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ROUGHSHOD: Cameroon’s Medals Mere Metals 

By Bouddih Adams

The so called medal award committee of the grand chancellery of national orders is currently in session with attendant huge sitting allowances, examining files from all over the Cameroons for medals to be awarded to applicants.

Why should one apply for a medal for the work that he or she has rendered to the State or to the people who see him doing the work every day?
How easy is it to sort out names of people worthy of medal award, when, at the end of public service and upon retirement, the public servant has to compile documents for him to start receiving his or her pension?

Given our track record for appointing people who died a long time ago, or co-opting people who had long died, into the list of signatories for motions of support or the CPDM people’s call, there is no doubt that people who have died will also be awarded medals. I don’t know whether it should be called award of medals to ghosts or ghost medals award.

It is possible that, just like with admission into professional and other schools where people have to buy their way, there is some kind of intervention from some quarters before some people are chosen for the medal award. And I am very sure that regional balance is applied in the award of medals. If, say 1,000 medals have to be given out on this May 20, it means that 100 have to go to each Region. It means that a Region with almost 3 million people like the Littoral will have the same number of medals as the South Region with barely 600,000 people.

So, in the end, what criterion do they employ to award medals, since the civil service file is not there to for reference? So, people have to apply for medals, regional balance has to apply, and so on.

Is selection it based on the length of the application, the language used, the handwriting whether it is good or bad, or the praises sung in such applications for the regime, or even asking Mr. Biya to run in the next election in the application, that is the criterion that determines the award?
Or is it by putting the application files on the table or floor and making “tumbu tumbu burst calabash…” that the awardees are selected?

If people are awarded medals for hard work, I think there are some two or three people in Buea and about four or five in Bamenda who fill potholes on the main streets on a daily basis, which the Government officials who embezzle money that should have been used in maintaining these streets, can drive smoothly along them in their posh cars. These are the real people who deserve medals, if we are serious in this country.

The day medals or any form of recognition of services rendered to the public would cease to be by application, but by independent observation, is the day we would agree that the public service is purged of ghost workers; because, it should be same records that are kept of workers that should be used for the recognition of their work and then award of medals.

Given the circumstances under which medals are awarded in the Cameroons; one can go for greener pastures and continue earning his or her salary for years (thereby robbing the State for no services rendered), then he or she returns and applies for a medal and it would be pinned on his chest in the view of the community he failed serve.

Or one can stay away from work or is very bad at it and, after some years, he or she applies for a medal and is awarded it. How do you think the community he or she has been serving poorly or badly, would see the Government medal award? Of course, the community would see the medal award as just a game, and the medal as a mere piece of metal, not so?
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