Saturday, October 5, 2019

CONFIDENTIAL: Revelations on negotiations between Biya and Kamto

Few hours after the release of Prof. Maurice Kamto and his allies, much more is known about the negotiations that led to this happy ending. 

According to the revelations of our colleagues of the online newspaper, the President of the Republic Paul Biya sent two emissaries to the leader of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC) at the central prison of Yaounde commonly known as Kondengui. These emissaries had the mission to negotiate the release of Prof Maurice Kamto.

Below the revelations of YOUNG AFRICA 
Maurice Kamto was released this Saturday, October 5 after eight months of detention, Paul Biya having announced "decided to stop the prosecution" against him. Another 90 people, arrested for challenging the results of the 2018 presidential election, must also recover their freedom. 
Maurice Kamto is free. The president of the Yaounde military court pronounced Saturday (October 5th) the abandonment of the charges against the leader of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC), his political allies as well as his militants, incarcerated for having participated in the white marches contesting the result of the presidential election of 2018, after which Paul Biya was re-elected for a seventh term.
The decision of Paul Biya 
In total, 90 people were relaxed this Saturday. "I decided to stop the prosecution of some leaders and militants of political parties, including the MRC, arrested and detained for acts committed in connection with the challenge of the results of the recent presidential election," wrote the the Cameroonian head of state, in a short statement. 

Among the prisoners who have regained their freedom are Michèle Ndoki, Alain Fogué, Christian Penda Ekoka, Paul Eric Kingue and Albert Dzongang, MRC executives close to Maurice Kamto. They were greeted by an impressive crowd, massed at the entrance of the Yaoundé military court since early morning. 
Intense negotiations 
This release of the Cameroonian opponent is the result of several days of negotiations behind the scenes. It all began in mid-September, at the initiative of the Etoudi Palace.

Two emissaries contacted Maurice Kamto, arrested on 26 January following a demonstration held in Douala, and since detained at the main prison in Yaoundé. 
The two personalities were carrying a proposal for a way out of the crisis involving the widening of the opponent in exchange for the latter's commitment to refrain from challenging the re-election of Paul Biya during the presidential elections of 7 October 2018. 

Maurice Kamto agrees to receive them, but immediately poses a prerequisite for initiating a dialogue with the emissaries of Biya. He excludes further discussion if the prosecution should only benefit him, and not his companions in the coalition around his candidacy. 

After several trips back and forth between Kondengui Prison and the Presidential Palace, the emissaries pass on the good news. Paul Biya agrees to release Michèle Ndoki, Alain Fogué, Christian Penda Ekoka and Albert Dzongang. 
The discussions were more complicated regarding Paul Eric Kingué. The government tried to keep the fiery former campaign director of the MRC candidate in detention during the last presidential election.

Some caciques did not digest the threats of the former mayor of Njombé-Pendja, who was - already - sentenced to life after his alleged participation in the riots of 2008, before being acquitted after seven years of detention by the Supreme Court. Finally, it is the entire staff of the MRC who was released. 

Maurice Kamto also sought the release of Anglophone leaders, including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, the self-proclaimed president of "Ambazonia", but also the former secretaries general of the presidency, Jean-Marie Atangana Mebara and Marafa Hamidou Yaya, to "lower tensions and bring calm," according to one of his relatives. 


Among the fellow detainees of the Cameroonian opponent, only Penda Ekoka and Alain Fogué seemed aware of the ongoing negotiations with the presidency. In informal conversations with Jeune Afrique, however, Albert Dzongang released this enigmatic formula: "They have no choice, they will have to release us soon. Without specifying further. 
Currently abroad, the wife of Maurice Kamto has for its part made the choice in recent days to respect a strict media silence. However, we know that since Friday evening, an army of cooks are busy at the residence of Maurice Kamto to prepare for the celebrations of his release.
The "Anti-Sardinian Brigade" 
During their arrests in January, police fired "non-lethal bullets" at RCN activists, including lawyer Michelle Ndoki. 

Following these events, diaspora activists, grouped together in an organization called "Anti-Sardinard Brigade", in reference to the sardine boxes distributed during the meetings of the ruling party, had sacked the Cameroonian diplomatic representations. in Paris and Berlin. Maurice Kamto, accused of provoking these disturbances, has always denied any implication in the activities of this organization.