The former Secretary-General of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT), Parfait Siki has been remanded to prison custody.
The journalist was taken to the notorious Kondengui Prison on November 2, after spending seven days in Police custody.
The former Director of Communication and Secretary-General of FECAFOOT was picked up after the Executive Committee of the Federation, under the leadership of Samuel Eto’o Fils filed a complaint accusing Mr. Siki of illegally holding administrative documents of the football governing body with the intention of falsifying them.
The said documents include the disputed minutes of the election of vice presidents of FECAFOOT.
Parfait Siki has denied the accusations, but a judge ordered his detention at the maximum-security prison after apprising himself of the facts.
His incarceration has provoked mixed reactions amongst Cameroonians, and the Federation of Press Editors, of which he is the Executive Secretary, has requested his immediate “release”.
The opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) of Prof. Maurice Kamto has also called for the release of the journalist, arguing that the deadline for his detention had expired on October 31, making his detention “arbitrary”, “abusive”, and “illegal”.
“Without prejudging the merits of the case, the MRC recalls that under the terms of Article 119 paragraph 2 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the period of custody is 48 hours renewable twice.
There is, therefore, no doubt that in this case, the period of custody expired on October 31, 2022, at midnight. Therefore, the maintenance of Parfait Siki Awono in police custody becomes arbitrary, abusive, and illegal, reason for which the MRC asks for his immediate release in accordance with the law,” the MRC said in a November 1 release signed by the party’s National-Secretary-Delegate in charge of Human Rights and Governance, Barrister Désiré Sikati.
And Denis Emilien Atangana, a politician in his own right, says he respects the decision to detain Mr. Siki in the interest of “social cohesion,” but wonders whether it wasn’t a decision taken to the extremes.
“What is the importance of this famous document? Does the absence of this document block the functioning of FECAFOOT? Does the absence of this document prevent Mr. Eto’o from performing his duties as president of FECAFOOT and making his appointments every day? Does the absence of this document prevent the indomitable lions from going to the World Cup in Qatar or from dressing with the brand One All sport?” he wondered.
Since his election as FECAFOOT boss, Samuel Eto’o’s actions have divided public opinion in ways not seen in Cameroon football for decades.
His supporters have pointed to the lethargy that characterized previous administrations and have hailed the former Captain of the Indomitable Lions as the “saviour of Cameroon football.”
But his critics see him as increasingly adopting an autocratic style of governance-silencing his critics and rewarding his friends.
His decision to prolong the mandate of the Executive Committee under his reign from four to seven years has been viewed by critics as a carbon copy of African dictators who change the constitutions of their countries at will to stay in power.