The principle that French Cameroun political elites who are all militants and barons of the ruling CDPM crime syndicate in Yaoundé should not make representations to judges concerning court cases be it in the Yaoundé Military Tribunal or High Courts is a good one that has never been accepted by President Biya ever since he came to power in 1982.
Members of the French Cameroun judiciary pride themselves on their independence. But, because of the nature of their appointments’ system that is done by the head of state Paul Biya, there has been massive political input to decision-making that continues to fuel public suspicion of partiality.
The issue of judicial interference by politicians raised its head once again in the just ended trial of the Southern Cameroons leaders at the Yaoundé Military Tribunal. In the President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and the NERA 9 trial, French Cameroun politicians including the 86 years old President Biya all got sucked in.
Last night, President Biya dispatched a special envoy from Mvomeka’a to hand over the verdict he and his Beti-Bulu Council of wise men had written against the Ambazonian leaders. The team from Mvomeka’a got into the court premise at exactly 30 minutes after midnight and hinted the presiding judge Lieutenant Colonel Misse Njone Jacques Baudouine that they had come with a special message for him.
Lieutenant Colonel Misse Njone wrote a short note to the Biya emissary via the court clerk informing him that he would take a look at the document sent by the head of state when the court goes on recess. Our intelligence sources revealed that Biya attached a letter inside the document in which he drew Colonel Misse Njone’s attention to exceptional circumstances in the Ambazonia case.
After a short but bitter debate in their native Beti tongue with Colonel Misse Njone threatening to step down from the case, one of the secretaries to Minister Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh entered the court premise incognito and handed another sealed envelope addressed again to Colonel Misse Njone in which Biya and his gang had settled for a life sentence.
The Ambazonian leaders shouted and started singing in protest to the attitude of the French Cameroun Beti-Bulu judges and soldiers. Rather than listen to the Southern Cameroons leaders and adjourn the case for the Court of Appeals to decide on Recusal, they brought in a massive public address system with amplifiers that were very loud and while the Accused sang for about 7 hours running they called witness after witness till all 4 prosecution witnesses were heard.
The loud speakers blasted the evidence far even beyond the court premises. Even though the Southern Cameroons leaders were all abducted from Abuja, Nigeria and transferred to Yaounde, the French Cameroun judges brought in over 1000 dane guns, spears, machetes, knives allegedly seized from Ambazonia fighters and imposed them on the leaders and admitted it as evidence without their consent.
The sealed envelope from President Biya placed the judges in an uncomfortable position during yesterday’s trial. The judges had to abandon the 6 volumes of documents put together during the trial process, the least of which was about 700 pages and instead read out what was handed to them as coming from the presidency of the republic. The thousands of exhibits against the Ambazonia leaders were ferried out of the court room into a lorry and taken away.
The Francophone judges frustrated the Southern Cameroons lawyers and all of them withdrew from the case and Justice Colonel Misse Njone went ahead with the trial throughout the night till 5.38am in the morning when he handed down the French Cameroun verdict. After Justice Misse Njone read the ridiculous judgment, the Southern Cameroons leader delivered the Ambazonian National Anthem forcing the French Cameroun judges to hurry out of court having accomplished their mission.
President Biya’s involvement was inappropriate and raised the prospect that representations by French Cameroun senior political figures could influence a judicial decision. Foreign investors be aware!!
By Sama Ernest and Rita Akana in Yaounde