Mimi Mefo Info Editorial
Three years after his arrest and detention, former Cameroon defence Minister, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o remains in the news, albeit for controversial reasons.
The recent news-making incident was his appearance in court, holding a glass of champagne.
This was captured in an image making its rounds on social media, which many have said is an attempt to slight the Biya regime, has been described by others as simply a continuation of his display of affluence and embezzled public funds.
He was detained in March 2019, later charged with embezzling public funds and other acts of corruption.
He has since had a series of challenges, including being attacked by inmates at the dreaded Kondengui prison where he is being detained.
Many had celebrated the arrest and detention, given his role in precipitating the collapse of the Cameroon polity and dragging the reputation of the nation in the mud.
He was a long-time sycophant of the inept Biya regime. He served in capacity of Minister of Defence for six years, and later as Minister of Transport.
Two of his sons were also reported to be involved in the corruption scandal: Jean Phillipe Ngo’o Mebe, who was First Assistant Senior Divisional Officer for Wouri, Littoral region and Lionel Mebe Ngo’o.
The latest image of the former minister trending online has been rightly categorised as an insult to suffering Cameroonians. There are many who believe the show of him living a lifestyle, they can only dream of, while serving a prison sentence, is further confirmation that the incarceration of the regime barons, is nothing but a façade.
To some, this could be a confirmation that justice has not been served and that the prison sentence, was simply a way of ensuring that he gets out of the public eye, without any severe consequences to his actions.
Mebe Ngo’o’s level of affluence and show off, only goes further to demonstrate the disparities in the Cameroon prison system, as well as the preferential treatment afforded inmates based on their social status, and more importantly, financial backing.
In the same facility, many have died due to torture and lack of adequate health care, with some chained to their deathbeds and others walking barefooted to court.
The level of liberty and privilege displayed by Mebe Ngo’o’s further lends credence to opinions that his arrest was more of a political statement, as he was becoming too powerful.
Others had tipped him as possible successor for long term leader, Paul Biya.
Like many others who found themselves in the same situation, he was sent to the Kondengui prison, or ‘the hole’ but unlike others who suffered cruel fates in prison, Mebe Ngo’o’s recent appearance is telling a different story.
The Kondengui principal prison is host to hundreds of political prisoners from all over Cameroon.
Among them are opposition leaders, former Ministers, activists and most recently, separatist leaders extradited from Nigeria.
To date, many have described conditions in there as ‘terrible’ which has resulted in the deaths of many inmates.
Mimi Mefo Info Editorial