For those who could not understand Mr. President when he decried the lack of coordination in government business in Cameroun, Boko Haram has now made things pragmatic and easy for them. Every sous-prefet is now a self-proclaimed head of government in their jurisdiction. They are taking inordinate, independent parochial decisions, banning this or that practice without the one knowing the other’s line of action. Every prefet even more! Let alone governors!
The law has never meant much for these mini-dictators ever. Much less now! Boko Haram has provided them the ideal platform – fertile pretexts! Therefore is it not uncommon to hear a governor declare shamefully and shamelessly that he will henceforth hold the head of a community responsible for the crimes of members of his community. The law of the land as all over the civilized world though is that there is no vicarious liability in criminal law: every offender answers personally for their crimes…
The Justice and Peace Committee of People’s Action Party – PAP – has received reliable information that the police made a swoop on Kumba market this morning and rounded up “more than 100” or “at least 300” men and women and took them to the police station. Asking to be allowed to lock up one’s store was branded as belonging to Boko Haram. Not any less asking to be allowed to search for and take along one’s identity card.
At the time of writing these words, the persons were still at the police station without food and water; or even the right to answer the call of nature. This is the Camerounese meaning of popular defence – the armed forces mistreating civilians with absolute official order, encouragement and/or connivance! … No-one seems to be able to think that estranging the people is inconsistent with popular defence, and can even lead to creating more Boko Harams instead. But are examples not legion of aggrieved persons damning the consequences and taking up arms directly in self-defence, or, at least, “crossing the carpet”!
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