BY ATIA TILARIOUS AZOHNWI
Yaoundé authorities are finalising plans to arrest Professor Maurice Kamto and outlaw his Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM, party, following last week’s anti-regime protests, Communication Minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi has hinted.
Competent judicial bodies are closely reviewing the case of the CRM leader, said Sadi.
The government statement on Friday came hours after security forces arrested scores of protesters following an anti-government rally on Tuesday, the latest since the ‘disputed’October 2018 presidential election.
Kamto claims he won the polls, but official figures gave him 14.23 percent of validly cast votes. Biya, who has ruled Cameroon for 38 years, obtained 71.28 percent of the vote on the ticket of his Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM.
Along with several supporters and sympathisers, Kamto was arrested in Douala on January 28, 2019 during one of several protests against what they say is an “electoral holdup”. Charged by a military court with rebellion, insurrection and “hostility to the homeland”, Kamto and 101 others were freed on October 5, benefiting from a presidential pardon.
On August 24, Kamto, a 66-year-old lawyer by training, tweeted that, “Any convening of the electorate before resolving the Anglophone crisis and the consensual reform of the current electoral system, will automatically lead to the launch of a gigantic national campaign to call for the outright departure from power of Mr. Paul Biya.”
When on September 7 President Biya convened electoral colleges for the election of Regional Councillors, Kamto’s CRM and “the Coalition for Change” fixed the launch of anti-regime protests for September 22.
“The insurrection launched by the CRM political party on September 22, 2020, with the declared aim of toppling the institutions of the Republic, was a monumental failure,” said government spokesman Sadi. “The Government of the Republic would thus like to commend the maturity and sense of responsibility displayed by the overwhelming majority of the political class and the Cameroonian people. Indeed, by categorically rejecting this irresponsible adventure, they made a decisive contribution towards thwarting it.”
Sadi claims that the CRM has a “relentless desire to weaponize ethnicity and undermine the living together” so cherished by Cameroonians – an “insane agenda emphatically rebuffed by all sociological components of our Nation from North to South and from East to West.”
“The government urges Cameroonians to continue to demonstrate, anytime and anywhere, the tolerance and hospitality they are known for and not to blame the criminal actions of a handful of adventurers blinded by vaulting ambition, on any ethnic group,” Sadi said. “The government of the republic congratulates the Security Forces who, with professionalism and firmness, were able to resist provocation, maintain public order and ensure the safety of citizens and their property.”
Although Sadi failed to comment on claims that Kamto was (is) placed under arrest and allegations that government forces used excessive force on unarmed protesters, he admitted that “a number of arrests were made following the law enforcement operations launched to thwart the insurrectional agenda.”
Hear Sadi: “Some of those arrested, whose involvement in the CRM’s insurrection plan was deemed derisory, have been released. Others will also be released, depending on the outcome of ongoing judicial investigations.
“Some leaders and organisers of this insurrectionary adventure were also arrested and will answer for their acts before the courts of law. Others are wanted by security services for the same purpose.”
Ban on CRM only a matter of time
Aside hinting on Kamto’s imminent arrest, Sadi said the situation of the CRM party is under review by government.
His words: “The situation of the CRM political party, which for several years now, has put itself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons with activities that breach the peace that is so dear to Cameroonians, is also being closely reviewed by the Ministry of Territorial Administration.”
Atanga Nji Paul, Minister of Territorial Administration had threatened to take tough steps against potential demonstrators, who despite the COVID-19 situation in the country, seek to organize mass demonstrations challenging democratic institutions and fomenting unrest as Regional Elections are announced for December 6.
Certain attempts at foreign interference that have been detected for some time now are being seriously monitored by specialised services, said government’s spokesman in Friday’s statement.
“Collusion between the CRM and the tiny violent groups that ransacked Cameroon’s embassies abroad has now been established, and will be taken into account in the ongoing legal proceedings in Cameroon and in the friendly countries where the crimes were committed,” Sadi stated.
According to the Minister of Communication, President Paul Biya has constantly reaffirmed his attachment to dialogue and consultation in seeking for solutions to problems facing the country. “Similarly, he has always worked towards establishing peaceful democracy and a social situation conducive to the emergence and development of initiatives supportive of nation building and our country’s progress,” said Sadi.
“The Government of the Republic, nevertheless, stresses its determination to resolutely pursue its salutary action to defeat all internal and external attempts at destabilisation, with the support of the peace-loving Cameroonian people, jealous of its independence,” read the concluding paragraph of the statement from government.