Recently, Paul Abine Ayah, Advocate General of the Supreme Court and Chairman of the Popular Action Party, PAP, told reporters in Buea that he is willing to help lead the SCNC movement to take the cause out of the shadows if the various factions of the movement come together and bury their differences.
Few weeks earlier, he had retained leadership of PAP in spite of outcries from within the organization suggesting that he relinquish leadership to a fresh face considering his appointment as member of the Supreme Court’s judicial bench.
The Cameroon Journal also notes that only a few months ago, Ayah launched a local NGO human rights group called Justice4all and he is director of the organisation.
We have no doubts in our minds that Paul Ayah has the resume and pedigree necessary to lead these groups. As a CPDM member of parliament, he proved his fervor and demeanor as he relentlessly fought for the common good. Time and again, he alone stood up when it wasn’t convenient, as the only CPDM member courageous enough to take on the party and the regime each time they conducted business in a manner that betrayed the impoverished.
He became the leader of PAP after falling out with CPDM bosses. He led the party to an election but won’t win a single parliamentary or Council seat – not even in Akwaya, his neck of the wood, though he’s satisfied his party came out 5th position.
Just when you thought Ayah was left without a platform for his known virulent advocacy, the Southern Cameroons liberation group, the SCNC, loses its leader. Then a meeting takes place in Kumba during which Ayah’s name comes up as potential new leader. He indicates his interest in the post, but Yaounde quickly cajoles him with a rather more lucrative offer. They recall him from the opposition and is elevated to the rank of Advocate General of the Supreme Court – whatever that means. He’s been largely silent ever since.
The Cameroon Journal, in search for reasons and wisdom behind Ayah’s acceptance of the court’s job from a regime he held in contempt for years, gathered that he was being owed millions of FRANCS CFA in salary after he left parliament, a punitive measure for his advocacy against the regime. And he himself had acknowledged this when first criticized for taking the Supreme Court job. Our source, an insider in PAP explained that Ayah had confided in them that the only reason he accepted the Supreme Court job was to get the regime pay his accrued salary, after which he will resign and return to active politicking in the opposition.
While The Cameroon Journal sympathizes with the Judge for victimization by the regime and the deplorable living condition it might have forced his family into, and whatever means he hoped to employ to quicken payment thereof, we think that Paul Ayah isn’t acting any longer as the democrat and change crusader he once led us believed. Ayah is acting rather opportunistic by holding onto the leadership of PAP, his human rights NGO and potentially the SCNC.
We see Ayah saying to himself – “Well, to remain relevant, I just have to hold onto these positions – I just have to keep portraying myself as a group leader for all intent and purposes, to intimidate the regime to relinquish my accrued salary.”
Ayah the perceptive knows that if he loses leadership of PAP, SCNC etc., he’s left with no bargaining platform with which to influence the regime to release what he’s owed. That’s the sole reason he still hangs on the helm of PAP.
But it is wrong, no matter how logical it may sound. Ayah should not for any reason be keeping both position of Supreme Court Judge and that of opposition – PAP leader. This is the very kind of leadership and leaders Cameroonians are seeking to overthrow. If it is good for Fru Ndi to go after leading the SDF for 25 years, if it is good for Biya to go after 34 years at the helm of the nation, it is obviously good Paul Ayah goes as PAP Chairman and make way for new leadership. That’s what a true democrat would do – and it’s just the right thing to do.
Mr. Ayah cannot be a legitimate critic of sit-tide regimes, nepotism and power accumulation and himself won’t want to do same.
At the Cameroon Journal, we are shocked that Ayah did a reorganization of PAP, and didn’t hand over leadership to the young. Instead, he stole the party from its original founder – Ngoh, Ngoh, of blessed memory, changed it from People’s Action Party to Popular Action Party, so that tomorrow it shall be said that Paul Ayah founded PAP not Ngoh Ngoh. It’s a pity. Holding to the position of Supreme Court Judge and that of Opposition leader, plus an NGO is greed in the highest order.
We at the Cameroon Journal, urge Paul Ayah to be the democrat he wants all of us to believe he is by supervising the transition of the Barton of leadership in PAP into capable hands or else resign as Supreme Court advocate if he intends staying as chair of the party. He should not for all intent and purposes have any reason to keep the two jobs.