By Gilbert Aman
The Lawyer of detained Cameroonian politician has decried what she described as gross Injustice on her clients from State Prosecutors. Barrister Alice Kom told National Telegraph, Tuesday January 15, 2019 in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital.
She also revealed her client is currently under Intensive Medical Care at the Yaoundé General Hospital following a malaise he suffered at his detention cell at the Kondengui Maximum Prison in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, Saturday January 12, 2019.
Pierre Kwemo, Mayor of Bafang, a town in Upper Nkam, a Division in Cameroon’s West Region has been in detention in Yaoundé since Friday, January 11, 2019. The Mayor has been charged with Depredation in Band by the Mfoundi High Court, a court in the Center Region of Cameroon.
However, his Lawyer, Barrister Alice Kom, insisted to National Telegraph the case against her client is politically motivated by the ruling CPDM Party. The Lawyer argued that political opponents want to keep him off the way ahead of upcoming Municipal Elections in Cameroon.
She argued that her client committed the crime for which he is held, but attested Kwemo proceeded nine years ago to the liquidation of a small enterprise found in the East Region of Cameroon, in his then capacity as tax councillor, after a decision from the Biya government demanded so.
She also wondered why Pierre Kwemo should be the only person detained while the accusation of Depredation by Band included three persons especially with his client’s capacity as former Member of Parliament, sitting Mayor and a successful businessman that could guarantee his freedom while investigations are being carried out.
In a statement issued by the Mayor’s party, The Union of Socialist Movements (UMS) accused the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Laurent Esso of being the author of the legal troubles of its National President, Pierre Kwemo.
He was charged with Depredation by Band following article 236 of Cameroon Penal code by Justice Barbara Messoung M Ndema, an Investigating Judge at the Mfoundi High Court, Barrister Alice told National Telegraph. Joseph Tchungno, the Communication Secretary of the UMS Political Party, shamed the State, declaring the Mayor a victim of a “truncated indictment ” with an unacknowledged purpose of depriving him of his freedom”
According to corresponding sources, the judiciary has reopened a file dating nine years ago on a complaint by a certain Jean-Claude Andze. The latter accuses Pierre Kwemo an approved CEMAC Tax Councillor and buyers of his land, Kontchou and Peughouia of destruction of private property (Building and furniture) in a neighborhood in Yaoundé.
On Monday January 14 and Tuesday January 15, 2019, inhabitants of the Bafang, supporters of the Mayor and members of his UMS political party took to the streets, demanding the unconditional release of Pierre Kwemo.
Speaking on behalf of the commercial motor bike riders, Difor Ebenezer said the bike riders in the area will vote Pierre Kwemo as Mayor in the upcoming Municipal Elections even if the government fails to release him. Bike riders and the local population see his arrest and detention as politically motivated.
His party supporters see the Mayor’s case as political witch-hunt, linking it to similar cases in the past like the clash with the former CPDM Mayor of neighboring Bana Council, Kadji De Fotso in 2014. Pierre Kwemo had led his UMS political party to victory in the Bana Municipality, after the September 30, 2013 Municipal Elections against the CPDM party, patronised by his archrival, Kadji Defosso.
He supported the CRM party, which came second in the October 7 2018 Presidential Election. He clashed with the then Minister of Economy Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Moutaze who wanted to use Law No. 2004-18 du 22/07/2004 against him to no avail.
In Central Bafang, men, women and the young children chanted slogans like “Free Pierre Kwemo” “Do not hinder our development ” “We are in a state of law”. With hands on their heads, some with placards and others with hands on their waists, they demonstrated for the release of the Mayor.
Protests were also recorded in the town of Loum, Moungo Division, Littoral Region, where his football Club, UMS FC is based. The Mayor is a renowned business tycoon in the area, National Telegraph has learned. The protesters have vowed to ground activities until Pierre Kwemo is released. There are fears the peaceful protest might gain sympathy and even go violent considering the health situation of the Mayor.
Eric Tataw for National Telegraph, USA
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