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Monday, 11 August 2008


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Lapiro de Mbanga: The Emasculation of Cameroonians

Only in Cameroon, would an artist, political activist, local representative and voice of the people like Lambo Pierre Roger aka Lapiro de Mbanga; be arrested, tortured and detained indefinitely, and still not a finger raised from those he has fought for all his life.

Only in Cameroon , would a government descend to such lows; as arresting the people’s poet, the voice of the voiceless and representative of the downtrodden and concoct charges against him and still be sure that not a single Cameroonian would raise their voice. Yes, Only in Cameroon !!!

Only Cameroonians would look the other way, while the one man who has spent over 20 years fighting against a system of marginalization, exclusion, corruption, etc get arrested, barred from seeing his family, tortured and vilified by a regime without currency. Yes, only Cameroonians would allow Lapiro de Mbanga to rot in jail. As I write these words he is seriously ill in the Nkongsamba jail where he is being detained.

Only in Cameroon, can a handful of men, decide to amend the constitution and indefinitely hand the destinies of over 18 million people to a man, who has brought nothing but 25 years of misery to the same people. As Lapiro would say, « après 25 ans de gabegie, est-ce que somting fit changer? »

Yes, only Cameroonians! !! I can still remember how the people in Myanmar made sure to buzz like mosquitoes in the ears of the Military junta, until Su Su Nway’s was released. Yes, how long were we kept awake by the cries and struggles of the Myanmar people, pushing and shoving the rest of the world for her release? Don’t we still hear of Aung San Suu Kyi, even after this long? Yes, and Nway, had been an activist for a couple of years. Lapiro has been one all his life.

For the few days that Arundhati Roy was arrested by the Indian authorities, the nation came to a standstill and the citizens made it a point to rally the rest of the world and make sure she was released. That is how Indians would react. They decided to go to jail with her until her release.

Nelson Mandela has become the icon he is today, because the people of South Africa rallied for his release, and the ANC, the party to which he belonged made his the face and the name of the struggle. For 27 years, they didn’t not relent until he was released. That is why during his 90th Anniversary celebration two weeks ago, he made it clear that he owed everything to the people of South Africa and the ANC in particular. Would Lapiro be able to say the same of us in future?

Fela fought for the down trodden of Nigeria and was sure that he had the support of at least Kalakuta Republic , if not of the rest of Nigeria . Countless times he was arrested, and countless times he got all the support he didn’t ask for. Today, apart from Joe La Conscience, not one single Cameroonian artist has shown solidarity towards one of their own. Yes, the Fela of Cameroon has been abandoned by those he dug the trenches with. His own ‘complices dem for Mboko”. Yes only in Cameroon , would the junta arrest ‘Fela’ and we all go about our business as usual. In fact only Cameroonian men and women would watch in stupefying docility, at their own emasculation! !!

Is it not time we took our manhood back? Is it not time perhaps, that we took a long, long look at ourselves, our country and our responsibility towards that country?

When the people in Cameroon rose as one huge wave and made a strong statement, during the February protests, they were playing their part, and that led to the deaths of over a hundred. It is understandable then, the intimidation they have been subjected to on a daily basis by Biya and his acolytes. The people are being brutalized, tortured and killed, without fear of reprisals.

The Fundamental Role of Cameroonians in the Diaspora

But what about Cameroonians in the Diaspora? Are we totally ignorant of what is happening at home? Have we finally found a way to completely disconnect with the country of our birth? Well, one thing is certain, the responsibility now lies with each and every single Cameroonian residing outside the country to play their own small role and expose the junta we have been subjected to. A junta that has turned us into nothing but chess pieces; In Constitution Constipée Lapiro says:

Toute manipulation arbitraire de cette constitution

Est une menace contre l’intégrité de la nation toute entière

Tous les Camerounais ne sont pas d’un même parti

Tous les Camerounais ne sont pas des politiciens

Et les Camerounais de la Diaspora ne sont des Camerounais entièrement appart

Car, la vie de tout ce monde compte.

We therefore have a duty to ourselves and our country to act, and to act now! That action must start with the liberation of Lapiro de Mbanga.

If we can lobby for McCain/Obama, debate Zimbabwe , study China , support English league clubs, the least we can do for our country is be responsible citizens. For once we have to pull our resources together and challenge the junta in Yaoundé. Show them that if we do not act, it is not because we are stupid. It is time to prove them wrong, and what better way than to defend the people champion at his hour of weakness?

Nothing you do in your county, town, city, province, country of residence is too small. Write petitions, lobby governments, stage protest marches, send memos, anything, everything, that would draw attention to the plight of our people, and what better subject than Lapiro de Mbanga. Let us prove Lapiro right, when he says “And Cameroonians in the Diaspora are Cameroonians not totally apart”. Let us synchronise our efforts world wide and make sure to act as one big unstoppable Tsunami. Let us act now.

Fon M'ndere


new varsity? YES!!!GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN!!!

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