Cameroon: Campaign for release of Lapiro



New campaign for release of Lapiro

The company Vigier launches a new campaign for the release of the Cameroonese musician Lapiro de Mbanga. Vigier is the company that supplied Lapiro with a guitar that he has used in more than 20 years to create his music.

It is seldom that music companies openly protest against repressions of their artists, but Vigier, the French guitar manufacturer has launched its own campaign for Mbanga.

In a press release, the company writes:


‘Lapiro de Mbanga, a Vigier artist for over 20 years, has been put in jail for political reasons by the Cameroon government.

Lapiro de Mbanga is very well-known in Cameroon for his political position against injustice and has been a victim of repression on several occasions, but this time things have gone far.

After Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, modified the constitution in his favor, giving himself the right to run for as many mandates as he wants, Lapiro de Mbanga released a CD and DVD to denounce these changes in the constitution in a new song titled, ‘Constitution Constipée’ (‘Constitution Constipated’).

In February 2008, Cameroon was shacked by demonstrations and the government jumped on this opportunity to arrest artists like Lapiro and his friend, Joe la Conscience, accusing both of them of looting when in fact they were helping the population.

At the same time the government confiscated all of Lapiro’s CDs and DVDs of ‘Constitution Constipée’.

Lapiro de Mbanga has been sentenced to three years in jail and has been in prison since September 2008.

His trial is scheduled at the end of December 2008 and Lapiro needs our support.’


Earlier this year the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN and Freemuse protested against the three-year prison sentence and exorbitant fine imposed on Lapiro de Mbanga (real name: Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo)

Click to read more about Lapiro de Mbanga on
Lapiro de Mbanga

Click to read more about music censorship in Cameroon

Protests and appeals:

International PEN Appeal
Freemuse Appeal
Vigier Guitars

Read more:
Singer sentenced to three years in jail

Lapiro de Mbanga: ‘Prison’ – video on YouTube

Journalists imprisoned in Cameroun
Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International reported that the editors Robert Mintya (Le Devoir) and Serge Sabouang (La Nation) were arrested and briefly detained in early February 2010, along with editor Germain “Bibi” Ngota Ngota (Cameroun Express),and reporter Simon Hervé Nko’o (Bebela).

The journalists had been investigating alleged corruption involving Laurent Esso, Secretary General of the President’s Office, and the state-run oil company, National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH), of which Esso is also board chairman. Nko’o, who was reportedly tortured while in custody, went into hiding following his release.

Robert Mintya and Serge Sabouang were released on 24 November 2010 on orders of the President.

Author imprisoned for insulting President’s wife
In March 2011, Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International is running a campaign for the author Bertrand Teyou who is serving a two-year prison sentence for ‘insulting’ President Paul Biya’s wife in his 2010 book ‘La belle de la république bananière: Chantal Biya, de la rue au palais’ (‘The belle of the banana republic: Chantal Biya, from the streets to the palace’).
An interview with Teyou in prison

Go to top
Related reading on