Opinion

Highway Gendarme And Police Checkpoints in Cameroon Can Usually be Well Adapted for Corruption

1. There’s usually the escort man on a huge bike, clasping a whistle between upper and lower lips, and perpetually revving his bike ready for a chase.

2. Then there’s the ‘Chef’-the said Head of Delegation, sitting in a car just behind the escort man; the driver’s door always open, with an imposing figure behind the steering, seemingly half in and half out of the car.

About The Car
It’s like a treasury office where people come in to pay cash – only the cash in this case is bribe money. Essentially what happens is, the man on the escort bike peals a whistle an shouts an order “gare la bas!” (meaning “station there!”). I have the feeling that these instructions are usually harsher, especially at the entrance to Douala, for vehicles matriculated ‘SW…..’

The driver, who almost always understands the sound of the whistle to mean “see the Chief,” then moves to the direction of the car, and proffers some dog-earred car particulars, usually stashed with cash, and in a few minutes the deal is concluded.

Let’s Do a Few Calculations
The average amount stashed in a pack of car documents destined for a police/gendarmerie checkpoint used to be CFA 500 FRS (about $1). I hear inflation has now taken it up to CFA 1000 FRS (about $2).

Mathematical Problem
Imagine a checkpoint around Bekoko which controls really heavy traffic into and out of Douala. Imagine that just 100 cars ‘settle’ the police/gendarmes per day (100 is an exaggerated low number, chosen for the purpose of simplistic crunching). Assume each car ‘settles’ CFA 1000 FRS per day.

a)How much will this cost the state of Cameroon by 2035. Marks will be earned for all workings shown. (20 marks).
b) From your answer, extrapolate the probability that Cameroon will emerge or submerge in 2035 (5 Marks).

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