*Summoned, the administrator fails to appear in Court.
*But matter heard and ruling billed for March 25
By Christopher Ambe
|Mola joh Litumbe|
Mola Njoh Litumbe, 86, and Chairman of Liberal Democratic Alliance(LDA),a Buea –based political party, who was recently placed under “house arrest”, after his declared press conference was banned by the Divisional officer for Buea, Chekem M. Abraham, has dragged the latter to the Fako High Court in Buea.
Mr.Litumbe wants the Court to determine :1) “Whether any Divisional Officer, or Divisional Officer for Buea, can lawfully place a ban on a political party or more particularly the Liberal Democratic Alliance, preventing it from holding a public press conference after the political party has filed a declaration to that effect as required by Law No. 90-55 of 19 Dec.1090
|Chekem Abraham:Buea DO|
II) “ Whether the Defendant (Mr. Chekem Abraham) can deny or lie that he did not unlawfully ban the announced public press conference organized by the plaintiff Njoh Litumbe) in strict conformity with the law”
Barrister Blaise Sevidzem Berinyuy Esq, Counsel for Plaintiff Njoh Litumbe, in his application to the Court said, were the court to answer the above questions in the negative, the plaintiff would seek the following reliefs:
a)For the Court to declare null and void the ban placed by defendant on the plaintiff from holding a public press conference at their party headquarters on 23 rd February 2013
b) An order directing the defendant not to prevent the plaintiff from conducting public meetings and press conferences when re-scheduled and declared in accordance with the law
c) An order of compensation against Defendant in favour of the plaintiff
When the matter came for hearing last March 11, the DO for Buea, Chekem Abraham, who was reportedly duly served to appear in court failed to do so, and sent no explanation for his absence.
The presiding judge Chi Valentine went ahead and heard the submissions of Barristers Blaise Sevidzem and Ajong Stanislaus, counsels for the plaintiff and the matter was adjourned to March 25 for ruling.
It would be recalled that, armed troops( police and gendarmes ) from about 7am to 6:PM on Saturday February 23 placed Mola Njoh Litumbe under what many likened to a house arrest .
It was the third time Mola Njoh was placed under house arrest by the local administration in Buea
Mola Njoh, also widely known as Anglophones’ rights campaigner and some relatives of his who had passed the night in his residence and were planning to attend a funeral were trapped in the residence. The troops said they were instructed by the DO to block the entrance of the house, so that nobody could get in or out.
Mola Njoh was prevented from coming out of his gated Bokwaongo-Buea residence ( a section of which also serves as his party’s headquarters) after he had notified the Buea Local Administration as required by law three days earlier about his intention to hold a press conference .
The theme of the press conference was “Electronic Voter Registration and other recent political development”
But upon receipt of the notification from Mola Njoh, the DO, Abraham Chekem, banned the press conference on grounds that Mola Njoh was not explicit on what he meant by recent political developments.
Mola Njoh challenged the ban saying it was uncalled for -especially as he had, in his letter to the DO, requested him to send a representative to attend the press conference as required by law.
Despite the fact that Mola Njoh was placed under house arrest and journalists prevented from having access into the LDA conference hall, the press conference still held.
The journalists agreed to hold a tele-press conference, and since the telephone line of Mola Njoh was not cut off, they drove away into a business center in Molyko and using a phone put on speaker they asked questions to Mola Njoh and got responses.
Addressing journalists, Mola Njoh, regretted police men and gendarmes surrounded his compound.
He said the press conference was intended to advise Cameroonians especially Southern Cameroonians to get enrolled in the current electronic registration, which minimizes fraud and multiple -voting .He said massive registration will provide people with various grievances to choose the right candidates who will defend their interests in council, parliament or Senate.
First Published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon ,of March 22,2013