After Yaounde and Douala, the government delegate to the Bamenda Urban Council has taken the cue in efforts to put an end to urban disorder. Mr Ndumu has announced sweeping measures to curb what he considers urban lawlessness. While he has given a period of grace for defaulters to comply, those who fail to toe the line will bear the brunt of the law.
"The worse is still to come," says Niba Joseph, owner of a container along the Bamenda Commercial Avenue. He was reacting to a call the new Government Delegate to the Bamenda City Council, Vincent Ndumu, has made, urging owners of makeshift containers in Bamenda Town to quit the roadside within six months or face the wrath of the law.
The order, which was recently broadcast over CRTV Bamenda, has caused panic among young economic operators whose livelihood depend on these containers strewed all over the town. Mr Ndumu has ordered all restaurant, bar and hotel owners to make sure their business premises have good toilets.
He also called on all who have constructed in ecologically fragile zones to quit before the law catches up with them. There should be no farming along Bamenda's major streets, he has ordered. Instead of farms, Mr Ndumu stressed, there should be flowerbeds.
Mr Ndumu's moves seem to have sent sweat down people's spines, reminding them that the Tadzong-Ndeh-days were nothing. Before Mr Tadzong Ndeh cleared all the sharks that strewed the Bamenda Commercial Avenue, the Nkwen Park area and others, Bamenda looked like a shanty town in South Africa. The grandstand area that harboured all the hardened criminals got cleared and some peace returned. Some of these sharks were hideouts for criminals.
After much criticism, Mr Tadzong Ndeh pulled back and these rogues have returned to town especially at the grandstand duping and stealing from people daily. They display sets of dishes, for example, and pretend to sell them at very low cost. When they get hold of your money they disappear. Many villagers and even people who live in town have fallen victim to these daylight robbers.
The situation is not different at the new Food Market where people abusively occupy the road with goods displayed on parking lots; a display which is often in such a disorderly manner. Food stuff and other items are supposed to be sold inside the market and not on the street; but these vendors literally want to hijack customers.
The new delegate's changes will, indisputably, provoke a lot of criticism, but this will only be from un-progressive citizens who would like to live in slums rather than in clean towns. Market stalls have been built all over the town, in Mile 8 Mankon and Mile 4 Park Nkwen, for example, but traders prefer to display their wares on pavements, thus creating traffic congestion.
There is also the commercial motorcycle, or "bendskin" sector which remains a death trap. The people of Bamenda should learn to think about long term solutions rather than hastily taken decisions to satisfy their stomachs. They should stop blaming government officials for actions that are meant to ensure the public good.
Business people should know that if they sell good products even inside a hole they shall still have customers. They should cooperate with the new government delegate and the Regional Delegate of Environment to make Bamenda town a safe place to live in.