Thursday, November 11, 2010

Longue Longue and colonial machination: has Biya yielded to colonial dictat?

By Nyassah Julius - The true independence of a nation is not manifested by fanfare of Golden Jubilee celebration but by independence of spirit demonstrated by the leadership and the people of that nation.

Cote d’Ivore may not be able to spend lavishly on Golden Jubilee like Cameroon but it has greater reasons to boast of independence. More than Cameroon with only mere wealth. Attend a session of Cote d’Ivore Parliament and you would understand the point being made here.

One of the heated issues often debated in Cote d’Ivore’s Parliament is nationalism at the end of which it is generally agreed that France is the greatest enemy of the Ivorian people. But in Cameroon the French are still treated like semi-gods.

This explains why a French court can jail a renowned Cameroonian musician like Longue Longue and the government of Cameroon is silent about it. Otherwise, how can we explain the fact that President Biya has so far not at least tried to persuade the French to allow Longue Longue to serve his prison term in Cameroon if he can’t be released?

The musicians’ and lawyers have appealed but unless there is intervention of the Cameroon government, nothing will come out of it. The French have set the example in this domain of government intervention as the best method to secure the release of persons imprisoned justly or unjustly. That was in the case of some French nationals jailed not long ago in Chad for the alleged kidnap of some 100 children. The Chadian government handed the culprits to the French government under duress. Whether they were serving their term in France or not, is difficult to know and useless to inquire.

Longue Longue was sentenced to a 10 years imprisonment term on allegation that he raped the niece of a Cameroonian woman by name Mbassi who in principle is the Muscian’s wife. We say ‘in principle’ because as the story goes, the musician arranged a fake marriage with the said Mbassi music Icon in order to secure French citizenship and by that means enhance his musical career.

Cameroonians they are,should not be allowed to wash their dirty lenience in a foreign country. This also have a diplomatic impact on the relationship between the head of state and his citizen. But whereas to Longue Longue it was just one of those games smart people play to obtain foreign nationality, the woman actually considered him her husband. The lady was finding her love unreciprocated decided to frame the musician up.

Longue Longue’s supporters think that with his soaring popularity women are rather the ones dying for him and so he doesn’t need to employ rape to get a woman he needs. They argue that a 17 year old girl is not innocent and that it is possible if any sexual act took place that it was the young lady who seduced the musician.

Whichever, President Biya is expected to chase away the kite before scolding the chick which in this case is the subject. Besides Longue Longue, said very good things about Cameroon’s first lady, Chantal Biya. In one of his best songs he names Chantal as one of those whose destiny could not change and says she didn’t use magic to be where she is.

Longue Longue criticizes government’s policy on taxation in his song ‘Trop d’Impotstue Impost/To Many Taxes Kill Taxation’.

In a popular hit song ‘Privatization’ the musician kicks against government’s privatization policy and ends by advising against the possible sale of the Etoudi Palace/Le Palais de Tous les Camerouniase.

There is absolutely no malice in any of these songs which to the fair mind, is only a citizen’s way to caution against excesses in his country’s economic policy. If therefore, government grudges him for it and allows him to be devoured by wolves disguised as prosecutors, then it is unfortunate.

The neglect of Longue Longue has brought to the fore the whole idea of dual nationality and the Cameroon government’s double stands in dealing with it. When a Cameroonian with a foreign nationality, especially French nationality demonstrates loyalty to the New Deal Government he is praised, deified and protected.

But the moment he/she is seen to be either lukewarm or opposes to the regime that Cameroonian is despised and disowned. Three examples are enough to substantiate the point.

During the OAU submit in Yaoundé President Biya in extending the cultural virtue of Cameroon said Cameroon had produced great writers like Mongo Beti and Ferdinand Oyono. But when Mongo Beti returned to Cameroon declared for the SDF and was prepared to enter parliament on SDF’s ticket the regime disowned him saying the writer was not a Cameroonian but a French man since he had French nationality. Ferdinard Oyono hadn’t such a problem since he was Biya’s loyalist.

Roger Milla has French nationality. But since he has never opposed the Biya regime he is not only a darling of the Biya’s regime but is one of its pillars a roving ambassador.

Those who aren’t the regimes favourites books can’t count on the New Deal for Protection, for instance, long ago. Police (InterPol) agents stormed the Big Mankon Bamenda family compound of the Mubangs and arrested a Cameroonian with American nationality name Theresia Mubang mother of four.

She was alleged to have evaded taxes and tortured another Cameroonian a girl whom she took from Cameroon to the U.S Cameroonian authorities watched her being taken away to serve a 17 year jail term in the U.S. even if Longue Longue was not a supporter of the Biya regime he boosted Cameroon’s cultural image.

His sharpest attacks were directed at colonial masters who exploited Africa. Biya shouldn’t be seen as a stooge of the French bowing to their diktats. He should liberate Cameroon’s economy from the strangle hold of France. He should intervene to liberate the ‘liberator’.

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