Marafa Sings The Blues

Belated Resignation Letter and Vision For Cameroon

 He was the all powerful Minister of Territorial Administration after a stint in another powerful office as Secretary General of the Presidency. He is still a member of the Political Bureau of the ruling Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement –CPDM. Such solid credentials and his Peul Aristocratic background made him frequently cited as a potential successor to President Paul Biya. Unlike others who mask their ambitions; Marafa had the tenacity to tell Diplomats as wikileaks capable reveal that indeed he had Presidential ambitions. Cited here and there in the Albatross affair, Marafa had harsh words for operation sparrow hawk which had seen the incarceration of high profile state personalities. The operation he said had political undertones and he himself could be a potential victim. How prophetic those words were as today, Marafa is amongst the latest barons of the regime to be flung behind bars.

Unlike others who have remain mute, barely a few weeks after his arrest, Marafa is firing salvos which put President Biya the man he claims to have served with the greatest devotion in a very uncomfortable posture. First he dismissed the competence of the Judge assigned to his case. Pascal Magnaguemabé the Judge assigned to most of the Sparrow Hawk cases harbours a grudge against him for a refusal to help advance his career Marafa says. Hardly had the dust settled on this when Marafa fired another missive this time an open letter to President Paul Biya which offered insight into the dog eat dog administration he served in for decades. Marafa amongst others reminds Biya of conversations he had with him from the bloated nature of the cabinet to candid advice that the mandate Biya got in 2004 should be his last. All should be done so he can step down in dignity and take a well deserved rest Marafa recalls telling Biya. Tired of the intrigues and back stabbing within government circles, Marafa cited instances where he had expressed the desire to be dropped from government only for Biya to turn down his request.

In the entire letter Marafa comes across as a dedicated statesman while subtly painting a perfect Machiavellian character of President Biya. Obviously questions come to mind. Why is Marafa making his case public now? Is it because he now has more faith in the court of public opinion than a spineless judiciary sustained by the regime he was an integral part of? The letter he wrote to Biya sounds like a belated letter of resignation. Was he really serious at all about resigning or just trying to test the wits of his boss? If Marafa was serious about resigning, why did he not follow the example of Garga Haman Adji? Why did he not do it like Maurice Kamto? These two are amongst the handful of Government Ministers known to have resigned from Office .No matter how hard he tries now; Marafa was part of a system that continues to hold the polity hostage. A prison system that is archaic, a judicial system that refuses to evolve with the times, a President who decides when it rains and when it suns and is worshiped more than a religion by those  he considers Ministers and sub Ministers to paraphrase what he told Marafa when he raised concerns about the plethoric nature of the government.

It serves no purpose gloating over the misfortune of others but Marafa just like the other incarcerated barons of the regime are just getting a dose of the poison that average Cameroonians have been systematically fed with by the regime. A regime Marafa was until his arrest one of its pillars. No matter the sympathy anyone may have for Marafa and his unfortunate acolytes especially with the absence of a clear cut case, we must not forget that there are victims of a system perpetrated by them while in government. It is this system they worked for, it is this system they supported zealously when it served their interests. How many opposition rallies were broken? How many Cameroonians have been jailed and tortured for fighting against a system that goes nowhere near the edification of a modern state that meets 21st century challenges? How many elections were blatantly rigged?

No, even in the court of public opinion, Marafa’s case is heavily flawed .If it is equity he seeks by his missives, he may not get because he comes to it with dirty and heavily tainted hands. His latest missive possibly not the last one which talks about suggestions he made on electoral reforms and a vision he had for Cameroon does not get him much sympathy. He was part of the system; he was an architect of some of the most brazen electoral fraud that has taken place in the country. While in government there was nothing he did that remotely suggested that he is the martyr he tries to make himself now. Garga Haman Adji for instance stepped down as a matter of principle to join the Union of Change caravan in 1992. A tangible reason advanced by Garga then was the systematic blockage of corruption cases he had raised. Ayah Paul a CPDM MP raised hell for the party and publicly distanced himself from the ruling party when it forced through the constitutional amendment to decimate term limits in the constitution. In 1993, Justices Fombe, Epie and Fobellah risked the fury of the regime by throwing out a frivolous case initiated by the government against SDF militants after the October 1992 elections in Bamenda.

Marafa presenting new year wishes to President Biya,it is between them today
Marafa presenting new year wishes to President Biya,it is war between them today

There is no tangible evidence showing anything Marafa did to stem the excesses of the regime. He was either not as brave as he wants Cameroonians to believe today, or had a self serving agenda to exploit the system in pursuit of his own ambitions.

In a working democracy, Marafa or anyone else will be free to further his ambitions to the highest levels possible, he will live in a country where there is a free and unfettered judiciary, where there is the presumption of innocence, where you do not have to be in jail for four years before a verdict is given on your case as is the case with Mebara. In a democracy power will not be concentrated in the hands of one all powerful person like Biya with impotent institutions like parliament serving as window dressing. It is this kind of society that Marafa and all the other arrested barons and those who are still in government consciously and unconsciously worked to entrench. The irony, is the ones in government do not seem to get the lesson. Yesterday it was former Minister of Environment Elvis Ngolle Ngolle talking about Biya as if he is a deity, today, there are reports he is under investigation. Who will be next?

Like many I hope Marafa keeps sending the letters. More of them especially with even greater revelations may eventually make his case better in the eyes of Cameroonians. As Chairman of the board of Directors of the all power National Hydrocarbon Companies, SNH, he probably has an idea about the way proceeds from country’s petroleum resources are used. How about he continues to set the record straight on how the government works? How about telling Cameroonians more about his role in the fraud? Even if this does not sway opinions, it will be what my catholic friends call confession; it may be a mea culpa of sorts to Cameroonians. For Marafa like most of his unfortunate colleagues owes Cameroonians a big apology for all the pain, the insensitivity, the greed, the misery, the stagnation and ….the list of grievances is endless.


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