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General News of Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Source: cameroonjournal.com

Mincom director: Anglos are incompetent and lazy

Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Minister of Communication, has confirmed allegations made against one of his subordinate directors in the ministry for grossly marginalising Anglophones in his department.

Charles Atanagana Manda, Director of Media Observatory and Public Opinion at the Ministry of Communication, has been reported as grossly marginalising English speaking staff in his department and treating them with disdain.

Issa Tchiroma told the Cameroon Journal in a telephone interview yesterday, “Your allegations are all founded. I have been informed of the matter by the aggrieved collaborators.”

The minister was reacting after several attempts by our reporter to meet him one-on-one on the issue. For two consecutive times, after spending several hours in his corridors, our reporter was advised to return home on allegations that the minister was on leave.

When we finally got him on the phone, reacting to the situation in his ministry, Tchiroma promised to take immediate action as soon as he gets back to work this month end. “I have received a complaint on this matter. I will examine it and take action immediately my leave is over. I was very embarrassed when I heard of it. Be rest assured of my reaction.” The minister assured.

The complaining personnel of the ministry allege that Atangana Manda had taken upon himself to sort out all English speaking staff working in his department and directed that they vacate their usual working space into a secluded room.

According to one of the Anglophone personnel, their present office which hosts six of them has only two tables, one of which has a broken leg. “You need to see the office and compare it to that being used by French speaking workers and you’ll mourn for us.”

The informant narrated, almost with tears running down his cheeks how Manda ordered that they not mingle with the rest of the staff who are French speaking, lest they contaminate them.

The director’s hatred of Anglos reportedly hit watermark when in dishing out staff bonuses for 2014, he assigned 200,000 FCFA each, to francophones and Anglophones were each given a meagre 30,000 FCFA.

“We don’t feel Cameroonian in this office. The situation is above us and I don’t know who will rescue us. This director gives the impression that no one can torpedo any of his decisions.”

“Does it mean that we have ceased from being identified as Cameroonians? Somebody somewhere should hear us and do something before it is late.” Such were the lamentations of one of the victims who refused to be named for obvious reasons.

Meantime, cries of oppression and discrimination have characterised daily mood of the victimised since Manda undertook the “house cleaning exercise.” They have reportedly filed a complaint against him with the minister, Issa Tchiroma and his reaction is still being awaited.

Atangana Manda justifies his actions The Cameroon Journal visited Manda’s office last week for his own account of the story, but was told he was on leave. When we asked to have his phone number from his collaborators, we were told no one has his number, and that even if they did; they won’t release it to us.

But when we finally got to Manda, the almighty director who told us he was just returning from his constituency in Akono, where he was delegated by the CPDM Central Committee to preside over a rally, told the Journal barefacedly that Anglophone staff in his service were incompetent and didn’t merit the same amount of benefits with their Francophone peers whom he said are more competent.

“They do not deliver; they come late to work; they do not respect hierarchy... how else do you expect me to give them the same amount of money I recommended for the Francophone staff? Such were the claims of the Director of Media Observatory and Public Opinion - Manda.

Manda, who at the time of our questioning shamelessly sounded more like a sympathiser of Anglophones, gave the impression that all of his actions against his Anglophone staff in the ministry were fully justified.

He suggested that Anglophone staff in his department are being manipulated by some senior officials of the communication ministry to soil the “giant image” he, Manda, has taken time to build. He said all allegations against him were as a result of the political figments of some individuals who are not comfortable with his rise in the administration.

“I am a trained and competent professional. I have criss-crossed several administrative departments in this country. I have never exercised any sign of xenophobia against my Anglophone brothers throughout my service. Those of my collaborators who are complaining are simply being manipulated by some officials in the ministry...”

Asked if he actually sifted Anglophones from Francophones in his service, when he separated their work space, Manda reluctantly accepted, but argued that it was meant to ease administration.

“I decided that since my service has to do with observing the media, it would be better to have Anglophones in a different unit from that of Francophones so that they will concentrate only on English language newspapers.

About the nature of the two offices, Manda refused to comment. He said, however, that “they have been asked to come back to the main hall if they wish.”

Quizzed on why he decided to award 30,000FCFA each, to Anglophones as premiums in contrast to 200,000FCFA disbursed to Francophones, Manda said such benefits are given based on staff performance. “I did not disburse the money; my role is simply to recommend who should benefit and who should not. I merely recommended the amounts based on their delivery.” Manda argued.

Asked if he meant that all the Anglophones in his service were incompetent and so did not merit the amount that Francophones received, Manda’s response was in the affirmative.

“Do you mean to say that all Anglophones in your service were incompetent while all the Francophones competent?” “Yes.”

The Beti director, however, hummed how he sees everybody as Cameroonian and that he hates when people begin to differentiate Cameroonians as Anglophones and Francophones.

“I am a patriotic Cameroonian and I will always see all of us as Cameroonians,” he said.

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