The National Gendarmerie claimed recently to have intensified efforts to ensure safety on highways in the country. But a Cameroon Concord investigation has revealed that the continuation of the “Operation Control-Monitor-Punish has instead been a source of extorting money from drivers and other road users. However, the checks have been going on as usual with a kind of CPDM rigour. Cameroon Concord agents serving with our intelligence unit reported that all what the Gendarmerie officers booked as offences ranged from plain fiction to the most absurd. Said our chief security correspondent, “We were stopped for over speeding. A senior officer (names withheld) told us that we were driving at 110 km in a zone where you are are allowed 90 km. He ordered us to pay 25,000 frs CFA as required by the law. He moved away from us and a junior colleague came and collected 10,000 frs from us without a receipt”. This is what is underneath the so called “Operation Control-Monitor-Punish” on our highways.
The Gendarmerie officers are making hush hush money for themselves as they punish nearly every road user for offences such as over-speeding, over-used tyres, non-respect of road signs, lack of spare tyres, lack of First Aid Box, un-lit/illegible vehicle number plates, lack of speed indicators, poor breaks and impromptu breaking and non-transparent glass. An English speaking Cameroonian officer who felt confident to face our tape recorders noted that he and his men were ready to even collect more money from our CAMCORD Intel agents for not wearing seat belts.
Colonel Zacharie Fossi, Head of the Alpha Detachment Yaounde-Boumnyebel was quoted as saying that road users are getting more and more aware of the road safety rules and regulations. “They have all their car documents, they are reducing speed and avoiding overloading”. This has prompted the Gendarmerie officers to re-design other methods of collecting money from road users. A driver under the influence of alcohol offered the patrol officers two bottles of French wine and he was allowed to go scot-free.