The Press caught up with Ayah Paul in Yaounde during the installation ceremony of 15 members of PAP Yaoundé 5 executive bureau. The press exploited the opportunity to get AYAH’s stance on certain burning national issues:
- On Presidential Pardon for Lydienne Eyoum
Justice AYAH chided president Biya for heading to pressure from the French president. He wondered aloud whether Cameroon was still a dependent state. AYAH said Cameroon has ratified international instruments providing for the automatic submission of court orders, and for equal protection of the law. He blames Biya for defying international court’s ancillary order to dialogue with southern Cameroonians. And for ignoring the order of an international tribunal that Atangana Mebara should be released and paid 400 million francs for false imprisonment.
“…Which international instrument makes the case of the lawyer prisoner a matter sui generis? The muddle of a model judicial system?…” Lord Justice questioned.
2. Release of Marafa:
Quizzed by the Guardian Post if he would release Marafa given that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has requested for the release of Marafa, AYAH said if he had the opportunity to, he would release those he termed ‘political prisoners’ upon having studied their files on a case by case basis. The Advocate General of the Supreme Court lamented that files on criminal prosecution are not sent to his desk for his legal opinion. So far, he’s been working only on civil cases.
3. Penal Code:
AYAH Paul insisted that the bill that was sent to parliament had no immunity for ministers. He took time off to explain the spirit behind and the historical origin of section 127 of the Penal Code. Hear him; “Southern Cameroons (and de facto West Cameroon) were a parliamentary democracy. As part of the de facto federation of 1961 (West Cameroon and the Republic of Cameroun), “West Cameroon” had a government comprising ministers (called “secretaries of state”) that were primarily members of parliament. In other words, a person could not be appointed minister (“secretary of state”) until he has been elected a member of parliament.
Upon election as a member of parliament, the person automatically acquired immunity. That immunity he continued to enjoy the fact that he was subsequently appointed minister notwithstanding. That surely was the spirit of Section 127 of the penal code when it was enacted in 1967.”
AYAH lamented that other issues that mostly concerned the common man on the streets were not sufficiently debated namely the sections on homosexuality and that of tenant-landlord relationship. In his opinion, Biya’s new Penal Code legalizes homosexuality in Cameroon as the 20,000 frs fine does not constitute a serious sanction. He regretted that by dint of the passing of that bill to law, most Cameroonian students are potential prisoners.
3. Supreme Court Appointment:
On whether he’d not compromised by accepting the post of Deputy Attorney General of the Supreme Court, AYAH Paul Abine took the pains to explain that there are three arms of government and that he would never do the bidding of president Biya to the detriment of justice.
4. Retirement from Civil Service:
However, talking to Guardian Post, the PAP Chairman says that though he is due to retire in December, he will gladly stay on as Magistrate if President Biya still requires his “services”. Contrary to the public opinion that Ayah had gone into retirement before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, the PAP chieftain insisted that he had not yet gone on retirement. He said he was on detachment to the National Assembly for eleven years when he was MP and returned to his ministry of origin – Ministry of Justice – when his stay in parliament came to an end. “Normally, I was supposed to be reinstated as the magistrate in 2014, but it came late (2015),” Ayah told attendees at the PAP meeting. The PAP chieftain reiterated that he is due retirement by the end of 2016, but did not rule out the possibility of continuing to serve, should President Paul Biya, Chairman of the Higher Judicial Council, decide to keep him. Hear him: “I will continue to serve as a magistrate if my services are needed. I am to the service of the people. If people think that I am still strong enough to serve, why not? I will serve the people,” Ayah told reporters when asked if he will continue working should such a circumstance arise.
Though we know that the PAP Chairman is still one of the finest judges in the Cameroons and still virtually strong and healthy, We of this platform hate the notion of civil servants having their retirement being postponed. We think that it is just a bad policy. We believe that once people have offered their services to the state, they should bow out naturally as the law stipulates. BaretaNews, however, thinks that the Chairman PAP could retire and concentrate his forces in the opposition PAP as well as the Justice4All consultancy he has created to effectively reach out to all Cameroonians. However, if the Chairman feels he would love to serve the state in any capacity Mr. Biya would want from him by postponing his retirement, then it is his political decisions which will off course come with consequences whether positive or negative. We of this platform, however, will disagree with such a political decision.
God is still saying something.