The Colbert Factor
I Am Mimi Mefo
This reflection is inspired by the fact that one does not get left-handed at old age as less than 24 hours after President Biya swore an oath to promote and protect the rights and dignity of women and youth during his new Seven years mandate, his lieutenants just proved to him that he was on the wrong side of history by not only arresting Mimi Mefo, young female journalist who only demanded to do her job but also by brutally handcuffing her as if she was a vulgar criminal.
It is the more informed by the fact that although repressive regimes think they could silence journalists and writers through victimization, intimidation, and suppression of their fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression, they only end up upgrading journalists’ commitment to fighting for what is right.
It is also inspired by the fact that although it is a truth universally accepted that angering those in power has consequences and that Mimi Mefo’s arrest and detention is a strong warning to journalists and activists to be quiet, authorities have failed as journalists and activists may be speechless for now but cannot be rendered voiceless for long.
There are enough jurisprudential evidence and support to the effect that Mimi Mefo’s arrest and detention last November 7, 2018, was more of a premature arrival of the future. She had been on the watch list of security agencies long before the unfortunate killing and subsequent reports of the American Baptist Missionary in Bambili a few weeks back. It can, therefore, be concluded that her being linked to a ‘bias’ report accusing Cameroon military of killing the American Baptist missionary is more of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
And the question to ask is: What if Mimi Mefo was wrong in her attribution of blame even as journalistically speaking, she was simply making reference to another news source? Are the facts not correct that an American Baptist missionary was killed in Bambili, outskirts of Bamenda? Are the facts not correct that he lost his life during a crossfire between separatist fighters and regular government forces? Did Mimi Mefo not make reference to Defense Minister’s communique attributing the killing to amba fighters? Between government and amba fighters claims over the killing, which truth is a lie, to paraphrase Newswatch’s Eugene Ndi?
Why much bruhaha over this particular report of Mimi Mefo? Who came after CRTV journalists some months ago for broadcasting that the Discipline Master of GBHS Kosala in Kumba was murdered by amba fighters when only a week after police reports revealed that it was the results of a love affair turned sour? Who came after Communication Minister a year ago when he declared that some tourists in the South West were kidnapped by amba fighters and later rescued by Cameroon forces, yet the tourists themselves debunked the claim? Who came after Territorial Administration Minister who some months back declared over Cameroon Calling that separatist fighters were killing innocent Cameroonians and cooking for food when it was, in fact, the making of a Nigerian film?
Why is the government so jittery about Mimi’s reporting of the American Baptist missionary? Why was government reaction less when media was awash with reports to the effect that the military was responsible for the shooting to death of Rev Father Sop near Muyuka? Why did government react less when it was reported that the military might have been responsible for the killing of a Ghanaian Pastor in Batibo country? What about Mama Frida, Ndongmo’s mother in Belo? What about Menka, Pinyin? What about the brutal killing of a seminarian in Bamessing, Ndop, and the wounding of one in Njinikom? What about… What about..
While saluting Mimi Mefo’s courage against unfairness, I dare to say like Socrates that ‘we can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark but the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of light ‘.
As a young upscale journalist, Mimi Mefo had done her best to make society better than she met. The number of awards she received from professional organizations on objectivity and balanced reporting attest to that. Lending her voice to the voiceless and the oppressed has been the hallmark of her reporting.
Rather than discourage journalists, her detention should strengthen the desire for freedom of expression in the larger Cameroon. Those who are against freedom of expression should not be seen as part of the progression of society and should be discouraged by all means necessary. Journalists and writers play a noble role and should be allowed to work without fear. If we do not stand up against this monster, it would consume all of us.
Mimi Mefo is a movement for a free and liberal society and not just freedom for journalists but freedom for ALL. The injustice being done to Mimi Mefo is not only to her but to the whole of the Cameroonian society.
Like Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was brutally assassinated in Turkey, the detention of Mimi makes Cameroonian journalists speechless, but let it not render us voiceless. We owe it as a duty to Mimi and Jamal.
The Muteff Boy’s Take