Musician Lapiro de Mbanga comments on his situation in the prison, and on his cause
|In September 2008, Lapiro was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a huge fine. Sharing a cell with more than 50 persons, Lapiro’s health has deteriorated as hygiene conditions and food are substandard. This video interview was recorded by Freedom to Create in the prison in November 2009.
“Imprisonment will neither stop me nor my music,” says Lapiro de Mbanga, who has a long history of voicing the frustrations of the people in Cameroon. Lapiro de Mbanga believes that music can be used as a strong tool against corruption and power abuse, and he has become a symbol of peaceful resistance to the erosion of democracy in Cameroon.
Opposing constitutional amendment in 2008, which not only provided the president with immunity from prosecution for acts as president, but even allow president Biya to run for unlimited re-elections, Lapiro de Mbanga wrote the song ‘Constitution Constipée’ (Constipated Constitution), which inspired demonstrations all over the country.
Courage and creativity
The Freedom to Create Prize celebrates the courage and creativity of artists around the world, who use their talents to build the foundations of open societies, promote social justice and inspire human spirit. More than 1,000 artists from more than 100 countries were nominated in 2009.
The prize was 25,000 US dollars, which Lapiro could use in support for his release and for his family who has suffered immensely since his arrest.
Ole Reitov from Freemuse added: “As Lapiro points out, this is also recognition of all other artists out there who are suffering suppression and illegal imprisonment. And Lapiro is still not a free man, so we will continue to campaign for his release together with our sister organisations.”
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|Press: photos in high resolution|
|Daily Nation – 27 October 2009:
Groups Rally for Cameroonian Jailed for ‘Constipation’ Song
|Related reading on freemuse.org|