Titus Edzoa, former Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic who spent 17 years in prison has opened a cane of worm exploding about his political ambitions. On Saturday March 1, he was in a conclave with the media in Yaounde. Like Mandela who spent 17 years in prison and came out to be the President of South Africa, commentators contrast his release with that of Mandela. In a one-on-one with the Press at his Simbock residence in Yaounde, this is what Titus Edzoa told the Press.
On political his political engagement, membership and activism within the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM)
Titus Edzoa: At the moment I took a step back and declined, it means silence. I learned what it means to remain mute, and silence is not a negative behavior. Please let me breathe. Obviously, it is not excluded that in the months and years to come – as I've already said - I may bounce back in politics. You know I'm a man of action. When I have decided, you know (...) I resigned from the government, but that does not mean that I also resigned from the CPDM ... its clear!
On his "rush to make declarations" over RFI
Titus Edzoa: Some of you thought I waited too long because my voice was heard elsewhere on Rfi. But it was more convenient and friendly way just to tell you that I'm here. You must know, I'm doing quite well. For example: before going to prison, I weighed 62 kg. Yesterday [Friday, February 28, 2014, Editor's note] by chance I weighed myself. You may be surprised: I still weigh 62 kg. So 17 years in prison did not affect my mental health or physical health.
His feelings towards those allegedly responsible for his arrest and Detention (Amadou Ali, Akame Mfoumou, etc.) and the Wiretaps phone hacking of 1997
Titus Edzoa: I followed all the schemers that have been igniting the terrible violence. For me politics is not about that kind of stuff. Politics is not and must not be an instrument of violence that leads to conspicuous enjoyment. For me, politics is an instrument that provides opportunities for everyone to achieve an overall wellness of the human being, whether on material, mental or spiritual. That is why, although an apparent fight, I consider politics as a debate of ideas. This is what gave me great serenity after 17 years to forgive. If I meet them today, I will give them a hand shake with a smile not mocking, but with sincerity.
On the living conditions at the Secretariat of State for Defence (Sed)
Titus Edzoa: I can tell you that this will be another book. To describe the conditions here would mean I am taking it lightly. I can just say that to live in these conditions were terrifying; I had to fight against death at every moment. And each time was different from another. You've heard the number of days: 6205 days, 17 years. That said, I will spare you all that. I do not want to appear as a victim of anyone. I just want to say that violence can not be a virtue in politics and elsewhere. That is why we must respect each other physically, mentally; respect his/her ideas, his/her thoughts even if they do not conform to ours. This will change the whole context in our country.
On the threat of new files charges against him
Titus Edzoa: When you are in politics, if you are afraid, go into hiding. When doing politics in Africa, especially in Cameroon, we must assume. New cases there have been so many but none taken. Why? I give this message to young people. It is not only in politics, when you live, be consistent with your own conscience. This is an invaluable resource. So when you are attacked, especially when it is unfair attacks, it is with confidence that you face these kinds of things.
On personal safety
Titus Edzoa: I am a Cameroonian, why do you think I'm afraid to walk freely in Cameroon?, especially now that I have my liberty. I even like these days go into town. After 17 years, I think things have changed a lot. And let me assure you that I am not afraid of anyone. This is not a challenge. But it is a victory to be a free man.
If he meets the President of the Republic, what would he tell him?
Titus Edzoa: Why do you want to know? What is interesting is not necessarily good for everyone. If I had to find the president you know later. Let me have secrets. And if there were any secrets, it would be one. The President, if I were to meet him tomorrow, you'll know.
Titus Edzoa, statesman or politician?
Titus Edzoa: Before my detention, I had a vision of a statesman and a statesman is formed. But today, I have the vision of a politician and a politician is formed. The day I resigned, I decided to declare myself as a candidate for the 1997 Presidential election that was the day I decided to be a politician. If a politician is formed, it is not overnight. It is prepared internally, externally. I can tell you, I did not want the prison, but the prison gave me a unique opportunity. I learned things that I could not learn elsewhere. So I will have all the time to share with you my political thoughts. I can already assure you that my thoughts are what they were 17 years ago but with much more powerful openings.
Is Paul Biya concerned with the message of peace?
Titus Edzoa: When we make peace you do not choose with whom it is to be made. But it is especially to all those who had hidden agendas vis-à-vis my feelings. It is an opening. I should mention that this is not a sign of weakness. It is an opening of awareness that self and other convergent even if you do not think the same way. In politics, it is not obliged to have the same thought. It is this freedom which must be built by otherness. I come back even more convinced of this because I've had time to think and reflect over it.
Paul Biya, is he a political opponent?
Titus Edzoa: It goes without saying that I am considered an opponent in Cameroon because I do not know what is called opponent. There are times when the word "opponent" is an insult. I have the right to have my ideas and I am jealous of my political thinking. Let me be clear. To be the political opponent of the President of the Republic does not mean to be disrespectful. We have to learn how to break up these things.
Intends to continue to work as a Medical doctor?
Titus Edzoa: I am a doctor for life. Even at Sed, I continued to work as a doctor but, in discretion of course. If something happens to you, I have the ethical duty to assist you. Maybe the dexterity of my fingers fell. I have not checked yet. It's like riding a bicycle. Do not forget: I am a doctor and I am a teacher. The contacts between students and old doctors have always been positive. To reassure you, I have been all this time the only Cameroonians be a full member of the International Society of Surgeons. Therefore medical and surgical knowledge remains fresh and it does not bother me to help young people.
About his perception of Operation Hawk
Titus Edzoa: I had already had the opportunity to say much on it. I would remind you that, when I was thrown into prison, Operation Hawk did not exist. So I'm not part of Operation Hawk. This does not mean that I consider myself superior to those who were caught by it. Recently at the Supreme Court, I had to separate the two things by making a trivial comparison between two birds; a hawk and another, the phoenix. The hawk flies very low and catches only the chicks. The Phoenix flies high around the sun and it has the ability to constantly reborn from its ashes. Rather I am part of this universe. That is why you see me before you, I think lucid enough, after 17 years. The phoenix lives in each of us, help us through difficult tests and these tests are that I am free man. That is the philosophy of the politician I am.
How he will continue a political career with a criminal record?
Titus Edzoa: You think the policy is less than justice? If justice had salience of politics, I would not be released. It is not clear?
On his phone call to the President of the Republic that pushed his adrenaline
Titus Edzoa: I urge as professional that you are, you work with great respect, not on the rumor. When working on the rumor you can not imagine the impact you have on public opinion. In this case, it was a lot of fun. In 16 years how could I have the number of the president? Maybe you have. By education, I think there are times when you forget that this is a President of the Republic. We do not phone the President of the Republic. It's more complicated than that. I know whereof I speak. I think the president himself had to smile. Me in my cell, I laughed. The false information has faded itself. As adrenaline President. I phone him in secret and you see adrenaline. We call these fantasies which touts the people because he has no real information. And this work is that you must do. Because the information is not rumor.
His relations with Michel Thierry Atangana who denied being his campaign manager
Titus Edzoa: These are details. Whether he recognizes it or not. If you noticed, we were imprisoned together. This is not because we were the best! This young man, I am the only one who knew what was his ordeal. And believe me, wherever he went, he knows who I am for him, even in silence. Send him always my encouragement. All that could be said or done, keep it to yourself. He is now a free man. 17 years will serve him to see the world in a different way. He was a son, he was a campaign manager, he was a companion in misery, I have the duty to respect.
His vision on the political future of Cameroon
Titus Edzoa: I think we should always look to the future with optimism. Everything that happens though apparently it seems negative or tumultuous, there is always an education. For our country right now is that everyone must be vigilant and especially avoid violence. It will take anywhere physical strength. Often those who want to show they are strong and there show their hidden weakness. I am a martial, you know. It must be strong but what is important is power. When this force is set in motion, we must know the master. It is not a question of demonstrating that is stronger than the other. It was not until a move to a collective interest. This is not a clan or a group of people. That's the hope of Cameroon.
Whether there have been political reconciliations at Sed between him and the other detainees, former members of the government?
Titus Edzoa: Isolated, I wasn’t imprisoned. I was sequestered so that I could not meet anyone. Otherwise one day going to court, we were put in the same car with some. It's not the journey that would allow us to make political alliances. It's more complicated than that. And again! What is important is that my political beliefs are beliefs for social welfare, the welfare of the other. When the welfare of the other succeeds, succeeds mine twice.
Contact with public authorities for his release?
Titus Edzoa: At the moment I have not been contacted by anyone. As for the police, I have no orders to give them. I found my safety then at some point they are distributed. I'm free like you. I feel a free man, I'm not afraid of anything.
Whether he expects to be called up for state affairs?
Titus Edzoa: We are growing position in our country. It is a feature of our system that I abhor. How do you think we should live while waiting to be called? That's incredible. This is why when one is appointed, whether in the right direction or the wrong direction, we take provisions that have nothing to do with the collective interest. So I would tell you exactly. I expect nothing, no post! And it does not bother me. There are a thousand ways to be useful in the Republic. If the item arrives, I can refuse or accept it but I have the duty to explain.
Whether he has forgiven his former "friend" Paul Biya?
Titus Edzoa: A president has no friends. This means that I have never been a friend of the President of the Republic. You do me an honor to give me that title. But on the other hand, I was a very close associate, available, honest. Will I forgive him? Do not mix the President of the Republic to others. It's not about you. This is not to you that I will say that I forgive. Who am I? For others, there are many. They know that I have forgiven them.
To whom would you say thank you for your release?
Titus Edzoa: In the political context things are complicated and it is very difficult to always dichotomies. Certainly, there were interventions from the outside besides, I can not control. These interventions are the compassionate field. As for the president himself, it is in a rational context and amazement. But the two areas are not opposites, they were complementary. Some people tell me "You say thank you from the outside, but do you say thank you to the President of the Republic?" The president does not need gratitude because politics does not like genuflections, whatever you think. Must remain dignified, respect the president because he had not authorized my arrest, I would never have been the prisoner. On the other side if he had not signed a decree, I would not have been released. It is not a question of friendship, loyalty ... Stop it! It dishonors not only the president but also our political context.
What has become of the Committee for the Support of Titus Edzoa?
Titus Edzoa: Those who have read my book have seen that in the acknowledgments, the Committee for the Liberation of my person was reported with much support. Because at that time, there were not many who were willing to appear. God rest his soul, Mr. Mongo Beti took my party. I had never met before. That's the great souls who live by the values. One day he came to visit me at Sed, he was dressed in jeans and a sweater. When I leave the cell, I see an unusual visitor. He gets up immediately. He said, "Ah! Dear friend. I came to shake your hand. You had the courage to fight in Cameroon. The only thing I regret is that I did outside. But our beliefs meet. " Who was I next to this icon? This occurred in five minutes. When jailers realized it was Mongo Beti, they told him they regretted that maintenance could not continue. This is the last time I saw this great man. I do not know what became of this committee. But I will contact them to say thank you. I will send an invitation to Ms. Odile Tobner [who prefaced his book "Meditations of jail," Editor's note], the wife of Mongo Beti to say thank you.
On his property that were confiscated
Titus Edzoa: As regards justice, I always prefer to refer to my lawyer. You remember there was some confusion. Sentenced to 15 years, sentenced to 20 years. Some said that 15 + 20 = 35. But you should always go to the bottom when you do not understand. It was an unspeakable aberrations. If you've been looking for the bottom, you would realize that you made the conviction of 20 years from a charge of 3 July 1997. It was the first. It is this conviction that I have been referred. So it was not even a question of a merger since the sentence of 15 years was high and I had already consumed. It was a bit like Russian dolls. In fact the steamroller was a beautiful lie to circumnavigate the world; the truth has time to tie his shoes.
On the conformity of release receipt from prison with the presidential decree on the question of "influence peddling"
It is not because we are being accused that we are guilty. The indictment of influence peddling was moot. It was beautiful to see what happened in court because that court then I explained the facts. I think you followed those events. And the right is the facts. That is why remission of sentences handed to me all my rights. Not only for me but for you. So you know that this man was innocent. The problem was not legal. It was the crossbred political righteousness. What would happen happened. You read the decree, it was not legal. Even those who accused me know that the man before them can not divert. For young people, I repeat: politics is not haggling equipment which is beyond that. So do not play with it because in the end the truth always triumphs.
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