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Cameroon: New Appointments Deepen Conflict At CRTV

A battle royal has commenced at the Cameroonian state broadcaster CRTV between the General Manager of the station and a number of journalists who oppose the changes he is making at the station. Following CRTV's board meetings last week, its Chair and Communication Minister, Jean Claude Biyiti Bi Essam, appointed some officials of the state broadcasting house.

The Post learned that the new appointments stood in total disregard of the list the Corporation's General Manager, Amadou Vamoulke, proposed during the board meeting of January 11. Members of the CRTV Board of Directors are said have rejected the General Manager's list, causing the meeting to last only for 15 minutes. According to the proposal Vamoulke made, Charles Ndongo, who was maintained as the Director of Information on Television, was to be appointed to the same rank at the radio station.

Alain Belibi who was appointed one of the Directors of the Nlongkak radio house, Ephraim Banda Goghomu and a few others journalists were to be sacked from CRTV. As a CRTV source put it, these journalists were to be banished to Siberia in the Ministry of Communication.

The Post tried in vain to get the CRTV General Manager to react to these allegations that were widely published in the press. But a source close to the outfit's management said Vamoulke never made any such proposals. Another source that asked for anonymity, said the list the CRTV boss proposed was a vicious attempt to settle scores with his opponents in the house. "Why would anyone recommend that one of the finest journalists in CRTV like Belibi be sent to idle in the Ministry of Communication?" another source wondered.

The Post also learned that all the CRTV workers who signed an open letter to their boss last year, have since been blacklisted for victimisation. Following the publication of the letter that carried the grievances of the workers, the CRTV boss declared in a meeting that he considered the initiators of the memo as "neo-Talibans."

Charles Ndongo was accused as the man who led the "rebellion" against management. That is why, our sources claimed, the CRTV boss recommended his transfer to the radio. His reappointment as Director of Information was seen to be at variance with Vamoulke's wish.

The battle over these appointments gave a new lease to the power struggle between the CRTV Board Chairman and General Manager. Moreover, there is said to be conflict in the house, especially because the journalists the General Manager recommended for the Ministry of Communication, look at him as someone who wanted to victimise them. Last week's appointments largely maintained the status quo. For one thing, only few a Anglophone journalists were appointed to occupy their traditional role of assistants to their Francophone colleagues.

Senior journalist, Peter Ful Ngong, hitherto Station Manager of CRTV in Bertoua, was appointed Deputy Director of Information at the TV house. The former Editor-In-Chief for TV news, Prince Ephraim Banda Goghomu, was named Deputy Director of Programmes in the same house.

The appointment of other CRTV officials, including the managers of Provincial stations, is expected to take place this week. It is alleged that the CRTV board meeting will be held again to approve the appointments. Local observers believe CTRV boss Vamoulke is determined to reform the state broadcaster but is facing stiff resistance from conservatives.

(The Post (Buea), 24 January 2008)

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