Public services in Cameroon have virtually ground to a halt during the campaign period, as high-ranking government officials leave the office to canvas for votes in their respective villages.
Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, Yaoundé
In Cameroon, since the start of the campaign period on 24 September, citizens in need of public services have been confronted with closed doors. This is the experience of teacher Ludvine Tiako: “The offices are always empty, as if the civil service has been suspended,” she complains.
A bad example
In fact, nearly 80% of ministers, directors and executive officials in Cameroon are members of the ruling CPDM (Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement), the party of current president, Paul Biya. Therefore, during the campaign period, they all visit their respective villages to campaign under the CPDM banner. For these officials, it about showing their loyalty to the president by ensuring that he is re-elected.
This problem of office desertion arises with every election. That is why the Prime Minister, Philémon Yang, announced that all government officials will remain in the office during the campaign period this year. However, as Paul Biya’s campaign manager, he was the first to leave his office. He is actively campaigning for the ruling party all around the country and therefore neglecting his office duties.
Government officials are not the only ones abandoning their office work. They are also reportedly using the country’s resources to campaign for President Paul Biya. After hearing the reports, Cameroonian politician Daniel Boo, filed a complaint against President Paul Biya for a “massive diversion of public funds”.
Daniel Boo denounces “the confusion, created and maintained, between public assets and party resources”, which is manifest in “the issue of payment deeds, the recursive payment of assignment mandates, the insidious, improvised and inconsiderate use of state resources (fuel coupons, government cars).”
Daniel Boo’s complaint was subsequently rejected. As for the young teacher, Ludvine Tiako, she has been forced to put her request on hold for the time being: “I don’t have a choice. I will have to wait for the officials to be back in the office, at the end of the campaign period, in order to enquire about my application”.