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« GCE Board Loses 2 Workers In 3 Days | Main | Yaounde Varsity Students Take To The Streets »

Friday, 22 April 2005


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ambe Johnson

It is unfortunate that the Post has jumped head-on into a murky personality dispute between Manu Dibanga and Fedinand Oyono, the Minister of Culture, without trying to get the complete story surrounding Manu's role in the CMC. As a result, the Post has served as a conduit for people with personal scores to settle in its bid to get a sensational headline.

1. At no point in the report presented was Manu ever accused of embezzlement. I have read a copy.
2. Even Ferdinand Oyono in his paid interview to Jeune Afrique (another waste of taxpayer's money...)did not go that far!
3. The main point of discord was the Board's appointment of a Secretary General (not "adviser') against the wishes of the Minister - contrary to your claims, this is the Board's prerogative because CMC is NOT a public corporation; the minister was just intervening in the usual Cameroonian way...
4. As a Board chair Manu had no business in the day-to-day running of CMC, neither was he a treasurer. That everything is being mixed up by journalists is due to the inability to grasp the basics about corporation structure and roles
5. This does not in any way ignore the crisis at the CMC. The problem here is the unending meddling of the Minister of Culture in the affairs of the corporation; the management of the corporation by musicians who do not even have primary school degrees instead of by trained managers, accountants, etc,; and of course the normal Cameroonian venality and love for what we do not deserve.
6. Given manu's reputation and what he has done for our country, I think the minimum that the Post would have done was to either interview him or at least report his own side of the story which is found in Le Messager, Mutations, etc., and even on other Cameroon internet sites. This in the name of FAIRNESS
7. The Post is too big to go for sensational headlines like a local "journal a sensation". It has built its reputation on fair, balanced and objective journalism. Please keep it this way - Give Manu his due and correct this egregious mistake!!!!!!!!

Peter Sama

I happened to have listened to Manu's interview on RFI a couple of days ago, and I support the view of the previous writer. If anything, I blame Manu Dibango for allowing himself to be dragged into this decade-old mess by agreeing to the Government's appeal in 2003 that he become Board chair of CMC. He should have left Biya and his gang of thieves to clean up their mess. now his reputation is in tatters...

After giving it all to his country, after training some of the most prominent names in Cameroonian music; after serving as a role model to generations of Cameroonians; after putting Cameroon on the world map and humbly serving as an ambassador for his people, here is Manu, at the dawn of his life, being dragged in mud by Biya's band... And our own dear Post newspaper blindly serves as a platform for such despicable acts!!!!

As for Manu, one last word; Cameroon and its God forsaken people are not worth the trouble....

Njei Moses Timah

The logical thing to do is to allow this matter go to court. Unfortunately the social situation in Cameroon has so degraded to the point that credibility question marks are being placed at the end of court rulings. So the simple answer is to leave them chop as most of those raising voices now may just be looking for means to get on stage and chop. Ashia Cameroon.

Pascal Dikombo

Can we please try to peruse the paper before hastily drawing conclusions on objectivity? If we claim to be so objective, this very paper under the 'five francs question' attempts to venerate the very Manu Dibango you purport is being smeared. Isn't this some dose of journalistic objectivity? Let's be open minded, else we're blinded by emotions.


One more scam to reap the Cameroonian public of its resources, one more theft by Biya and his cronnies. Ambe, what role model do you think Manu is? When he stayed out of the country for more than two decades before coming to the country? During most of this period, Cameroon wasn't what it is today, having been spoiled by the vices of the Biya Regime. He must have returned back to eat his own share of the cake giving the fact that one of his first activity was to visit the various corrupt structures in Yaounde to ask for some kind of nomination. sama, i do not understand what you mean by Manu giving all to Cameroon. which Cameroon are you talking about?
As Africans, we should avoid humiliating ourselves each time we discuss issues about our continent. Our society is very corrupt and we should always acknowledge. Manu is presumably not velnurable. Giving the character of Cameroonians, even those abroad go for what they call a share of the cake.


So, if Manu is really part of the system, why does the system seek to destroy Manu now? The thieves tend to protect their own do they not? Their pattern is to turn against people with access to resources who are independent of them. So who do you trust? Perhaps Manu Dibango deserves to be interviewed. Comprehensively.

Rexon, Manu is an excellent role model for Africans in the diaspora. If you have read his autobiography, he attempted three times to move his activities back to Africa. If you have ever lived abroad, you would know how difficult that is. He tried to settle in Kinshasa (Leopoldville then), no go. Then Douala, terrible experience; then Abidjan (when it seemed it was an enlightened place). In his place, most people would never return to Africa. It did not work too. Read his autobiography. One should give him the benefit of doubt, because he deserves it.



"Dibango returned to Cameroon from Zaïre in 1963 to censorship, jealousy, and penury, and to repeated frustration and disappointment as an artist. But he was able to issue the album Nasengina, ‘his only piece constructed purely from the indigenous Cameroonian Makossa’. In Cameroon, although appreciated by ordinary people, Manu Dibango hated the fact that politicians who ‘certainly didn’t have the love of the people’, kept his artistic creativity under close surveillance. He was disenchanted with authorities that did not allow people ‘to fantasize’ and ‘to dream’, and who forced everyone to talk ‘in cautious whispers’ and to be ‘wary of everyone else’.16 In 1964, disappointed in ‘this harmful atmosphere’, Manu Dibango closed down his club, abandoned all dreams of opening a ‘musical conservatory’ or an ‘arts institute’, and ‘sneaked out of Cameroon’ to France, after barely 16 months of homecoming.

He would pay only brief return visits to Cameroon from the early 1980s onwards. His desire ‘to forge a unified image of Cameroon, representing all the musical currents in the country’18 received rare facilitation from the Minister of Culture who happened to be his friend, and ‘resulted in a three-record set, Fleurs Musicales du Cameroun’. However, his desire to project himself as ‘this famous Cameroonian musician heard everywhere but in Cameroon’, would be met with the same contradictions, making the air ‘unbreathable’ in this his ‘last African adventure’. He felt cursed that he ‘couldn’t create something here in Cameroon’, as every time he achieved something, an obstacle crossed his path, leading his wife to conclude: ‘You’d do more for Africa far away from her.’ Together with other expatriate African musical talents in France, Manu Dibango released Tam-Tam pour l’Ethiopie, which not only served as ‘proof that Africans too could take concrete action’ vis-à-vis their own predicaments, but the proceeds from the sale of which were personally taken to refugee camps in Ethiopia by Mory Kante and himself, to ensure that ‘For once, the money wouldn’t be misused by the government in power’. Manu Dibango’s music is much more appreciated abroad — as ‘world music’ — than in Cameroon, where many are critical of his failure to harness his art more clearly to local sociopolitical causes.

culled from: "Entertaining repression: Music and politics in postcolonial Cameroon" by Francis B. Nyamnjoh and Jude Fokwang [ "African Affairs", 104/415, 251–274 ]

Complete article available for download at:

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