Douala—Cameroonian anti-colonialism activist, Andre Blaise Essama who was jailed for destroying the statue of a French colonial administrator, General Leclerc was freed from a Douala prison late Friday amidst an atmosphere of joy.
|Andre Blaise Essama was freed on Friday|
Douala-based television channel, Equinoxe TV footage showed crowds of motorbike riders, friends and family members singing ‘liberty songs’ outside the New Bell prison as they received the activist who spent six months in the dungeon.
On July 4 this year, a Douala court sentenced the nationalist activist to six months in jail for destroying public property. He had already spent 96 days in detention as of the day of his conviction.
The activist had pulled down the imposing statue in the heart of the economic capital on claims that such statues have no place in Cameroon.
“The statue of General Leclerc should join its ancestors in France. It has no place in Cameroon” the activist said then.
Essama claimed that the statue is occupying space that could have been reserved for national heroes who fought for Cameroon’s independence like Ruben Um Nyobe, John Ngu Foncha, and Martin Paul Samba among others.
“Can you find the statue of these our national martyrs in Paris?” Essama questioned.
Most streets, educational and health institutions in Cameroon have been named after some nationals of the former colonial master like Dr Jamot and General Charles de Gaulle.
“These names remind me of the painful colonial period that was marked by blood shed of our national heroes,” Essama said.
It was not the first time the anti French activist was pulling down the same statue. He did same in 2013 but the Douala city council rebuilt it months later. He had served a three months jail term in 2015 for the same act.
The activist has promised to continue his struggle despite what he described as intimidation from authorities.
He promised he will continue his struggle for the restoration of the memory of the national heroes of Cameroon.
Mr Essama said his first action following his release will be a proposal of effigies of Cameroonian nationalists to authorities of the Douala city council in replacement of those of foreign figures of the colonial era.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi