By Soter Agbaw-Ebai
No journalist in Cameroon has done more to destroy President Biya’s Francophone Beti-Ewondo regime than the late Pius Njawe. During his time as publisher of Le Messager, Njawe used the power of his newspaper to strike the Biya government and its malicious policies. President Biya on many occasions had fired back at Njawe including regular detentions, seizure of many editions of his newspaper and subsequently teleguided a jail sentence for Njawe. Ever since Pius Njawe met his day, President Biya’s politics have taken precedence over freedom of the Cameroonian press.
Biya and his CPDM party’s direct control over the communication of fact are evil even on the worst interpretation of its effects on the Cameroonian people. The reasons giving by President Paul Biya on the slanting and suppression of news written by private media houses in Cameroon, ranges from plain fiction to the most absurd. Cameroon Concord understands that journalists continued to be subject to government harassment, concocted trials and convictions under criminal libel laws. Getting information about one’s government and those who lead is central and vital to any democracy. An informed public can sensibly carry out its obligation to shape economic and political institutions. President Paul Biya’s 31 years in power has strongly undermined the right of Cameroonians to public information. Mr. Biya’s constitution (old and new) and his judiciary have never backed a journalist to obtain government records and reports on its activities.
Cameroon Concord is predicting that if something is not done and done in a hurry to get President Biya out of office soonest, the Cameroonian private press may become a dead letter or it would end in the CPDM government telling the newspapers and magazines in detail what to print and what not to print. Seditious libel has greatly hampered public ability to learn about and criticize the actions of Mr. Biya and his Francophone Beti-Ewondo regime. The publications of statements critical of President Biya constitute seditious libel.
Truth in Biya’s Cameroon is not even a defense. President Paul Biya is simply considered by men like Martin Belinga Eboutou, Sultan Njoya, Nfon Mukete, Peter Agbor Tabi, Yang Philemon and Elvis Ngolle Ngolle to be above criticism. All what the CPDM and the Unity Palace wants is a press with a dull-gray uniformity. The letters made public by Marafa Hamidou Yaya indicates that deep within the CPDM strategy, the Cameroonian people do not have the right of access to all information in the hands of the government.
For 31 years, President Biya’s democracy has reduced the Cameroonian press to a CPDM propaganda tool by it’s given of too much power to security agents to censor facts and opinions. President Biya and his ruling CPDM crime syndicate lack respect for the values of individual personality. The Biya administration is operating on the assumption that the interests of all Cameroonians are identical with the interest and policies of the CPDM.
We of this publication are calling on the Cameroonian people to continue to support the Cameroonian private press in its battle against President Biya and his CPDM clique until Biya comes to reason that government of secrets needs a private press that searches.