By DOH JAMES SONKEY
Things seem to be falling apart at the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms in Cameroon as members openly clash verbally with their hierarchy. A case of insubordination and outright objection was publicly manifested last May 9, 2019 at the Commission’s Head Office in Yaounde by the Vice Chairperson, Prof James Mouangue Kobila towards the Chairperson, Dr Chemuta Divine Banda.
Meeting in their 26th ordinary session, the Vice Chairperson brutally interrupted the Chairperson’s speech in which he was calling on the President of the Republic, Paul Biya to stop the bloodbath in the North West and South West regions. The Vice Chairperson shouting to the hearing of everyone present at the occasion asked the Chairperson “Are you speaking for the commission or for yourself? is it a right moment for the Chairperson to send such a message to the President of the Republic in an opening speech like this?” He was immediately corroborated by another member, Prof Atangana who shouted at the background in French “il faut nous consulter avant de venir prononcer un tel discours, mettez les journalistes dehors. Vous donnez l’impression qu’il y a une inaction du gouvernement” translated as; “you ought to consult us in the commission before coming to make such a speech. Send out all journalists. You give the impression that government is taking no action.”
They insisted to Dr Chemuta Divine Banda that “you are speaking for yourself because we were never consulted.”
In his address, Dr Chemuta Divine Banda called on both sides involved in the armed conflict in the North West and South West regions to drop their weapons and the President of the Republic, Paul Biya as “commander in chief of Cameroon Armed Forces who is highly known as Father of the Nation to give peace a chance by calling for an immediate ceasefire to stop the deadly fighting and solve the problem through honest dialogue that addresses the root causes of the problems.”
Despite what happened, Dr Chemuta Divine Banda vowed that “we shall continue to protect and promote human rights in Cameroon through observation, investigation and through recommendations calling on authorities and all Cameroonians to respect human rights. This year, we want to implant our services throughout the national territory.