Porters' Boycott of Race fearedBy Christopher Ambe
Even as Guinness Cameroon SA has come to the rescue of the Ministry of Sport and Physical Education/Cameroon Athletic Federation in the organization of this year's Mount Cameroon Race of Hope,by raising the prizes of the champions to 10 million FCFA,up from 3 million FCFA each in both the male and female categories,the race's Porters' Committee is bitterly protesting what it terms insufficient funds allotted it to take care of over 450 porters,an official of the Southwest League of Athletics, who chose not to be named,because he was not authorized to do ,told The Recorder this afternoon
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Our source said at last year's race, the Porters' Committee,headed by the Paramount Chief of Buea ,SML Endeley and assisted by Andrew Njoh,was allotted 4.5 million FCFA to take care of 450 porters plus 100 backers and they faced a lot of difficulties paying all the porters who carried bottled water up the mountain.
He regretted that this year despite the huge financial support Guinness Cameroon has pumped into the race, a paltry amount of 3.5 million FCFA has been budgeted for the Porters' Committee,to do the same job.
" If porters are not well paid, I can assure you that they will not go up the mountain.It is quite a tedious job carrying heavy loads such as water up the mountain", the source fumed, blaming the Ministry of Sport and Physical Education for such ridiculously low budget. "Little things like this can mar the smooth functioning of this race which is intended to boost Cameroon's image".
" Is this budget reduction intended to ridicule the National President of the Cameroon Athletic Federation,Emmanuel Mbome Motomby, who is a native of Buea and first Anglophone to head the national federation since creation? "the source asked rhetorically
Our source also decried the Government's abandonment of the Southwest League of Athletics to itself. In the past the Ministry used to give financial assistance to regional leagues to run their offices and affairs,he said but added " This is not the situation now.It is shameful"
The source hoped that the allocation for the Porters Committee would be increased to avoid any ugly incident that could dissuade Guinness Cameroon SA from continuous support.
The Recorder could not independently verify the claims of the source with Mr. Andrew Njoh,who is President of Southwest League of Athletics. He was said to be busy with the Mount Cameroon race billed for February 15 ,with over 600 runners -both nationals and foreigners,registered to take part