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CDC Breeds Social Inequalities ?
Category :- Culture & Society Author :- Francis Nzante 
Posted on April 2, 2019, 11:57 am

This is because of the impact it has had on the lives of English-Speaking Cameroonians economically through employment, educationally through its educational facilities at least in the earlier years of its creation, health-wise through its numerous hospitals and health centres and socially through its social clubs and peer groups.

The gigantic nature of CDC makes the provision of habitats for its thousands of permanent workers very challenging. CDC Camp Life as it has been called throughout the years that this Agro-industrial Complex has existed has come with its strengths and weaknesses.
 Considering the vastness of CDC, it is sub-divided into estates and further divided into smaller units for obvious administrative purposes. These estates are headed by Estate Managers just like the smaller units have administrators to run them. This is a well-structured and oiled machine that span three regions is however increasingly facing serious challenges with regards to infrastructural sufficiency.

This situation has pushed the CDC to start thinking about restructuring residential areas in its various estates and constructing new accommodation camps for the growing population of employees. “We are creating new and modern camps for our workers. For those who cannot live in our camps, we give them 25% of their monthly salary to rent where ever they wish. We also have 100% health coverage for all our workers without discrimination. In fact, we are a few in Cameroon to do that” Ikome Manyaye Paul, the Public Relations and Communications Officer told a working group of journalists under the United Nations Human Rights Commission for Central Africa a couple of years back.
Despite these efforts, habitat-related problems persist in CDC camps. These problems include Hygiene, Sanitation, Environmental Pollution, Accommodation, Drainage System and Recreational Facilities amongst others.

CDC workers still live in old houses constructed in 1947 when the corporation was created. These houses have become too small to accommodate the fast-growing families. A family of five will find it very difficult to live in one bedroom and a parlour and in most cases small sizes. The Cameroon Development Corporation has not readjusted its housing policy to suit changing times.

Most of these houses are dilapidated and begging for renovation. The construction of some camps at Njonje within the Idenau Municipality with somewhat larger rooms indicates that CDC seems to be acknowledging this problem, but still, families with more than two people cannot afford to live in a single room.
The United Nations Human Rights for Central Africa working with a group of journalists noted that the Njonje Camp did not meet up with the needs of workers. The case of one Irene Vekima whose husband had been working with CDC for ten years said her family of five lived in a single room and a parlour and her children were forced to sleep in the living room for lack of space.

Camps in areas such as Tiko, Middle Farms and Moliwe within the Limbe Municipality have comparatively better living conditions but with traditional problems of cramped living spaces.
The problem of toilets remains very acute. Most of the pit toilets available are insufficient when compared to the number of people who are supposed to use them. For instance, at the Idenau camp at Njonje where 140 families were supposed to be lodged, only six toilets and six bathrooms are available for men and the same number for women. Some camps especially those in the interior do not have recreational centres where workers can assemble and release stress after hard work.

Most CDC Camps are surrounded by waste material which has either not been properly disposed of or neglected. This causes environmental pollution which provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes which transmit malaria. The poor drainage systems in CDC camps leave stagnant pools of water which easily breed mosquitoes. These stagnant water bodies are very dangerous to neighbouring residential areas and to the health of children.
CDC has provided 100% health coverage for its workers but those living in suburbs far away from these health facilities will find it difficult to have access to quality health.

The most popular CDC hospitals like the Tiko CDC Hospital, the Middle Farms Hospital in Limbe amongst others are found mostly in Fako far away from countless CDC Camps in Meme and Ndian. That’s why the UNCHR working with a group of journalists recommended the acquisition of well-equipped emergency ambulances to transport sick workers from camps in the suburbs to hospitals and the provision of modern equipment for health centres in camps.
Hygiene problems in CDC Camps are very alarming. This is compounded by the high population density with very limited toilet facilities. Groups of people from different households are forced to use the same toilets without any organised hygiene or cleaning mechanism in place. The unimaginable nasty conditions in these toilets and its effect on the environment are inconceivable.

 A case of Environmental Pollution noted by this reporter was around the Tiko “New Quarter” area which habits one of the biggest CDC Camps. Due to the insufficiency of toilets, sewage and garbage disposal facilities the nearby stream and gutters are clogged, and it is not unusual to find human waste in this stream and gutters.

These problems, however, change as you move from the residential quarters of the lowest simple labourers and move up hierarchically to middle-class workers. The Senior Service SS Quarters remain some of the best residential areas that can be seen in Cameroon since in them live the top notch of CDC Administration with the best recreational facilities and health services that are among the best in the country.

The Tiko Golf Course, one of the best in the country is the destination of top annual golf rendezvous in Cameroon. This should be noted is a CDC recreational facility for top officials. The Limbe SS Club located in the heart of the Limbe Senior Service Quarters is one of the most ideal residential quarters in Cameroon with its spacious gardens, Lawn Tennis Courts, Swimming pools beautifully enveloped by the breathtaking Atlantic Coast with its blue skies and soothing sea breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. This is also a CDC residential facility and can stand its ground among the very best property in Cameroon

The stark difference between the habitats of the top CDC officials and the lowly paid labourer who does all the dirty stuff is alarming. Maybe something should just be done to make sure that problems noticed in the habitats of simple CDC manual workers are addressed because the effects on the environment and on the health of the population can reach unimaginable proportions.

Tagged Keywords:  Cameroon CDC
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