Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version reprints an interview of Nigerian playwright Shehu Sani, whose play, Phantom Crescent, has been condemned for criticizing the application of Shari’a law in Northern Nigeria. In the interview, the author, argues that:

“The fact remains that in democracy, people must have the right to express their opinions. And you cannot hide under the guise of any religious dictates to undermine and subvert the rights of the citizens. I’m a Muslim and I don’t believe we have any spiritual leaders… Now, if you happen to be in political office you have to live up to the responsibility as a political leader who has won an election and has a contract with the people. You don’t have to hide behind religion, using prohibitive laws to disguise yourself while you have not lived up to your obligation. I believe these are issues which we have to clearly separate. And my play is simply to educate, enlighten and to pass a clear message. It is also to inspire people to stand up to the defence of their rights because it is only by doing that that we can safeguard our democracy.” Chia revisits ongoing attempts by the Biya regime in Cameroon to eliminate term limits and contends that Cameroonians in the US should be at the forefront of efforts to scuttle Biya’s plans:

“Write to your Congressman or woman about the plan of President Biya and his cohorts to change the constitution for a life mandate... The carnage in Kenya can be replicated in Cameroon if the world, led by the U.S ant its leaders, fails in reading the Red Flag warnings that such wanton manipulation of the people and the Constitution represents. About 40% of Cameroon's budget comes from America! You may recall that President Bush recently axed American aid to Kenya, forcing that other dictator to abdicate his unilateralism and to begin discussions on a joint government with the opposition. It is therefore imperative that Cameroonians in the United States fill the in-boxes of the representatives with mail about the impending doom facing Cameroon. Do not doubt the power of a single mail.” is outraged by the exorbitant allowances that Nigerian legislators receive:

“…it is interesting that they are concerned about such minutiae as their wardrobe … In a throwback to the colonial days of the District Officer they would have domestic staff that would include a steward, a cook, a housekeeper and a gardener.

They also get paid for being on recess and we can assume there are two recesses in a legislative year and we also pay for their newspapers.

I know not of any job anywhere that offers this kind of largesse, ordinary people are usually supposed to pay for all these things out of their basic salaries.

It would be different if the legislators really get down to doing stuff that helps build Nigeria but with them fed and fattened to the extent that they would not be able to get out of their opulent furniture to walk through the widest doors on earth, this would be gravy-train par excellence and it grates.” on [...]
The US is concerned about the security ramifications in the Greater Horn of Africa which it has been trying to hold together. A quick look at the map of Eastern Africa gives America little solace. Somalia is in anarchy with a multitude of warlords and radical Islamists, Sudan is involved in the Darfur war and Ethiopia is near war with Eritrea, which the US accuses of sponsoring terrorism. Between the grim sketches is Kenya, America's hope in the region which is now teetering on the verge of instability.
Thus, security cooperation especially anti-terrorism measures has for long been an important aspect of Kenya-U.S. relations, underscored by airbase and port access. Despite the current political disagreements between the US and Kibaki government, the safety measures of this bond will endure.

That is why the US thus will not stand and watch as its most frontline state in the region disintegrates and is impatient to get any deal through which will guarantee stability. It is worth nothing that its voice has radically shifted from the election being irregular to its international interest of security.”[email protected] or comment online at