TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL IS CONCERNED AT CRACKDOWN ON FREE SPEECH IN CAMEROON

Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference series, Akere Muna, summoned for questioning by the Gendarmerie

Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, expressed concern about the government’s recent crackdown on civil society in Cameroon and the police summons received by its former vice-chair and current chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference series, Akere Muna, who has been an outspoken critic of the government’s actions.

The Cameroon National Gendarmerie issued the summons on 20 March to question Muna, a barrister whose firm is representing more than 60 people detained following the recent protests.

Since November 2016, English speaking lawyers and teachers have criticised the government’s move to make French the official language of the courts despite its commitment to a bilingual system. Twenty per cent of the population of Cameroon is English speaking.

The government has also cut internet connections in the English speaking regions of Cameroon, disrupting businesses and limiting freedom of expression.

In January Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla, the president of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, and Fontem Neba, the group’s secretary general, were arrested and charged with inciting terrorism. Muna is representing Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla.

Transparency International joins with human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, and governments who have called on Cameroon to respect freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Muna is the current chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference, a bi-annual conference bringing together the global anti-corruption community, which is managed by the Transparency International Secretariat. He has been part of the Transparency International movement since 2000 when he founded the Cameroon chapter of Transparency International. He served as vice-chair of the global movement from 2005 to 2014.