CJA’s Vice President for Africa, Paul Nkemayang Drops Dead

Journalists in Cameroon are in tears following the death Thursday night of one of the country’s most unrepentant defenders of press freedom.

Chief Foanyi Nkemayang Paul, Chief Executive Officer of The Star Newspaper, Vice President of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, CJA for Africa as well as President of CJA- Cameroon died in Victoria about 11pm Thursday June 18 after a brief moment in diabetic coma, according to family sources.

In a telephone conversation, the Publisher/Editor of the Sun Newspaper, Norbert Wasso told Timescape Magazine from the seaside resort of Victoria that Chief Nkemayang died at the Manyemen Annex Presbyterian clinic just about 11pm after he slumped into a diabetic coma in the evening of Wednesday June 17.

Mr. Wasso quoted the wife of the deceased media guru as saying when she left for work on Wednesday morning, her husband was seemingly in particularly good state, moving around the yard and ensuring cleanliness. He said when she returned from work later in the day, she found him lying on the couch in the sitting room looking weak and helpless.

Unable to determine what had gone wrong with her husband, Mr. Wasso went on, the woman decided to take the traditional dignitary to hospital where she works, the Manyemen  Annex Presbyterian clinic where after a check on his vital signs, it was established that Chief Nkemayang’s blood to sugar level was above 500, a situation that threw him into a diabetic coma.

Despite all efforts to save the journalist’s life, he never came out of the coma and rather gave up the ghost about 11 pm last night.

Chief Nkemayang (2nd from left ) in the company of George Ngwane (left) Commonwealth SG Baroness Patricia Scotland (2nd from right) & John Akuroh (right) at the CJA Elective Congress in London in April 2016

News of Chief Nkemayang’s death has left those already informed devastated and short of words. Taking questions by telephone from Buea, capital of the once independent state of Southern Cameroons, Bouddih Adams, Editor-in-Chief at The Post Newspaper said “I am yet to come to terms with the news that Chief Nkemayang is truly dead. I last exchanged with him about five days ago after we led actions together to demand justice for the ruthless death of Samuel Wazizi in the custody of the Cameroon military”.

Colleagues and sympathizers are circulating video footage of the fearless journalist and press freedom fighter in an interview shortly after he led a delegation to inquire from President Paul Biya’s representative in Buea, Bernard Okalia Bilai what had happened to journalist Samuel Wazizi after he was arrested by the police on August 2, 2019 in Muea, a precinct in the outskirts of Buea.

In the video, Chief Nkemayang expressed anger and frustration at the treatment being meted to journalists by the military. He warned that journalists in the country were going to stop at nothing until justice was seen to be done in the case of Samuel Wazizi. He insisted that if it were true that Wazizi was dead, his remains should be made available for the family and colleagues to pay him last respects.

In his over 30-year-long career as a journalist, Chief Nkemayang fought most of the time for better working conditions for journalists in the country. He served as a pioneer member of the National Communication Council, held the position of President of the Cameroon Association of English-Speaking Journalists, CAMASEJ, Pioneer President of CJA-Cameroon, Technical Adviser of the Cameroon Anglophone Newspaper Publishers’ Association, CANPA and much more.

Chief Nkemayang leaves behind a wife, four children, the press family and lots of fans and sympathizers to mourn him.