The Cameroons social media space went crazy on Thursday 26th, May 2016 over the alleged knife threatening of Chantal Biya, Cameroon first lady by her own daughter Brenda Biya. The story was first reported by Patrice Nouma, a runaway Cameroon soldier based in the United States. The Cameroon Journal, an online Cameroon publication followed up with a fully fledged story.
The Cameroon Journal asserted that the scene was provoked by the impromptu visit of First Lady Chantal Biya upon learning the daughter was fast acting as a deviant in Los Angelos. They insinuated that Chantal had flown into California from Cameroon on hearing of the daughter’s heavy indulgement in drugs. Brenda, who didn’t love the idea only fiercely resisted the idea of leaving the country. Cameroon Journal alleged she took to the rampage and began breaking up things in the apartment to demonstrate her disapproval of the plan. Cameroon Journal then concluded that the police were called in and this led to the summoning of Brenda Biya by a California judge to appear before the court on June 1 over acts of violence.
The Cameroon community was shocked by these acts of their first daughter. The story saw heavy traffic online with thousands of shares. Many questioned and seeks to know the problem facing the first family. However, social critic Tapang Ivo Tanku and Journalist by training did not find this story convincing. He accuses the Cameroon Journal of practicing yellow Journalism and debunks the story as fake. Tapang justified his claims by quoting some lines from Cameroon Journal and debunking them. He wrote:
“The incident which led to Police being called to the scene was provoked by the impromptu visit of First Lady Chantal Biya upon learning the daughter was fast acting as a deviant in Los Angelos. She had flown into California from Cameroon on hearing of the daughter’s heavy indulgement in drugs.”
Tapang then argued…” Was there any official statement from the Unity Palace saying Chantal Biya, wife of President Paul Biya, would be visiting Brenda? If not, how did the Cameroon Journal know about the visit?”
Tapang continued by listing another line from Cameroon Journal. It reads ” Chantal who came with instructions from President Biya to get Brenda out of California and the United States. But upon getting the news from the mother, Brenda didn’t only fiercely resist the idea of leaving the country. She took to the rampage and began breaking up things in the apartment to demonstrate her disapproval of the plan.”
Tapang argued again ” Who were the witnesses? Who saw the fight? Can you cite their names? If they are anonymous, why not say “they are anonymous sources?” And besides, I do not think Americans are that secretive. They will fear nothing in having their names cited in stories, unlike in Cameroon where we fear our shadow. Not even a single quote???????????? ” and much more
However, not all Journalist saw with Tapang, Ajumane Akam Francis wrote ” While I strongly buy into some of your points, I will disagree with you on a few. I think the Editor of the Cameroon Journal is based in the US. That said, must the Presidency issue a public statement to tell the public about Chantal Biya’s visit? I know you will cite the usual ”taxpayers money” to back up why the presidency should publish an official statement. But mind you, she is on a private visit and had the right to that though she is a public figure. Cameroon Journal could still have known about the visit through inside sources who request anonymity. However, the journal ought to have said so. The story could be true but poorly written. And this article just comes to show the difference between a journalist and a story teller.”
Others like Ufa Ugynns, an activist based in Belgium disagreed with Tapang. He wrote ” when u ask who were the neighbours who called the police, I laugh. I recount to you an incident that occured to me here in Belgium with two other friends. We were driving in a minibus (van) and it stopped and refused to start again at the traffic lights. We descended, pushed it off the road in the quarter to a safe parking. While still looking at possibilities to see if we can start it and drive off, neighbours around had called the police who before arriving the scene, we had left. detailed descriptions about us had been given to the police who traced and caught up with us telling us that neighbours said we were attempting to steal a car. We had to identify ourselves and presented the car documents before we could be discharged. Who are the neighbors who called if I were to write my story and publish? ”
Cameroonians all over the spectra has different opinions. However, some went as far as searching online at the California Court records if there is any data of Brenda Biya scheduled to appear in Court on 1st June 2016. It appears there exist no such record. It becomes a problem to ponder what is happening. However, as Ufa Ugynns said ” I hear in journalism, every rumour has an element of truth? I stand to be corrected. If true, then the rumour will develop into a big and authentic story. It will fan itself “. This remains to be seen
The major part of this story which leaves one to ponder about some element of truth is that Cameroon Journal reported accurately. In their original story on Thursday 26th May 2016, they wrote ” Brenda Biya and the mother flew to Geneva after the incident. President Biya is expected to meet them in Geneva one of these days for the family to sort out the situation “. Today, CRTV reported that the President has left the country for a private and short stay in Europe. BaretaNews acknowledges that Biya hardly stays in the country for full a 30+ days, he is an absentee landlord who always moves out of the country with heavy delegations to spend Cameroons tax payers money. However, the timing and moving out of Biya, one day after Cameroon Journal break the Biya Brenda alleged criminal story cannot go unnoticed, but to relate the lines in which Cameroun Journal predicted and reported that Biya will leave Cameroon any of these days to settle the family wahala.There is still a lot to write about this.
What can the Cameroon people then, take from this story? BaretaNews maintains that Brenda Biya has reportedly been the main character of social media in recent months through her actions and videos, we cannot deny that fact. The conspicuous absence of the first lady during the 20th May celebrations only goes to add credence to the story and now the short private visit of the President just a few days the Journal reported the news leaves one to ponder. It is also true that this is a largely private affairs, but it is also true that as public figures and because of President Biya archaic and sad relationships with Cameroonians, they cannot escape the wrath of the social media and the Cameroon people no matter how Cameroonians want to run away from it. Something must be wrong somewhere and BaretaNews shall keep up with the updates.
God is still saying something.