Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cameroon’s Presidential Aspirant Paul Ayah under Mounting Persecution

     By AYAH Paul ABINE
When Akwaya gendarmes killed and wounded innocent villagers at Okerika on January 19, 2011, for the simple reason that they expressed their delight at Paul Ayah’s declaration to contest the upcoming presidential election in Cameroon, the heinous crime received little attention from the national and international communities. Nor was Paul Ayah taken seriously when he declared that there were instructions from high quarters, or, perhaps, from the highest quarters in Cameroon, that Paul Ayah’s activities should be disrupted at all times and at all levels.

 Before the dust could settle, however, a journalist of the State-controlled radio, CRTV, Buea, was suspended for granting Paul Ayah an interview over the news media in question. After the suspension, the journalist was promptly transferred to Northern Cameroon, some 2000 kilometres from where Ayah lives. That was in keeping with official instructions that Ayah should neither be heard nor seen on CRTV, even though Ayah pays monthly for the functioning of that media. This was soon followed by the banning of the launch of Ayah”s book by the Administration in Bamenda without any justification. It did not take a month before warders at Kondengui Prison were sanctioned for permitting Ayah to visit prisoners.

The persecution of Ayah goes far beyond the disrupting of his activities. Persons treating with him, let alone supporting him, are equally targeted. It is no news that the Vice President of the People’s Action Party-PAP-, the party Ayah joined after resigning from the ruling party, (Mr. Biya’s CPDM), was brought under sustained threats in Kumba until he fled Cameroon for Lagos in Nigeria for upwards of four months. And the Secretary General of the party reports that he has just been given a notice to quit the property where he lives on the ground that he belongs to the same party as Paul Ayah.

As the day of polling draws nearer, the persecution of Ayah and his relations has intensified. Government’s agents have been assigned to level hollow criminal accusations against Ayah for the Biya regime to use as a pretext to disqualify Ayah from standing election. A dependable official recently disclosed how a gendarmerie company commander in Northwest Cameroon has gratuitously written how some woman had told him that Ayah had sent a million francs for the purchase of arms for his side in the Messaga-Essimbi war. Unable to identify the said woman, the Biya agent is now intimidating woman after woman in a bid to procure some woman to hold herself out as the accuser.

Nor has the Biya regime relented in their persecution. Last Friday, August 12, 2011, Ayah was prevented from meeting prisoners in the New Bell Prison, (Douala), at the request of some prisoner in need of help. Aand Ayah’ campaign manager in English was recently prevented from taking part in a programme over CRTV, Buea. He had regularly been listed as a member of the panel. But upon discovering he was Ayah’s campaign manager, the presenter of the programme physically barred his entry into the studio.

That is called advanced democracy a la Camerounaise!

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