By Wilfred Moki, Sunday Sept. 3, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Buea – At midnight Cameroon time on Friday September 1, Barrister Bernard Muna, and his Francophone counterpart of the Cameroon Bar Association Charles Tchoungang, issued a “Communique” in the French language alleging that they were acting on the behalf of recently released Barrister Agbor Balla and Dr. Fontem Neba.
The statement stated that Balla and Fontem, their former clients, were by the statement endorsing the resumption of schools on Monday September 4th, and equally encouraging parents to release their children for school. However, information reaching the Cameroon Journal reveals that Barrister Muna and Charles Tchoungang acted by themselves in putting out the statement. They made no consultations with Fontem and Balla.
Our source disclosed that Muna and Tchoungang did not even forward a copy of the statement to Balla and Fontem. The Cameroon Journal learned that Balla and Fontem got to know about it first only from our editorial of Saturday September 2 in which we asked them to respond to Muna’s statement.
At press time today Sunday September 3, they had still not been officially served with copies of the statement from Muna and Tchoungang. The Cameroon Journal learned that both Fontem and Balla didn’t get copies of it until Saturday September 2, around 11AM American time – the copies were rather forwarded to them from friends in the USA.
Dr. Fontem in particular, we learned, got very furious about the statement, strongly disassociating himself from the Muna statement and we gathered that his spokesperson will at 2AM American time today Sunday, September 3, issue a formal press statement dissociating Fontem from the Ben Muna statement.
A source closed to Fontem disclosed to the Cameroon Journal that both Fontem and Balla have not seen the lawyers for over a month and that for them to issue a statement crediting the duo is misleading. The source equally disclosed that until their release last week, Balla and Fontem had been separated and were not in touch with each other. Their phones too were seized and they were not constantly in touch in jail for the past two months. We are expecting a press statement from Dr. Fontem’s aides in a matter of hours.
It is not clear however, whether the statement from Fontem’s aides will be issued on the behalf of both Fontem and Balla. We are told that the statement will only represent what Dr. Fontem knows in regards to the Ben Muna statement.
On Saturday September 2, a source closed to Balla who spoke to the Cameroon Journal, however, would not endorse nor distant Balla from the Ben Muna statement. “Lead Counsel did what was supposed to be done as a response to their release. But for them, they will not make comments now. Let the leadership abroad continue to dictate and with time, we will see what options come up,” the source told the Cameroon Journal.
Asked whether Balla and Fontem are presently under any pressure from LRC to remain mute, our source said; “No, they have no pressure on them. The only pressure comes from the people who are eager to hear them encourage civil disobedience and other stances.”
For now, he continued, “they only have to be careful to prevent further arrest and situations that can keep Mancho Bibixy and others in prison. What will make sense now is, to also see some leaders abroad encouraging and giving their unending pledge of support to these men who have gone down to prison and out. Only few ever went through this.” The source said.
“I hope you took note of the fact that, the military court president raised article 14 of the new military code of justice, which says if any new elements or evidence emerges, they will be back in court and under arrest. So, there is a huge need for them to keep calm now, consult with all stakeholders before making any decisions.” The source told The Cameroon Journal.
The Cameroon Journal tried contacting Ben Muna at press time, but he won’t pick up the call. We had equally tried reaching him on Saturday on several occasions, – even sending him a questionnaire by text, but he won’t respond.