Friday, 26 May 2017

Eseka Drama -- The CPP Notes The Shortcomings Of The Official Investigation

The Cameroon people's party regrets the lack of hearing of the victims and the fact that it seems to ignore any responsibility of the government in the train derailment that has been going on for nearly seven months.


Seven months after Eseka's tragedy and a commission of inquiry was set up, the President of the Republic finally released on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, the results of the official investigation and the Measures it intends to implement in relation to this unfortunate event.

The Cameroon People's Party reaffirms its compassion and solidarity with the victims of this railway disaster.

The CPP draws the attention of Cameroonians to the following points:

On the management of the disaster by the Head of State and his government, it is important to remember that:
Eseka Drama -- The CPP Notes The Shortcomings Of The Official Investigation
1. As in many dramatic cases such as Mbanga Mpongo, the war against Boko Haram and other catastrophes, the Head of State did not consider it necessary to go to the scene of the drama to pay tribute to the victims. We will never recall him enough, this is a misuse of the symbolic charge with which he is invested, and a sign of the little consideration for his compatriots struck by misfortune.

2. The communication of the ministers concerned by this disaster was more than approximate and characterized by vagueness and untruths about the facts, the number of victims and the reality of the measures implemented to manage the consequences of this accident.

3. The country's disaster prevention and response mechanisms remain largely inoperative and far from being equal to the various risks already identified.

On the Commission of Inquiry and its methodology of work, it is necessary to recall the following points:

4. It did not meet the conditions of credibility, objectivity and impartiality expected as a result of such a tragedy. It was composed mainly of members of the Government who were themselves questioned for their involvement in other ongoing crises. Such a committee, due to the involvement of certain members of the Government in the management of the railway disaster and because the State of Cameroon is a shareholder of Camrail, could not be judge and party. By virtue of the principle of governmental solidarity, in our context, how could members of the Government question their colleagues or the Government? His work was therefore biased from the start.

5. An independent commission of inquiry was proposed in the aftermath of the disaster by several actors, including the Stand Up For Cameroon platform. This commission of inquiry could have included civil society members, religious institutions and other key actors in society. This would have been a striking demonstration of the Government's determination to shed light and justice on victims.

6. The work of this Commission of Inquiry could also have been more credible if, as proposed,

The hearing of all the victims (in small groups if necessary) and representatives of the families tested. The subjects to be at the center of this investigation.

The creation of channels through which alert launchers could have provided crucial information anonymously. Both within the Administration and Camrail, there are certainly people who have information essential to this investigation.

The presentation of the report in a public manner in the presence of the victims and their families as well as the media with the possibility for these audiences to ask questions and to obtain answers both on the methodology and the content of the report.

On the results of the Commission of Inquiry, it is important to highlight the following:

7. This report basically brings us nothing new with regard to the causes and responsibilities of the tragedy that occurred on 21 October 2017 in Eseka. Most of the causes presented were already known to the public a few decades after the tragedy. One wonders why it takes so long to communicate the results of this inquiry if it is not a desire not to rapidly draw all the consequences of this tragedy.

8. This report seems to clear the responsibility of the various ministries responsible for the different aspects of this crisis. Allusion is made here to the Minister of Transport who ordered Camrail to transport the population without having set up the whole system of monitoring and verification of safety standards in this type of extraordinary circumstances. Minister of Transport whose communication on the subject was at least catastrophic. Allusion was also made to the Ministers of Health and Territorial Administration, whose measures of relief and care of the victims were inadequate. Faster and more effective intervention would certainly have prevented some deaths.

9. The statement by the Presidency does not mention the missing. It does not go back on the figures for dead and injured victims who, at the time of their communication by the Government, were largely disputed by many people on the train. This does not augur a serene compensation process.

On the management of victims both by the Government and by CAMRAIL, it can not be pointed out that:

10. The census of these victims has not been optimal and the figures put forward by the Government, according to many victims, remain below reality.

11. Management in many respects has been inadequate or even failing in Yaoundé, Douala and Eseka. Also aware that some of the victims did not reside in any of these cities, he failed to extend special care measures to people living elsewhere than in Douala, Yaoundé and Eseka.
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