Wednesday, April 13, 2011
By way of Makossa Original and Freemuse we receive the happy news that Camerounian musician Lapiro de Mbanga was freed April 8 after three years of harsh imprisonment.
Lapiro was arrested following riots in 2008 against the high cost of living and constitutional changes that made Cameroun's kleptocratic president Paul Biya eligible to run for re-election indefinitely. He ran unsuccessfully in local elections on the opposition Social Democratic Front slate in 2006 but the precipitating event for his arrest and sentence seems to have been his song "Constitution Constipeé," a critique of the Biya regime that became the unofficial anthem of the protests.
The past three years have seen an international campaign on behalf of Lapiro, which apparently fell on deaf ears. He served every day of his sentence.
Join me in celebrating the release of Lapiro De Mbanga with his wonderful album Ndinga Man (Energy Productions NE 5003), which was released in the late '80s:
Download Ndinga Man as a zipped file here, and enjoy this video, "Everybody to Kondengui Prison," about which Dibussi Tande says, ". . .In this fiery and no-holds-barred song released last year , Lapiro lashes out against the symbols of decay in today's Cameroun: A regime in power which has turned its back on all the nationalist slogans of the early years; generalized corruption that has affected every stratum of society ; an insolent and arrogant ruling elite brazenly parading symbols of ostentatious consumption (vulgar SUVs out of place on Cameroon's roads, huge castles amidst appalling squalor, some shown in the video). . .":