Dossier de la Rédaction


Government Jobs, No Feet-dragging

In his Youth Day eve address to the nation on February 10, 2011, President Paul Biya announced that the Public Service was going to absorb 25,000 young certificate holders into its ranks. Many were sceptical about the announcement, not when a Presidential election was already in the works.

For many opposition activists, it was outright demagogy until barely one week later, when the Prime Minister set up the legal framework within which the exercise was to be carried out. Just six days after, a supervisory coordination commission and a technical committee were set up to put the recruitment process firmly on the rails.

It was at this stage that the scales fell off the eyes of numerous doubting Thomas’s, opening the floodgates for a massive army of youths in search of jobs. The composition of files was an uphill task but widely domitable for determined youths ready to stop at no obstacle in their quest for employment. Between March 14 and April 14, Governors’ offices in the 10 Regions and Cameroonian embassies took a beehive posture as aspirants either signed their documents or fought hard to submit them by the deadline.

When officials formally ended the reception process, a whopping 305,606 applicants had filed in with 304,146 registered within the country and 1,460 from abroad! That alone spoke not only of the gravity of the unemployment situation, but also of the enthusiasm aspirants had shown. Within Cameroon, the Region with the lowest number of applicants had 11,500 while requests from abroad came from over 30 countries and territories ranging from the Holy See, India, Israel and Zimbabwe with a candidate each, to France (292) and Gabon (160).

The Supervisory Commission and the Technical Committee, after a thorough vetting exercise, came up with 25,000 names - meaning that over 270,000 applicants could not get a place. Even if a few were dropped for fraud and invalid documents, the fact remains that a large majority of those who applied could not get places. Beginning from August 1, 2011, the selected few have been systematically invited either to constitute their employment files, sign their contracts or take up duty. The exercise went on until October 30, 2011.

But what is quite surprising is the number of selected applicants who have not turned up. As late as yesterday, this paper was still running announcements calling on selected candidates to show up. Day in day out, several ministries and public bodies have been issuing similar announcements, calling on recalcitrant selected candidates to take up duty in their designated stations.

This situation is quite paradoxical in the context of generalised unemployment in the country. It also contrasts with the enthusiasm shown by the applicants in the earlier stages of the recruitment process.

Attempts have been made to identify some of the reasons militating in favour of this sudden disenchantment, least of which is not what many consider as ‘unmotivating’ emolument. Others complain of the inability to be absorbed immediately into the Civil Service as they perceive their contractual situation as working against good opportunities for career development.

Those involved in this horse-trading must understand that they are standing in the way of some 270,000 applicants (and even more!) who are only too ready to take up the jobs when this feet-dragging ends. Government ought to act more decisively by systematically replacing those who do not show up before prescribed deadlines. The job situation in the country demands such measure.

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