By Nester Asonganyi
The Rambler has learnt that one of the very first actions a newly appointed Vice Chancellor or Rector of a state university takes is to quickly flood the place with their relatives and cronies. They often include cleaners, clerks, drivers and messengers. The VC’s and Rectors do this without recourse to immediate labour imperatives, needs and the negative impact on programmed resources and social legislation. Many of such hastily recruited staff, The Rambler has learnt, lack requisite qualifications. Some of them contribute practically nothing to the sustainability of these tertiary institutions. But, they hasten to the bank at every end of month to cash checks they are hardly entitled to.
The news has gone viral on the social media and other gossip forums of the fake credentials of a mayor in Fako Division. The said mayor allegedly sneaked into the employ of the University of Buea, UB, with just one Advanced Level paper, an act considered preposterous when it comes to the standards supposedly set by this institution said to be functioning on Anglo-Saxon precepts and standards. Employed as a support staff here, the said mayor eventually gained admission into “The Place To Be.” Then he was admitted to both a Bachelor and afterwards, a Masters degree. He is reportedly pursuing a PhD and was poised to land it any time soon, had some whistleblower not alerted authorities higher than the compromising ones that have been criminally propping the mayor’s fakeness. The Rambler learnt that the mayor in question could have been [surreptitiously] spared the disgrace of being exposed, but for his characteristic rant and cant; but for the fact that at a recent council session, he insulted his councilors, a good number of who are bona fide teachers at UB, his “alma mater.”
The mayor reportedly damned their degrees in particular and scholarship in general as nothing but empty concepts that couldn’t withstand the rigours of real politicking. He referred to a retired United Nations, UN, senior executive as being very close to his grave and even told a Member of Parliament, MP, of how she was a victim of menopausal disorder.
All that notwithstanding, this reporter learnt that the Ministry of Higher Education, MINESUP, had, initially, ordered UB authorities to investigate and hopefully, uncover and sanction employees with doubtful credentials. The exercise was reportedly selectively carried out, such as to protect certain untouchables. But not satisfied with the outcome, MINESUP stepped in from Yaounde and with backing from the Labour Ministry and the police, something of a thorough probe was effected. Invited to present the originals of their certificates were 148 support staff. Only 68 of those summoned, turned up to defend their status while the rest have simply vamoosed, apparently admitting the fakeness of their papers and assuming the outcome of the probe. This was just weeks ago, and the exercise, we learnt, is going to be extended to academic staff in the days ahead.
The snag in all of this is said to be the Vice Chancellor’s, VC, driver, said to lack the basic requisite qualification of a First School Leaving Certificate, FSLC, but whose name, by some mystery, didn’t feature on the list of those that were probed. Equally affected are some recently recruited 20 security guards, who didn’t quite show proof of possessing the minimal qualification. They are, we were informed, likely to be shown the door.
The bad news is very likely to drown certain support staff almost at the verge of retirement. They have, allegedly, been working all this while with fake certificates to show for why they were employed in the first place. The probe team headed by officials of MINESUP, The Rambler learnt, also uncovered cases of fake ages. At least, one of them would have acquired his Advanced Level GCE when he was barely eight years old.
As preposterous as this sounds, we couldn’t independently ascertain the veracity of it; however, it is alleged that the mayor in the fray of fraudsters, who was initially recruited with one Advanced Level certificate to work at the Students affairs Department, smelt a rat and has since resigned from the employ of the varsity. This, ostensibly, to avert any ignominious dismissal from the institution besides the imminent withdrawal of the degrees to which he was admitted based on an inadequate, compromisingly tenuous entry qualification.
The Rambler couldn’t also establish whether MINESUP is still inclined, despite the glaring scam, to provide subvention to UB; a subvention that should make up for a shortfall in staff salaries accruing from the protracted Anglophone crisis that has greatly dipped not only the institution’s source of income but also dimmed the credibility of its output.