Thursday, September 29, 2016

Journalists Outraged At MP’s Assaults of Their Colleague

Yaounde—A Member of Parliament with the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) party, Hon Wallang Richard Ebua has come under heavy criticisms from journalists in the country for allegedly assaulting their colleague on duty.
Dejected Mua Patrick still recovering from the MP's punches

According to Mua Patrick, Yaounde city reporter of The Guardian Post daily newspaper, the MP for Menchum South constituency in the Northwest region of the country had accused him of writing critical articles that tarnish his image as a lawmaker.

While the reporter was covering a meeting organized by local officials of the ruling party in the constituency on Sunday September 25, “the MP with the support of some of thugs attacked and brutalized me at the Wum council hall,” Mua Patrick said.

“He (the MP) kicked me on my lower abdomen before landing me three punches. I developed a swollen jaw and blood was oozing out of my nostrils. Then the thugs he called lifted stones, threatening to stone me and teach me a lesson,” the reporter explained saying he escaped and sought medical attention in a private local clinic.

Not The First Time

Hon Wallang however argued that he did not assault the reporter as he claims.

“It is just that it was out of temper, but I didn’t touch him with my hand and those guys who came [the thugs] that they want to, I mean that it will not end there, I warned them not to touch him. But he (Mua Patrick) is going round amplifying the whole story,” the ruling party MP said without disclosing what he did out of temper.
Hon Wallang says it was out of temper

“I only told him that what he’s doing [writing about the MP] is not good. And he replied to me that are you talking to a child. Then I only asked him that Patrick, are you answering me like that. Then I left,” Hon Wallang explained.

But Mua Patrick maintained it is not the first time the lawmaker was ‘attacking’ him but has never brandished any of his (Mua) articles that tarnished his image.

“He (the MP) once threatened my mother sometimes in May that she should call me to order,” the journalist said adding that he’s frustrated as he can’t take legal action against the lawmaker because of his parliamentary immunity.

 “Yes, his mother is someone I respect, I told her to tell (warn) Patrick,” the MP admitted.

Immediately Tender An Apology

The MP’s action has sparked outrage amongst journalists in the country. MuaPatrick’s colleagues have relentlessly been condemning the lawmaker’s action and demanding an apology from the latter.

“The act is not only barbaric and sickening to the bones, but equally a display of insanity at its peak,” said Claudia Nsono, journalist with HiTV in Buea who added that “such nasty unruly behavior [of the MP] must be justified and in due time.”

Nfor Hanson Nchanji, a journalist with Douala-based Equinoxe Television and advocate of press freedom described the act as a ‘slap on the face of all journalists’ in the country.

“Having parliamentary immunity does not give an MP the right to transform a journalist into a punching bag. I implore journalism associations to take the matter personal,” he said.

Amindeh Blaise Atabong, journalist and president of an advocacy group; Association of Combined Action to Protect and Empower Journalists (ACAPEJ), also condemned the assault calling on the MP to tender an apology.

“We call on Hon. Wallang Richard to immediately tender an apology to the assaulted journalist as well as cover all medical expenses and damages the journalist must have incurred from the MP’s action. Authorities in Cameroon should also insure that the excesses of MPs who have immunity should be checked,” Atabong said.

Mua Patrick’s employer, Mr Ngah Christian Mbipgo, CEO of The Guardian Post daily newspaper said he could not immediately comment for he is writing a ‘strongly worded letter’ to the Presidency, Prime Minister’s office and Diplomatic Missions accredited to Cameroon.

Hon Wallang is serving his second five-year mandate as Member of Parliament and may seek another term when legislative elections are convened in 2018. The governing CPDM and the leading opposition the SDF are the dominant political parties in the constituency.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

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