When journalists are in danger Cameroonians are unsafe!.



24/01/2023

It is a frightening alert that no Cameroonian is safe even in the capital city, which is supposed to be a fortified haven of security.

The recent victim was Martinez Zogo, a reporter in a radio station in Yaounde, Amplitude FM, who was reputed for exposing corruption in government and in the process incurring the wrath of those who have amassed illicit wealth and are using it to silence any critic who dares to expose them.

His brutal and inhuman murder has been condemned in the strongest terms by professional associations in Cameroon and around the world as well as by politicians and civil society activists.

Frontline opposition leader, Prof Maurice Kamto of Cameroon Renaissance Movement, MRC, in his reaction to the kidnapping and later murder, said it is "proof that every Cameroonian citizen is in total insecurity under the declining CPDM regime".

He was reechoed by another opposition personality, Hon Cabral Libii, Member of Parliament on the ticket of the Cameroon Party for National Renaissance, PRCN, who described it as “a shocking level on the scale of barbarity this regime has just been crossed.

“How can the lives of Cameroonians be held hostage for savage struggles for control of the opinions and heritage of this country? Who will be next on the list of victims of their dastardly war of clans?" Libii questioned.

On Twitter, renowned lawyer, Barrister Akere Muna, said it was “very horrifying by the kidnapping and assassination of journalist Martinez Zogo”.

“Integrity in our country has disappeared. Impunity is the rule. This land is losing its soul. The practice of dehumanisation that started in the North West and South West regions is now a modus vivendi. May God help us,” Barrister Akere added.

 

He noted further that: "It was Norbert Zongo and it shook his country. In Cameroon it was the television journalist, Samuel Wazizi, then now Martinez Zogo. I hold my breath”.

It goes beyond holding breath. It chokes civilisation and humanity of conscience when journalists are murdered and no one is held accountable given the preponderant role of the press in any country.

No one articulates that role better than Thomas Jefferson, a celebrated former president of the United States.

"The people are the only censors of their governors...The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter," Jefferson said.

That statement, engraved in gold, remains valid today around the democratic world of which Cameroon gropes to be among. But events are proving that the CPDM regime is far from respecting freedom of the press and the lives of journalists.

What investigations has the fledging security apparatus, with its acclaimed "professionalism", instituted to public knowledge? If the victim was in the North West or South West regions, would his murder not have been dismissed as the diabolic work of separatist fighters?

The reporter was kidnapped and slaughtered in Yaounde and leads are in the media to unveil the mask, concealing the suspected murders and accomplices.

There are media reports that Martinez Zogo was kidnapped using a Prado car. The reports explained that information from surveillance cameras on the Fougerole road to Soa, where the decomposed body was found, alleged that the vehicle was rented in Douala.

It is also alleged that the man who purportedly hired the car is supposedly working in a private security company.

Also very shocking is the allegation that the owner of the car rental agency “has also been murdered”. It seems a horrendous crime syndicate, but not hard to be dismantled by dedicated investigators.

We do not take the information for gospel truth, but what is beyond quibble is that surveillance cameras which are all over Yaounde won't lie and should give a clue to quickly apprehend the culprits and their paymasters.

Yesterday it was Samuel Wazizi. Today it is Martinez Zogo. Tomorrow it could be any other Cameroonian who steps on the sensitive and jigger-infested toes of those milking the state to a comatose with the vaunting notion that with their illicit wealth they can kill and go free.

The only option left now for the CPDM government is to prove that it cares and does not encourage such barbaric impunity, is to launch a judicial investigation into the murder of Zogo rather that the traditional "investigation" the government spokesman has announced, whose results are often not made public.

The murder should not cower journalists from their moral authority as the fourth estate of the realm. It should rather empower them as wounded lions to prove that the pen, in the words of English author, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, is mightier than the sword, and nothing can be hidden under the sun.

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