“We must rebuild our general hospital. Without this hospital, my siblings and I would not be alive today. It is preposterous for anybody to burn a hospital. If this hospital has been destroyed by Amba fighters, then they do not know what they are fighting for. They have stopped children from going to school and now they are burning health facilities which do serve them and their families. If it is the military that is behind this unfortunate event, then they are simply justifying why people in Mamfe should distrust and hate them. This is unfortunate, but we must not let the wicked destroy us. Our strength will be determined by how fast we rebuild our beloved hospital and not how much we speak,” Dr. Joachim Arrey, the the executive director of the global think Tank for Africa speaking to Cameroon Concord News Group’s editor-in-chief, Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai, following the burning of the Mamfe General hospital.
Cameroon Concord News: I don’t know how to start. This is very bad news. The burning of the Mamfe General Hospital cannot be a good idea. Who could be responsible for this?
Dr. Joachim Arrey: Thank you for giving this platform for me to share my perspective on the burning of the Mamfe General Hospital. I am devastated. This has spoiled my day. Who burns a hospital with patients in it? What type of wickedness is this? It will take years to rebuild that hospital. However, we should not despair. This is a problem and an opportunity. The people of Manyu must show that sense of purpose they have been talking about for centuries. This is action time. No long speeches. This is terribly bad. However, we must rebuild our general hospital. Without this hospital, my siblings and I would not be alive today. It is preposterous for anybody to burn a hospital. If this hospital has been destroyed by Amba fighters, then they do not know what they are fighting for. They have stopped children from going to school and now they are burning health facilities which do serve them and their families. If it is the military that is behind this unfortunate event, then they are simply justifying why people in Mamfe should distrust and hate them. This is unfortunate, but we must not let the wicked destroy us. Our strength will be determined by how fast we rebuild our beloved hospital and not how much we speak.
Cameroon Concord News: This is really confusing. How do you think this can be handled? The rebuilding should be led by the government.
Dr. Joachim Arrey: You are totally right! This is the government’s domain, but we can work with the government to rebuild our hospital. We cannot wait for our people to start dying like ants before we act. Be advised that when you have money, you have power. If we, the people of Manyu Division, can mobilize USD 1 million in a short time, we will force the government’s hands. We have our people who are in government, and they should be telling us how to proceed. We are already working on a massive fundraising campaign and the Manyu Diaspora will have to demonstrate its love for our people in Manyu Division. I am already talking with many people, and they are willing to bring money to the table. I am here by announcing my modest contribution of CFAF 1 million for the reconstruction of the Mamfe General Hospital. There is a Manyu brother who has promised millions too. I prefer to keep that under wraps until we come up with a clear plan. However, we are calling on Manyu sons and daughters abroad and at home to organize fundraisers. Let us give! There is more pleasure in giving than receiving.
Cameroon Concord News: Who do you think should coordinate this massive effort?
Dr.Joachim Arrey: We still have very many good people among us. Some are medical doctors; others are politicians, while others are administrative officers. I know of Prof. Robinson Mbu, Minister Victor Mengot and Senators Enow Tanjong and George Tabetando who are good people who can provide effective leadership in times of crisis. Many of them know their way in Yaoundé and they have that leverage to push for a fast reconstruction of the hospital. If any of them steps in to provide the much-needed leadership, then I will give much of my time to the fund-raising effort.
Cameroon Concord News: But the government is always slow when it comes to development. It has not even issued a statement on the event. This is an emergency and urgent solutions are required.
Dr. Joachim Arrey: You are right! The government’s machinery is always very slow. It appears there are no emergencies on its agenda. We however have options. We can work with our traditional leaders to build a brand-new state-of-the-art hospital in Mamfe while the government continues to think in slow motion. We have the numbers, and we should use this numbers to serve our people. I am thinking that if the Yaoundé government is too slow for our liking, we should be talking to the mayor of Mamfe or Chief Godson Oben who is the paramount chief of Mamfe so that they can allocate us land for the building of an ultra-modern medical facility which would deliver world-class services to our people at affordable prices. That is why it is urgent and important for us to mobilize resources very fast. We don’t have to wait for our government. I am also urging those back home to organize fundraisers for this purpose. No amount will be too small. We all must work for our beloved Manyu.
Cameroon Concord News: I hope Manyu people at home and abroad will listen to you and act accordingly.
Dr. Joachim Arrey: I hope so too. This is the time for us to demonstrate that love we all say we have for our beloved Manyu. We must avoid long speeches at this time. We must act if we do not want our people to perish. It is in our power to deliver our people from the disaster that is staring them in the face.
Cameroon Concord News: Thank you Dr. Arrey for talking to Cameroon Concord News Group
Dr. Joachim Arrey: It is always a pleasure to share perspectives with you and your team. Have a great day!