CORRUPTION AND LAXITY IN THE CIVIL SERVICE
Years back as measures to combat the economic crises, as declared by the State of Cameroon under the leadership of the Cameroon People Democratic Movement (CPDM), with their Zeus Paul Biya at the helm; the salaries of Civil Servants were slashed.
It could be supposed that, the government had employed more workers and for convenience in order to facilitate payments they had to consider such stringent measures.
Intrinsically, this has ignited and kindles corruption and laxity in the civil service. Civil servants now lack diligences and job satisfaction.
The atmosphere in administrative offices and other public institutions is a cause for concern. Workers come to work and leave when they like, such that some do not even spend up to three hours in their offices.
They expect money before rendering services and above all their offices have been transformed to shops, where they sell wares.
Equally, State teachers, have this laissez- faire and nonchalant attitude and it tells on the students.
At the Ministry of Finance for instance, just to go in to visit or business, along side ones identification document, one is expected to give money, before the one can be allowed to go into the building.
Officially, tariffs are neatly displayed on walls of offices, ultimately; one is made to pay more than the stipulated amount on display. The actual amount paid is not indicated on the receipts and no explanation is accorded.
To sit for a professional exam, commonly referred to as ‘concour’, the compilation includes all sort of certificates, meanwhile it is usually lost effort for those without godfathers or fairy godmothers, who can secure their successes without even going through such hurdles or even sitting for the exam.
All in a bid to exploit and extort citizens, any small registration or application that has to do with the State, numerous certificates requiring official stamps are requested.
In the judiciary and public security, laws are passed, like the new criminal procedure code by law no. 2005/007 of 27th July 2005. Thus far, the application of the penal code on issues of police custody, bail, and arrest are usually not accurately implemented.
It is openly announced that, road check points or illegitimate and unaccountable road check points have been banned or closed; still they spring up like mushroom from each corner in the towns and along the highway. Nobody has absolutely anything what so ever to say or do about it to correct such discrepancies.
I wonder if those who came up with the decision do not ply our roads to notice, that their order is being violated.
However, as they say, ‘A fish starts getting rotten from the head’. As such, the rottenness of bribery and corruption, has eaten deep in to the fabrics of our public sector, sailing from top to bottom and now contaminating the private sector and individuals, - Contractors takes contracts, which of course must have bribe their way through to secure the contract, then they either do an incomplete or completely poor job, butchers have phony weighing scales, a taxi driver will not want to give you the right change or as a stranger fake the distance to charge you more. A technician will do fake repairs and even sell parts of the item brought for repairs. A tailor or seamstress will collect money then disregard the agreed appointed collection date and then hide from you. Entrepreneurs or their employees inflate bills like in drinking joints or restaurants, filling station attendants fake the gauge pump and sell limited amount of fuel for money paid.
Vendors especially those by the roadside, sell fake wares and sometimes trick you by giving you trash instead of the attractive item you purchase in the process of packaging.
This is the actual image of our country Cameroon. Providence is now required in dealings while trust is now farfetched.
To shamelessly stage a show of rigor and moralization, in checking the epidemic which has eaten deep, causing our economy to suffer, leaving many in deplorable situations and abject poverty, it is openly publicized that this or that Minister or Director has been arrested for mismanagement of state funds and embezzlement.
By the way, some civil servants stay for months without salaries, pensioners may even die before receiving their pension that is; if they succeed in compiling the required documents, roads, public offices and school infrastructures are way below standards, social amenities limited. Yet, the amount of money announced to have been embezzled leaves some of us bewildered, whether that amount of money actually existed in our state coffers. More so how- be-it, if not anarchy that an individual can have complete access to such gross sum.
Whatever the names of the various operations staged – ‘Antelope’, lion, cat or fox, the State embarks on in the pretext of combating corruption is all drama. For years this aspect has just been a merry-go-round. The Presidency more or less a monarchy, a Minister is appointed to head a particular ministry or rotate ministries; same as Directors and when he must have enriched himself enough, they are dismissed on grounds of mismanagement and embezzlement.
We are never in the know of the exact verdict - whether they are compelled to give back what they had stolen – sorry, embezzled is a more classic term to use. The seizure of their declared properties and freezing of their bank accounts is a logical approach.
Perhaps, if they have been obliged to pay back, how have these monies been accounted for? These are questions that answers are sort. Whereas, the game or play continues another brother in the brotherhood is also given an opportunity to enjoy the national cake, all in the guise of cabinet re-shuffle.
Apparently, there are certain unnecessary implementation of policies, projects and activities, in which the state fund is used at taxpayer’s expense.
For instance, the Prime Minister displaces to launch the construction of a road and then after opening. This certainly requires out station allowance for him, Minister, Directors, drivers and all others in the entourage. Thence, much is spent on entertainment. Still months after months the road launched is still untouched.
For those with the responsibility of objective reporting, they are subjected to treats. However, the truth is always bitter but must be said.