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That Hon. Ayah’s Aborted Book Launch 

By Peterkins Manyong

Nature has a self-regulatory system. The eco-system attests to this. But for man’s irresponsible style of exploitation the world would have remained very much what it was on creation day. Reason why late Francis Ngwa Che said man is the only creature that the environment can do without.

Another demonstration of nature’s regulatory system is seen in the rat’s reproduction pattern. The rat flea, which devours other rats, hails from the same womb with the rats that it destroys. Every human system, including political structures, possesses this self-regulatory pattern. Every dictatorial system contains the ingredients of its own destruction, a hackneyed saying goes.

On Saturday, June 18, something really disheartening happened in Bamenda. A book launch for which an authorisation had been issued was disrupted by policemen led by Jean Pierre Koloko, the same Divisional Officer, DO, who had authorised it. Before championing the disruption, the DO had issued another authorisation annulling his previous authorisation.

The author of the book and chief organiser was Hon. Paul Ayah Abine, Member of Parliament and an aspirant for Cameroon’s Presidency on the ticket of the People’s Action Party, PAP. This was, however, not the first time the administration has prevented a book launch.

In 1991 the launch of ROTCOD GOBATA’s "The Past Tense of Shit" scheduled to take place in Yaounde failed after overzealous administrators and security operatives cordoned off the whole area. The regime could justify the ban of GOBATA’s book because of the fact that its preface was written by John Fru Ndi, then a terror to Biya, and the calibre of persons invited. These included Christian Cardinal Tumi and Simon Munzu of the All Anglophone fame.

Last Saturday’s event was an administrative novelty because, from all indications, it stemmed from no provocation whatsoever and was entirely void of the excuse of temptation. Because the DO, who contradicted his own authorisation, didn’t consider himself under any obligation to explain his conduct, commentators were left with no other source than the realm of speculation.

A manifesto bearing Hon. Ayah’s photo which were distributed for free provided ready material for the speculation. The photo bears the caption "Hon. Paul Ayah, Abine, Presidential candidate for the People’s Action Party (PAP). Behind the photo is a list of the PAP Presidential candidate’s landmark political achievements in English and French.

It recalls that Ayah was  the only CPDM parliamentarian who stood against the 2008 constitutional  amendment, which made Biya eligible for another presidential mandate; opposed the act of giving the President excessive powers enabling him to rule by ordinance and revise the constitution, granting himself immunity while in office and after leaving office.

Another achievement of Ayah in the manifesto is his stand against the allocation of FCFA 100 billion for fuel and mission allowances in the 2010 budget in spite of high youth unemployment.
He had stood against all forms of injustice and corrupt practices in the country without trading integrity for material wealth from those who have despoiled the nation.

Other achievements enumerated is his vision for Cameroon, his advocacy for development now and not in 2035 when those in authority in Cameroon may have died and gone. He has also come out with a clear vision for Cameroon and finally did what none of his contemporaries has done; declared his assets.

The MP, while resigning from the CPDM, had said he could not be part of a system where the Secretary General at the Presidency earns FCFA 2.5 million everyday when the average Cameroonian can’t afford two square meals a day.

Commentators argue that a book launch usually does not require an authorisation and if Ayah requested for one, it means he planned to do something besides; that that something is the holding of a rally to launch his political campaigns. Ayah is a legalist and does not take any step without weighing the consequences.

He had intended to launch his book "My Vision for a Born again Cameroon" at the Big Mankon Hall near St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral. This analyst learnt that the administration opposed it on grounds that the title and contents of the work were political. Mission ground was private premises and therefore unsuitable place for such an event.

Whatever reason may be advanced, the truth is that every move by Ayah scares the living daylights out of the Biya regime. Even before his resignation from the CPDM, Ayah was the "official anathema" as he describes himself. The choice of Bamenda for the launch was another source of panic for the regime whose fear of a Tunisian/Egyptian type rebellion in Cameroon increases with each passing day.

Whatever reason the regime may have for banning the book launch, it has exposed its soft underbelly as a chicken-hearted dictatorship. It lacked the courage to stop Cardinal Tumi from launching his own book. There is also no justification the regime gives for tele-guiding the launch of "Paul Biya: The People’s Call". That was in effect, the unofficial launch of campaigns for the 2011 presidential election.

The truth is that the ban of Ayah’s book was great publicity for him, as he told this analyst at Mondial Hotel where he received SDF Chairman, John Fru Ndi, and other prominent political figures. The Biya regime has clearly learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

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