Fear and Frustration Envelops Cameroon Ministries After AFCON 2019 Withdrawal

Top government officials in Cameroon have expressed frustration and fear for their positions and the country’s economy after CAF’s decision to withdraw Cameroon’s right to host the African Cups of Nations in 2019 following inspections that found that the country is not prepared and player’s life may be at risk because of insecurity.

National Times spoke to five government officials who all decided to speak on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak on the issue.

“Our minister [of sports and physical education] is frustrated. He has called some top civil servants here to prepare a public statement alleging that CAF’s decision was politically driven and also based on matters of insecurity. He wants us to prepare a public statement that will recuse him, some officials in the Ministry and the AFCON planning Committee of any responsibility,” a government official at the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education has told National Times.
Cameroon AFCON 2019 Withdrawal
The official who refused to answer the question as to when the Ministry was aware that CAF is going to withdraw Cameroon’s rights to host the AFCON, continued that “CAF’s decision this Friday rebuff the close relationship that some top government officials here at the Ministry have been building with the Presidency. I know of two bureaucrats here who were expecting promotion because of their involvement with AFCON. Now we don’t know if they will be going to prison. But some say they expect a systematic investigation in the coming days.”

Officials at the Ministry of Finance expressed similar pessimistic outlook, although they are more concerned about the country’s economic outlook, than their positions. “There is no call for concern here at Ministry of Finance regarding mismanagement of funds involving the AFCON. But were very concerned about the country’s financial status. Where are we going to get the funds to repay the loans we took from Turkey, China and also domestic banks. I expect the country to face recession, if the prices of oil continue to fall,” an official at the Cameroon’s Ministry of Finance told us.

“The treasury is dry from my understanding. We have been on a borrowing spray over the past three years to finance the AFCON. The expectation was that the country was going to recuperate funds from international visitors, and other media sources, what now? That is all gone. I pity those celebrating what happened. It is a fatal blow to our economy and our country,” another official at the Ministry of Finance told National Times, with a firm sense of despair in his voice.
An official at the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education said “The Cameroonian government should be blamed. There was chaos regarding the planning of the AFCON. It was no secret here at the Ministry that officials were more concerned about securing contracts for their spouse and families, and sometimes themselves, rather than delivering to the Cameroonian people and Africa as a whole.”

“It is a shame that we now hear talk of patriotism and sense of national duty. We should have been patriotic when awarding contracts and other appointing people involve planning. It should have been based on merit, but instead it was based on who you know. We were not patriotic. Government officials were putting their family and personal interest ahead of national interest. It is not secret here. They thought they could get their away with that, and now they are mourning and blaming CAF,” the official continued, seemingly angry and frustrated too.

Cameroon lost its right to host the African Cup of Nations 2019 after a meeting by CAF officials in Ghana on Friday found the country does not have the infrastructure to host the 24 team African Nations Cup.

National Times understands the Committee now searching for new host of AFCON 2019. Morocco and South Africa are strong contenders to host the AFCON. As CAF continues its search millions of Cameroonians will be waiting to see what happens in Yaounde on Monday, nothing may happen, after all this is Cameroon.

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