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Disabled Persons Restart Protests over Gov 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr

While thousands of graduates are gleefully rubbing their palms in contentment over their recruitment into the public service, scores of disabled people are publicly venting dissent over their alleged sidelining in the process.

Over twenty physically handicapped persons have been camping in front of the United Nations Cameroon country office in the capital Yaoundé since last week.  They are observing a hunger strike to denounce unmet government promises to reconsider their complaints in the recruitment of 25,000 civil servants.

The protesters engaged the voluntary fast last Friday, December 30.  It is the third in a series flagged off since November 2011.  Their most recent outing dates back to December 15 when they staged protests in front of the Prime Minister’s office.

Back then, they were appeased by a government pledge to set up an ad hoc committee to ponder ways of addressing their grudge.  The committee was accorded a 10-day deadline to bring forth solutions. 

“But to our greatest surprise one month after the decision was taken, we have been reliably informed by sources in the Ministry of Social Affairs that the recruitment has come to a total end and that we cannot be considered within the framework of the 25,000 recruitment.  We are being asked to wait for the next round of recruitments,” Henri Ndah, one of the protesters explained Tuesday from his wheelchair.

Others said they were ready to die from hunger in their bid for justice to be done. “We shall stay here for as long as it takes for the government to render us justice,” Kalian Mouffa, another protester declared.  He said the reason to move the demonstration from the fringes of the Prime Minister’s office to the UN country office was to attract international notice as well as avoid harassment from security forces.

According to November statistics gleaned from the Ministry of Public Service supervising the recruitment, only 52 disabled persons were pre-selected for 02.2 percent of the total.  The Yaoundé protesters reiterate that the law prescribes that in all recruitments, 10 percent of places should be reserved for them.

Going by the figures, 2,500 disabled people should have been selected for the 25,000 recruitment.

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