By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The case against Maurice Kamto, leader of the opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party and his political allies, and supporters have been postponed to the 8 of October 2019. Kamto, who was runner-up to the last presidential election, is accused of insurrection, rebellion and could face the death penalty.
On the 28 of January 2019, authorities in Cameroon arrested Maurice kamto and his supporters who had staged a peaceful protest march against the decision from the constitutional council, declaring President Biya as winner of the 2018 Presidential election.
The MRC Party alleges that the presidential election was rigged to favour the incumbent President Paul Biya who have been in power for 36 years. The MRC Leader says he is the winner of the election according to statistics obtained by him.
“While the charges against them were being read, one of them- counselor Christian Penda Ekoka- felt dizzy and I have to tell you what led to this discomfort. This audience was held in a sort of matchbox; forgive my use of the term. The room is very small and poorly ventilated. We were suffocating, and I think this is what led to the discomfort that caused suspension of the hearing,” Kamto’s lawyer, Ntchale Michel said.
Per multiple reports, the court case resumed after the collapsed member was taking to the hospital. The defense lawyers pleaded for the case to be adjourned, which the court did.
Speaking to the Secretary General of the MRC Party Barrister Ndong Christopher said, “We are now waiting for the case in October. His state of mind is clean, he is healthy. There is nothing to fear.”
Antoine Vey, French lawyer for Kamto speaking to AFP said, “There is no justification for Mr Kamto and his supporters to have been incarcerated for eight months in these conditions”, while indicating that “None of them took part in acts of violence, none called for acts of violence or rebellion, there is no reason for their arrest other than a political move.”
Many have reiterated the need for the Anglophone crisis to be resolved while political prisoners, and those arrested in connection to the crisis are freed. “I traveled more than 600 kilometers to attend this trial. For me, it’s a historical trial. We are asking the Biya’s government to do two things, solve the Anglophone crisis and release the political prisoners. This will calm tensions”, psychologist and president of an association for the protection of human rights, Germain Ekwala said.
Human rights groups have denounced the jurisdiction of the military court to try the case. Meantime, Cameroon’s former colonial master France, U.S.A, and the European Union has repeatedly called for the release of the MRC politician.
In March, the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy told RFI that Cameroon would be “very wise” to release Kamto because his detention is widely perceived as politically motivated.