimo.

The chicken forward catches the worm. An actual property increase is reworking town, main lodge chains are opening institutions one after one other and procuring facilities are being constructed.

After learning in Europe, Gabriel Fopa returned to Douala to discovered an IT companies firm. He developed it to the purpose of with the ability to subsequently purchase the subsidiary of a multinational. He loves his metropolis greater than wherever else on this planet. “In Douala, we create time. In Yaoundé, we endure it, we devour it. There, they make younger individuals consider that success relies on the ENAM competitors and that the general public service is an unbeatable path. However we’re in a capitalist financial system. You must create wealth to actually achieve success, ”he stated.

Yaoundé metropolis middle close to the Prime Minister’s workplace. © Vincent Fournier / Younger Africa

Stormy relations

Within the “Doualien” sense, capitalism is a beehive that buzzes from 5 am. Within the workplaces on Liberty Boulevard, within the Akwa enterprise district and within the factories of Bonabéri, individuals create and produce with the underside line in thoughts. Managers focus their total careers on the technical abilities of those individuals. All of them sing the praises of technocracy, which is about motion, versus politics, which is about phrases and communication.

The “technos” of Douala don’t admire their compatriots within the ministerial district of Yaoundé. “They offer you an appointment after which see you two hours late,” says a contractor who works with the federal government.

The previous criticize the latter for not with the ability to adapt to financial upheavals, for not worrying concerning the fragility of corporations and for not understanding the world an excessive amount of. “To bid on a name for tenders, you want ten signatures. Why is the federal government doing nothing to enhance the enterprise local weather? »Continues the entrepreneur.

The denigration of officers and politicians is as a result of vanity of officers (and vice versa). The stormy relations between enterprise leaders and tax authorities stem partly from this context.

“The Directorate Basic of Taxation has a punitive conception of taxation,” stated Célestin Tawamba, lately re-elected president of the Groupement Interpatronal du Cameroun (GICAM) – situated in Bonanjo, Douala – which represents greater than 1,000 corporations.

As a substitute of taxing the turnover of an organization, the bosses have been asking, in useless for years, to be taxed on their income. Nobody in Yaoundé listens to them.

Hidden in his glass and aluminum tower lately inaugurated in downtown Yaoundé, Modeste Mopa Fatoing, the director basic of taxes, “limits contacts in order to not compromise”, clarify his household and pals. “These officers consider that entrepreneurs are all potential scammers,” stated one small enterprise proprietor.

Distrust and territorial stigma created a divide between the political and financial spheres, akin to that between the 2 largest cities within the nation. Over the last presidential marketing campaign, no businessman or enterprise chief spoke in favor of a candidate. Throughout the identical interval, the Directorate Basic of Taxation arrange fiscal controls, a type of sword of Damocles suspended over the heads of the bosses of Douala who may have ventured to finance the opposition.

Napalm Raid

Ever since Chief Rudolph Douala Manga Bell was hanged for prime treason in August 1914 by the Germans, Douala has had a popularity as a rebellious metropolis. In April 1960, Ahmadou Ahidjo ordered a napalm raid which decreased the Congolese market to ashes and silenced its opponents. Within the Nineties, President Paul Biya had his opponents overwhelmed there earlier than discovering the virtues of the fiscal weapon to “management” recalcitrant bosses.

However the latter don’t intend to be silent. The “White Paper of the Cameroonian financial system”, revealed in November 2020, is a “proper of interference that Gicam grants itself within the public debate”, declared Francis Sanzouango, an government of the employers’ union.

The nation is now embarking on a technique of decentralization. Because the inheritor to colonial Jacobinism, capital desires to keep up management, each over opinion makers and over those that create wealth.

In March 2020 – following the election of municipal councilors – Yaoundé appointed Roger Mbassa Ndine, a crafty politician who is not going to make waves, the central mayor of Douala. The regional councilors, additionally elected throughout this double election, are ready for the switch of powers to get to work. Given the resistance of the ministries, they must be affected person.

Water hyacinth

The previous system is prone to proceed. For instance, the choice to construct a bridge in Douala was taken by the Ministry of Planning in Yaoundé. This although the very invasive water hyacinth is dangerously drying up the mattress of the Wouri, town’s emblematic river, which can also be residence to the deities of the indigenous Sawa individuals.

The elites of the 2 cities disagree on one of the best ways to conduct public affairs. Nonetheless, they find yourself in the identical locations: funerals sprinkled with champagne, glamorous weddings and enterprise class flights.

Nonetheless, this cordiality doesn’t stop the rivalry between the 2 cities from degenerating into recurrent murderous riots, as was the case in 2008. If Douala and Yaoundé may see their variations as a drive, this rivalry may pose an issue for stability. from Cameroon. .

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