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Marafa May Have Jump Started The National Conference
June 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

At the dawn of the 90s, when the bloody launching of the SDF set off the democratization process in Cameroon, a National Conference was viewed as the panacea for a new direction for the country. The clamour for the National Conference was backed by the all powerful National Coordination of opposition parties, it was backed by the civil society, and the private media buoyed by exciting political developments amply articulated the case made by proponents of this forum. The response from President was “sans objet”, a National Conference will serve no purpose is a loose translation of his laconic response.

His response could be understood because in the Republic of Benin, where the first National Conference took place in the continent, President Kerekou sat helpless and

Marafa's letters have rekindled the political debate in Cameroon

Marafa's letters have rekindled the political debate in Cameroon

watched as he was stripped of all the dictatorial powers he had. The experience in Zaire now the DR.Congo had not gone well at all for President Mobutu. In lieu of the National Conference, President Biya organized the Tripartite Talks which did little to address the concerns of change thirsty Cameroonians. Over two decades later, there is every indication that Cameroon needs that National Conference more than ever before. Infact the urgency becomes fiercer considering the subtle viciousness of the raging succession battle within the ruling establishment which is overheating the polity. A lot of ink has flowed since the arrest of former Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni and former Territorial Administration Minister and Politburo member of the CPDM Marafa Hamidou Yaya. In a couple of letters Marafa by fate or by design may have finally jump started the National Conference.

Whereas the other high profile detainees have largely remained silent, Marafa has put the regime in panic mood  with embarrassing revelations contained in letters that have left the country only yearning for more .As the country watches in awe, as the CPDM is pinned to the wall unable to defend their Party Chairman cum Head of State, as the SDF joins the fray providing a high profile team of legal advisers to defend Marafa, and with the CPDM dominated parliament reportedly backing a demand for a commission of enquiry into kickbacks paid to former Minister of Transport and now Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma as revealed in one of Marafa’s letters, the former Secretary General at the Presidency and Minister of Territorial Administration may have launched that National Conference.

There may be no reason  to believe everything Marafa says , but if the Government and the ruling party are running helter skelter, then there should be elements of truth. That the ruling establishment is unable to articulate a coherent response can only add up to guilt. Rather than answer the charges , the regime thinks casting doubts on Marafa’s character and vaulting ambition will sweep the issues under the rug. But what about the facts he has used in making his arguments? Why  has the regime not provided facts to the contrary? Issues raised by Marafa have bordered on his doubts on the ability of ELECAM to organize free elections, advise to Biya to step down, instances of corruption brought to the attention of the head of state, his opposition to violent crackdowns in Douala et al. Most of these issues would probably never have occured had the National Conference taken place to lay a strong foundation for a country serious on meeting 21st century challenges.

A National Conference will possibly have vouch for separation of powers with checks and balances. It may have made it possible to have strong institutions instead of a strong man in power. It would likely have come up with the kind of electoral reforms that will make Cameroon the envy of other countries. The CPDM backed Biya in rejecting in. It possibly would have come up with reforms that would have quelled the institutionalization of corruption. Today there is a whole government in jail for crimes not clearly spelt out, with facts that are hazy though no one doubts the magnitude of corruption within the regime. It never took place and the result is a faulty constitution whose provisions have never been fully implemented since 1996. It never took place and since 1990, Cameroon has not known a single election that is free and fair election.

The National conference may have addressed concerns of Southern Cameroonians who have since continued to be humiliated and stretched and now want nothing but a restoration of their statehood.

Hard to make an exhaustive list of what a National Conference will have addressed but it is right to say the issues have been multiplied many fold. Even President Biya and his CPDM who “saw no merit” may rethink their stance if the clock could be turned backwards. While his collaborators in jail must have tasted the poison they helped serve Cameroonians, the President cuts a pathetic figure. In power for circa thirty years is Mr Biya proud of his legacy as it stands today?

For the National Conference, dialogue or whatever it is called to be successful, people must speak their minds, people must unburden secrets, people must be ready to listen and as hard as it might be forgive. Marafa has fingered Issa Tchiroma, Fame Ndongo and even the President himself. In the absence of a formal gathering, his letters serve a purpose. Cameroonians may love to know about election rigging and its techniques, there will love to know how proceeds from oil were managed when he was Chair of the National Hydrocarbons Company. How about shedding light on the operational command in Douala? What if someone tells us what really happened to money contributed by Cameroonians during the Coup de Coeur for the upkeep of the embattled lions ate the 1992?   How about Minister Fame Ndongo answer the charge from Marafa on his role in siphoning funds for some bogus satellite program at CRTV? Already former CPDM Central Committee Member Chief Milla Assoute is adding flesh to the corruption charge levied against Issa Tchiroma for on a contract for the maintenance of Cameroon Airline planes in the mid nineties.

While it is laudable that the SDF is pushing for a Commission of Enquiry on the compensation of victims of the 1995 plane crash, one must ask why the MPs of the leading opposition party did not ask for one on the Albatross, or for one to review the modus operandi of Sparrow Hawk. Hopefully Marafa’s barbs can fire up others within the ruling party, the opposition, civil society, the progressive forces in the Diaspora et  al to step up the fight for change. The country needs that National Conference or some genuine form of National dialogue. On it may depend whether the country makes or mars. On it depends genuine reconciliation because beyond the façade of peace lies a badly fragmented polity. Genuine reconciliation starts with dialogue, shedding light on issues not to reopen old wounds but to better understand each other and chart a better way forward. From the 1984 coup, the repatriation of the remains of former President Ahidjo, national recognition of heroes of the independence struggle like Roland Moumie, Ernest Ouandie, etc. South Africa had its truth and reconciliation with sordid tales that hurt but helped to heal the wounds of apartheid. Nigeria after Abacha tried the something similar. Cameroon needs its own and Marafa’s missives though inadvertently may be leading the country towards this ultimate eventuality.



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SDF AT 22: The Party Infront Of A Mirror
May 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Launched on May 26 1990 in Bamenda with six innocent souls paying the supreme price, the Social Democratic Front has been in the thick and thin of the democratization process in Cameroon. There is just no way the history of modern day politics in Cameroon can be complete without the role played by the SDF in standing up to President Biya and the CPDM in the early 90s. From the mammoth rallies across the country, to the heroism of John Fru Ndi, the vibrant National Executive Committee meetings, the SDF was a party with a class apart. Real and imagined tales of bravery catapulted its Chairman John Fru Ndi from a bookseller to the defacto President of Cameroon. What he said was the equivalent of law. “Le Chairman a dis que” was the word in Douala, Bafoussam, Mbouda and other major towns in East Cameroon. “Chairman don talk say” to adepts of Pidgin English in Bamenda, Kumba, Limbe etc. Few are those who thought the CPDM will survive the raging momentum of the SDF.Indeed there are many who believe that the SDF leader and Union for Change Candidate John Fru Ndi actually won the elections of 1992. Today that SDF is a very pale shadow of its former self. Gone is the enthusiasm it generated .has tremendously evaporated, the clout and charisma of Chairman Fru Ndi has waned, turn out at rallies is a far cry from what it was in the 90s, emblematic lieutenants of the party have either left or been forced out of the party and many Cameroonians now doubt the potential of the SDF as a credible alternative to the CPDM.

As the party clocks 22 and with the critical nature of the times, the SDF needs to go back to the fundamentals that militated for its creation in the first place. For a party which led the opposition in Cameroon with brio, the party needs to step up its game again. From 47 MPS at the elections of 1997, the SDF has seen its membership drop to 22 in 2004 and even lower today. Scores registered by its candidate in the elections of 2004 and 2011 are a far cry from what the party obtained in 1992. It is common knowledge that the ruling CPDM owes its successive victories to flawed elections but that should not be any reason to underscore the fact there is something profoundly wrong in the SDF.It may be a challenge the CPDM may not risk but are there any certainties that the SDF as it stands now will record significant victories if there was a level playing field?

Despite the fraud that characterizes elections, been in the opposition requires that a serious party makes a credible case against the ruling party. It requires that the opposition draws a sharp contrast from the party in power with its vision, choice of leadership, choice of candidates, modus operandi et al. It is not enough to point to the blatant corruption, the absence of democratic progress, the lack of infrastructure and the endless litany of short comings of the ruling CPDM and imagine that Cameroonians even in free and fair elections will automatically vote you in. The electorate, Cameroonians are more politically educated than there were in the 90s when the SDF was created and will not just vote the party or its candidates just because the CPDM must be replaced. Has the SDF led by example?  Has the SDF proven beyond reasonable doubt that in power it will govern better than the CPDM? Has the SDF made a convincing case to Cameroonians that if given power it will be accountable or will be able to hold office holders accountable?  The answers to these and many are blowing in the wind.

Since the party was created in 1990, it has been led by Mr John Fru Ndi. The CPDM has been led by Mr Biya, the CDU by Ndam Njoya, the UNDP by Bello Bouba Maigari. If within your own party, you cannot change leadership why should the CPDM be in a haste to change its own leader? As cynical as this may sound, it is actually an argument the CPDM makes. Granted the SDF continues to hold conventions, but should a party leader not think of passing the relay baton for someone else to continue the fight or lead the party in a different way that might produce better results? Can the party not present a different member as a candidate for Presidential elections who is not the Chairman?A few years back, the party was torn apart in a debate on how to invest candidates for future elections. While some influential militants wanted the creation of an independent investiture committee, partisans of the Chairman will not hear anything of it. Their argument been that the independent investiture committee will emasculate the influence the Chair has in the party.

Chairman Fru Ndi and President in what was considered a historic meeting but with no impact on the stunted democratic process in Cameroon so far

Chairman Fru Ndi and President in what was considered a historic meeting but with no impact on the stunted democratic process in Cameroon so far

It is important for people to be loyal to a leader but when that loyalty is at odds with the values of the party, it becomes a problem. If the SDF is unwilling to create an independent investiture committee that will serve as a neutral umpire in the selection of potential office holders, why would the CPDM government give in to calls for the creation of a truly independent electoral commission in the country?

Corruption remains rife in the country and many have argued and rightly so that if the implementation of Article 66 which requires Office holders to declare their assets prior to assuming and leaving  office is the threshold of any meaningful fight. For obvious reasons, the CPDM government is not hot at all about implementing the clause. On the other hand the SDF could show Cameroonians about its seriousness to govern seriously by requiring its top leadership as well as Mayors and MPs to declare their assets. The party even has a shadow cabinet. The only known SDF MP who declared his assets is Hon Jean Michel Nintcheu. It was exciting when news circulated some time back that the Chairman was going to declare his assets, but disappointing that he backed down saying that he is not a government official and nothing mandates him to declare his assets.Fair enough, but does the symbolic gesture of declaring your assets not draw a contrast in the eyes of Cameroonians between you and the sitting President people are disappointed in?

No organization can thrive in indiscipline. When Ben Muna was axed from NEC in the 90s, it did not bother anyone, then came Siga Assanga, and many others. Far from serving as instrument to maintain discipline in the party, the dreaded Article 8:2 became a weapon to settle scores and purge the party of real and perceived enemies of the leadership. The result is that  the party’s NEC is hollow today.  No offense to those who constitute its membership today but who can deny the fact that since the departure of cadres like Akonteh, Nyo Wakai, Asonganyi, late Dr Tchenkwo, and others, the party has lost a lot of vibrancy?  Where are those strong communiqués that used to come from the Secretariat? Why is the party not taking stronger positions on issues like corruption? It is not enough to make press utterances and throw verbal punches at Biya for arresting state officials. If the SDF was in power, how will it handle issues of corruption? On what basis is the party putting its Lawyers to defend Marafa and for what crimes exactly?  So if there is tangible proof that indeed Marafa has tainted hands, will the SDF seek to help him prove the contrary?

It is a good thing to know the party is in dialogue with other opposition parties and has been holding several meetings. It may be no point crying over spilt milk but one cannot help wishing that such dialogue had taken place prior to the 2011 elections. For diverse reasons, there is a lot of mutual distrust amongst the political leaders.  The SDF by virtue of its size and historic importance needs to take the lead in bringing together the opposition. The opposition has aided Biya so much with the divisions, suspicions, and the war of egos between its leaders. In 1992, the Union For Change settled on Mr Fru Ndi as a candidate.  People may argue that in 2004 and 2011, the SDF leader emerged second in the Presidential elections. You run for elections to win and not to emerge as runners up. In the supreme interest of change in Cameroon, would it be more productive for the Chairman to be the king maker and rally people to stand by someone other than himself who has the potential to win or to run for elections and continue to be placed second?

After 22 years of existence, it is time for the party to do some soul searching. It is time to ask hard questions which will help get the party back on the rails. Of all the Founding fathers, only Mr Fru Ndi and Aloysius Tebo are still actively involved. It does not help the party when grievances aired by other Founding fathers from the late Albert Mukong, to late Dr Ngwasiri, Siga Assanga etc are not taken seriously. It does not help the party when proposals from brilliant minds like Justice Nyo Wakai are not taken seriously. It certainly does not help when committed, effective, and hardworking cadres like Akonteh, Paulinus Jua, and Prof Asonganyi are rewarded with shabby treatment from party hawks.

22 years at the helm of the party is way too long and if he is not thinking about it Chairman Fru Ndi has to start thinking about it. The party needs new blood; it needs people with a fresh perspective. Such people are not lacking in the party, Hon Nintcheu, Tchinda Fobi, Vice Chairman Joshua Osih etc . The party needs to seek reconciliation, genuine reconciliation with disgruntled militants so they can come back to the fold. Fortunately there is a Convention coming up. It will be the ideal opportunity for the SDF to start its reformation. Simple proposals for consideration could be limitations to the mandates of elected party officials and candidates for public office, mandating all elected

Many see in Vice Chairman Joshua Osih the future of the party

Many see in Vice Chairman Joshua Osih the future of the party

officials to declare their assets, publication of party accounts on a yearly basis, creating an independent investiture committee for the vetting and selection of party officials in a way that reflects the equal opportunity that the SDF stands for etc. The SDF remains a source of hope for many. Despite its short comings, it continues to be the leading opposition party in the country. The stumbling blocks have been many, the frustrations have been plenty. From the blood of innocent souls like Evaristus Toje, Juliet Sikod and others killed at the launching of May 26 1990, to the maiming of protesters in Bamenda, the controversial elections of 1992, the victimization of countless militants etc, the adversities have been enormous.

Curiously the dwindling fortunes of the party seem to emanate more from a disappointment in the way the party has been managed and less of the road blocks created by the regime. After all the party braved road blocks to be launched, the party braved road blocks to win elections in major cities in 1996, the party has braved road blocks to win elections over and over in a place like Kumba.Just as Biya is challenged to beef up his legacy, Chairman Fru Ndi must be urged to work on his. After providing courageous leadership in the early 90s, the Chairman must ensure that the party gets back on track with sound democratic principles, and a potential to lead Cameroon better than the CPDM has.



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What Operation “Epervier’ Tells Us About The CPDM
May 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

Ruling Party Needs Profound Reforms to Survive Post Biya Era

PM Inoni with party muffler on his neck, a victim of the system he worked so hard for

PM Inoni with party muffler on his neck, a victim of the system he worked so hard for

The operation sparrow hawk better known by its French acronym Epervier continues to claim high profile victims. Friends and foes of Paul Biya are among the high profile prisoners detained at the maximum security prison in Kondengui. There is palpable fear within the ranks of sitting and former state officials .Who is next is the murmur amongst them in private despite public praise for the President for adding teeth to the  fight against corruption with the arrests of close collaborators.

From Mounchipou Seidou former Minister of Posts and Telecommunications and Pierre Desire Engo of the National Social Insurance Fund in 1997, the list has evolved considerably. In jail now are three former Secretary Generals at the Presidency of the Republic, Titus Edzoa, Atangana Mebara, and Marafa Hamidou Yaya. A former Prime Minister in Chief Ephraim Inoni, a Minister of Health in Olanguena Awono, a Minister of Economy and Finance, Polycarpe Abah Abah. Also in jail are heads of top state cooperation like Yves Michel Fotso of Camair, Emmanuel Ondo Ndong of Feicom, Roger Belinga of SIC etc. It is no cynicism when people say what is lacking to form a whole government in Kondengui is a President.

Besides occupying very high state functions, a common denominator in all of these folks is that they are all militants of the ruling Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement-CPDM. I talk here in the present tense because none of them has relinquished their membership of the ruling party maybe with the exception of Titus Edzoa. Virtually all of them were members of the Central Committee of the ruling party. Pierre Desire Engo was a member of the all powerful political bureau of the party. So too is Marafa Hamidou Yaya confirmed even at the CPDM Congress of last year. Think about those delegations the CPDM composes with great pomposity for party activities in the field? The folks in jail were permanent fixtures on those lists.

So what does epervier tell us about the CPDM? It only reinforces  the narrative that it is a sanctuary per excellence of folks who get rich quick at the expense of Cameroonians .People identify with the party not because of any ideology it represents but because it  not only offers you a passport to unbridled riches but also shields you from criminal persecution. You want to obtain funds for a contract and go scot free without executing the contract? Join the CPDM.You want be considered for plum jobs in the country without qualification and where you will not rated on performance , join the party. You want promotion even when you do not deserve one based on your output? Join the party. Everyday folks like myself who irk it out to survive daily know that rightly or wrongly the party is associated with all vices imaginable in the country.

Since its creation in 1984, the party has held just about four congresses. President Biya who has led the party since its creation did not even bother to get a formal endorsement for the party to run for Presidential elections in 2004. He is not known to use his office at the party headquarters. I wonder if any Cameroonian has ever seen him with a party muffler on his neck, a party T-shirt, uniform or cap at any public event. For some reason, the President seems to keep the party at arm’s length. There is little tolerance for dissent within the party.

Corrupt officials or victims of power play?Abah Abah(L) and Mebara

Corrupt officials or victims of power play?Abah Abah(L) and Mebara

Ahead of the 1997 elections, attempts by the late Victor Ayissi Mvodo to challenge Biya were not viewed kindly at all and he was forced to back down from his ambitions. In 2004, Chief Milla Assoute and his progressive movement severely jolted the party. Determined to challenge Biya at the party’s primary, Chief Assoute was not given the opportunity to do so.The party had no convention and Biya was proclaimed its automatic candidate.

A man like Gerard Ondo Ndong will remind people that some of the money he is accused of embezzling was used in financing party activities. The same will go for all the detained CPDM top shots who will tell you how much there have spent for the financial upkeep of various party activities. There is the perception that the line between the public treasury and that of the CPDM is blurry. Service cars, fuel and staff are used for party activities. The President can afford to call for elections in the heart of the raining season and it will be of minimal inconvenience to the CPDM because its cadres have access to all terrain service cars there will use at the expense of the tax payer.

There is a strong school of thought which believes the travails of Mebara, Marafa, Inoni and co are politically motivated. Maybe the CPDM Party Leader and President should be given a modicum of seriousness. It could be he is bent on getting serious in the fight against corruption .He did indicate in his speech at the last party congress that epervier will not only continue with greater vigour but will know no sacred cows. If it is about beefing up a legacy that does not reflect the multiple decades he and the party have been in power, the President needs to more. How about implementing constitutional provisions like Article 66 which calls on top state functionaries to declare their assets prior to assuming and relinquishing office? That remains the single most efficient tool that will tell those in his party and in the country that he is bent on getting serious.

Will the party survive a post Biya era?  It will be tough for the party to say the least. The crushing majorities the party has at the Assembly and in the Councils are a product of flawed elections. Besides the treasury at its disposal, the party relies heavily on MINAT and its field agents in the DO’s. President Biya has been the towering federating figure. In his absence the party may break into unrecognizable fragments. If the subtle succession battles have been this vicious with Biya still around, God alone knows what will become of the party when he is not there. Despite vituperations from young turks like Ateba Eyene and the dynamic Mayor of Buea Mbella Moki Charles who may well represent the future of the party, at the decision making level their influence is minimal and their cries for reforms are drawn in the wilderness.

If at a time when the opposition is almost inexistent, the CPDM with all its advantages still needs to rely on flawed elections, it speaks volumes. Why would a party whose candidate has won elections with circa 80% in the last couple of elections be shy about accepting the inclusion of a two round ballot in the electoral code? If the CPDM is so sure of itself why will it not militate for the creation of a truly independent electoral commission that will give its “victories” greater credibility or why would the party not vouch for electoral reforms that the party is clamouring for? The epervier will end up at best a smoke screen for any genuine all out fight against corruption will crumble the party like a house of cards.

Marafa is in detention but still a member of the CPDM Political Bureau

Marafa is in detention but still a member of the CPDM Political Bureau

If the party will survive a post Biya era, it needs a revolt from the base. Militants at the grassroots, genuine militants who believe in what the party stands for must elect leaders they believe in and not those money bags so often imposed by the party hierarchy. A few years back, veteran footballer Abega Theophile humiliated National Assembly Vice President Nicholas Amougou Noma at the party’s primary to pick a parliamentary candidate and his victory was over turned. Tales of this nature are rife within the party.  Grassroots militants need to take the bull by the horns choose leaders who are credible from the base to top and learn to toil hard for campaign victories .There will be a day when Biya will not be there , there will be a day when the agents of MINAT will not be there to help facilitate their victories, there will be a day when the Electoral Commission will not just be an appendage  of the party .This is a reality that needs to sink into the psyche of people who whole heartedly believe in the party and its vision for Cameroon.





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Marafa Sings The Blues
May 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

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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