'If Mr. Paul Biya is still President of the Republic today, it is thanks to an illegal modification of the constitutional provision' - Cameroonian Journalist Tells Trump In His Open Letter

REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN CAMEROON / OPEN LETTER BY THE CAMEROONIAN JOURNALIST MICHEL BIEM TONG TO DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDE...



REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN CAMEROON / OPEN LETTER BY THE CAMEROONIAN JOURNALIST MICHEL BIEM TONG TO DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, WASHINGTON, D.C

Mister President,
On September 20th 2017, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, you invited African heads of state to take part in a working dinner. Most of them were democratically elected heads of states of countries where alternation in power is established and respected. Some political analysts, however, have seen in your gesture a strong signal against African dictators who cling to power at the expense of the will of their people to resign.
Mister President,
This open letter that I address to you is a cry deep from the heart of a Central African country which is: Cameroon. This cry is undoubtedly that of millions of Cameroonians who since November 6, 1982 bend under the heavy weight of a dictatorial and bloodthirsty regime.
Yes, Mr. Paul Biya’s regime is a totalitarian regime that has ruled through endemic terror for the past 35 years and crushes mercilessly any democratic claim or public demonstration against police brutality, lack of freedom of speech and other issues in blood. The recent events that took place on October 1, 2017 in the English-speaking area of ​​Cameroon are a perfect illustration of this.
While thousands of protesters came out that day to proclaim symbolic independence from French-speaking Cameroon, the government used law enforcement and defense forces to crack down on these peaceful marches that took place in several localities in the English-speaking part of the country of Cameroon.
According to the Network of human rights defenders in Central Africa, the death toll was at least 100 murdered ordinary Cameroonians and the wounded in the thousands. Your State Department released a statement condemning these atrocities in the strongest of terms.
Before the blood of the dead was even cleaned off the streets, it is needed to be said again that the Anglophones of Cameroon are only claiming their right to self-determination (which was denied to them by the UN and England in 1961) following constitutional hold-ups orchestrated by the first Cameroonian president Ahmadou Ahidjo and then his successor Paul Biya, who unilaterally questioned the federalist form of the Cameroonian state created on October 1, 1961.
Mister President,
If Mr. Paul Biya is still President of the Republic today, it is thanks to an illegal modification of the constitutional provision on the limitation of the presidential terms in April 2008. Paul Biya, then, gave himself a seven-year term in 2011 – and will probably renew that illegal mandate in 2018 – this illegal modification is completely illegal because the revision of the Basic Law violated one of its provisions which required that no form of revision of the constitution should undermine democratic principles. And one of the principles that has been questioned in this case is alternation in power. Does the United States want to continue to tolerate such a criminal regime that stand against everything your great country stands for?
Civil society and opposition actors in Cameroon are muzzled and live under a climate of persecution. All public meetings or events organized by opposition parties and local NGOs are prohibited by the authorities. The NGO Dynamique citoyenne has had several bitter experiences, as have the opposition parties who were planning to demonstrate on October 21, 2017 in Duala to express their solidarity with the English-speaking minority.

Embroiled in a vicious circle, the Cameroonian citizen has no choice but self-censorship, resignation and no faith in the word of the government. Especially since his vote in the elections counts only for butter. The Cameroonian president has arranged for him only and his one- party state, the Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian people (CPDM), to win elections: the body in charge of the management of the elections is constituted by a large majority of the members of Paul Biya’s party, the law electoral campaign is tailored to fits its inept regime in perpetuity.
Mister President,
In addition to being a country ruled by an authoritarian regime, Cameroon is also known to house Gulags for its political prisoners. In its latest report on the state of human rights in Cameroon, the US State Department acknowledged the existence of political prisoners in the country.
The former Minister of Territorial Administration, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, is the only one who has been repeatedly cited by the US State Department as a political prisoner. The latter, for denouncing Paul Biya’s desire to confiscate power, for having entrusted his presidential ambitions to American diplomats posted in Yaoundé was arrested, thrown in prison, tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison for financial malfeasance without any shreds of evidences.
Marafa Hamidou Yaya is not the only political detainee in Cameroon because there are others identified by the NGO Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CL2P), a civil society organization based in Paris, France that defends the cause of political prisoners in Central Africa. They are former Prime Minister Inoni Ephraim, former ministers Jean Marie Atangana MebaraUrbain Olanguena AwonoPolycarpe Abah Abah, businessman Yves Michel Fotsoand chief executives Iya Mohamed and Zacchaeus Forjindam.
They are all jailed for 5 to 10 years on the basis of ridiculous and phony motives called misappropriation of public funds, these former senior state clerks are in fact victims of their charisma, competence and integrity that led Paul Biya and some members of his family to consider them as too ambitious. This small family circle that holds and wants to confiscate power in Cameroon has created a special criminal court in 2011 that they manipulate to keep Cameroonians perceived to be a threat to their regimes in jail as long as possible despite having no real judicial record to speak of. Other former ministers were forced to flee to Western countries fleeing such politico-judicial persecutions. These are Dieudonné Ambassa Zang and Essimi Menye.
The current Anglophone crisis has also produced about fifty political prisoners including Mancho Bibixy, the most emblematic of them. The latter are still tried before the military court for « terrorism ». Not to mention the notary Abdoulaye Harrisou and businessman Aboubacar Siddiki, accused of wanting to form a rebellion. A legal fiction that actually targeted Marafa Hamidou Yaya.
Mister President,
Faced with a regime that despises human being, in the face of a regime that manipulates weak minds, who terrorizes, who threatens, who imprisons for a yes or a no, who tortures and who kills, what must the Cameroonian do if the international community remains silent? What should the Cameroonian do in the face of a totalitarian drift if it is not to beg the first world power the earth ever know which is the United States for a right of humanitarian interference?
It worth pondering, consequently, will the United States and the international community continue to look with a complacent eye as the Cameroonian regime keeps taking millions of Cameroonians hostage just to rob ordinary Cameroonians of their mineral and oil resources? Is it because Cameroon is supposed to be a Sovereign state? The answer being negative, it is up to you with regard to the foregoing, to draw the necessary consequences.
Michel Biem Tong

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