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Cameroon claims to be a democracy, then why are even moderates like Maurice Kamot in jail?

Military members from the Cameroonian Armed Forces. Image credit Kyle Steckler for the US Navy.

“President Biya cannot be considered an equal of Mr. Kamto, who is a citizen like everyone else, and must stop thinking himself otherwise,” René Emmanuel Sadi, Cameroon’s minister of communication and government spokesperson, told RFI (Radio France International) in an interview last month.

Maurice Kamto is a former distinguished law professor at the University of Yaounde, and, more importantly, leader of the Mouvement pour la Renaissance du Cameroun (MRC). The MRC was formed in 2012 and participated in legislative elections the next year. Despite performing dismally, winning just one seat in Cameroon’s National Assembly, Kamto’s emergence as an opposition figure has rankled the ranks of the regime in power. At present, Kamto and several MRC members are in detention at Yaoundé’s Kondengui prison. A military tribunal has charged Kamto and hundreds of his supporters with “rebellion,” “hostility against…

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