(NewsWatch Cameroon)-For the past three years, more than 400 graduates from the National School of Administration and Magistracy have been twiddling their thumbs at home, waiting in vain for the call-up by the President of the Republic whose dismissal of this issue has not only bred frustrations for these “ghost workers” but above all has repercussions for the wider Cameroonian community.
The problem stems from the fact that as the ultimate head of the judiciary in Cameroon, President Paul Biya is the sole person who must convene the meeting of the body that would thereafter integrate the graduates in question into the legal corps and render them fully operational. However, the Head of State has not done so since 2012 and consequently, two classes have been waiting for twenty-four and twelve months respectively with a third class poised to join them once they graduate in a few weeks.
While a few of those concerned go to the courts and try to help their predecessors in some capacity and keep abreast of legal affairs, others dismiss such an approach, since they can perceive no real benefits and in any case, it entails a lot of expenditure for people who are “not on a regular salary”.
The problem has been aggravated because the population of those awaiting integration is a lot bigger than it would have normally been; usually, the state enrolls 50 students in the magistracy department each year; however, in a bid to enhance the legal process in Cameroon, the European Union in 2008 engaged in a partnership with the government aimed at training nearly 200 magistrates annually over a three-year period. Although the first batch was integrated in 2012, that was not the case for the following two classes which have had to stay at home ever since.
Many question whether the government is getting cold feet over the European Union initiative possibly because there are not enough funds to recruit such a huge number of legal experts. On the other hand, the plight of these graduates makes a mockery of claims by the authorities about the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs annually – if even those destined to be recruited by the state are finding things that tough, it does not bode well for other job seekers.
Even more importantly, the inaction of the president is extremely costly to Cameroonians because the EU sponsored initiative was designed to bring about the recruitment of more personnel so that legal processes could be expedited. This failure by Paul Biya to render them fully operational means Cameroonians must continue paying the price in terms of clogged courts, legal delays and disastrous errors by overburdened magistrates who must each cater to a disproportionately high percentage of the population.