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Biya Mocks Critics Of Anti-Terrorism Bill 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

President Paul Biya has made nonsense of the avalanche of criticisms on the recently adopted law on the suppression of terrorism, qualifying critics as ill-intentioned people.

“It is far from serving as a pretext for restricting civil liberties, as claimed by some ill-intentioned people,” Biya stated in his traditional end-of-year message to the nation.

The statement was a tacit reply to the opposition and civil society groups that roundly rejected the law, qualifying it as a lethal instrument for the suppression of civil liberties.

When the bill was adopted in Parliament by the overwhelming majority of the ruling CPDM Members of Parliament, MPs, critics called on the President of the Republic not to promulgate such a controversial bill into law. The SDF Parliamentary Group called on Biya, to, for once; hearken to the aspirations of the people by sending the bill back to Parliament for a second reading.

While commenting on the issue in an interview with The Post, the Secretary of the SDF Parliamentary Group, Hon. Evaristus Njong, said the second reading of the bill would have given MPs an opportunity to completely abrogate Article Two of the law that remains an affront to civil liberties in the country. Hon. Njong, MP for the Boyo constituency in the Northwest Region, said the so called anti-terrorism law will instead fuel terrorism because it is an infringement on the fundamental liberties of Cameroonians.

One of the civil society organisations in Yaounde, Dynamique Citoyenne, equally carried out a public demonstration in front of the office of the Divisional Officer for Yaounde at Efoulan recently.

Despite the upsurge of such criticisms, President Biya went ahead and promulgated such a controversial bill into law last December. According to Biya, the upsurge of acts of terrorism along the country’s borders made the enactment of that law inevitable.

“The growing threats on our borders have prompted us to take measures to safeguard against their effects on our internal security. Such is the purport of the law on the suppression of terrorism which Parliament recently passed by a large majority”.

Biya said the law was Government’s resolve to protect citizens from any form of aggression. He said the United Nations Organisation and several big powers particularly the United States of America, Germany France, Russia and China were backing the law on terrorism.

Despite these claims, there is a growing spectre of a situation where Government will use the law on the suppression of terrorism to crack down on citizens who would be exercising their rights to carry out street demonstrations. Observers hold that even when the law on terrorism did not exist, administrators were using certain provisions of the 1990 law on freedom of associations to stop public demonstrations. There is fear that the situation will be worse, since they will be using Article Two of the law on terrorism to suppress any form of anti-Government protest. It became an unwritten law in Cameroon that only public demonstrations that are organised to issue motions of support to President Paul Biya are allowed to hold. Any public demonstration that civil society groups organise to protest against injustice is quickly termed a threat to public peace and is prohibited by overzealous administrators.

    One Response to Biya Mocks Critics Of Anti-Terrorism Bill

    1. pntutin

      This new law of President Biya is simply an excuse to take away freedom of speech from Cameroonians. I wonder who is the terrorist in this case. Cameroonians, “Nous sommes Charlie”.


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