Buea Mayor, Patrick Ekema, on Thursday, September 12, ordered the arrest and detention of the Council’s PRO, Oscar Lingongo Musonge, at the Molyko Police station, and when his Chief of Cabinet, Eyelle Mbella, ordered for Lingongo’s release, he was also arrested and detained.
Oscar Lingongo was arrested and detained on accusations that he was operating a scheme through which he collects money from shop owners and unseals shops that have been sealed by the council for respecting ghost towns. Other information from sources close to Oscar claims that money did not exchange hands for the shop to be unsealed.
It is alleged that the Mayor discovered that some of the shops he had previously sealed were open, and after enquiries, he came to the conclusion that Oscar Lingongo, his Public Relations Officer was behind the act. The Mayor then allegedly called the Molyko Police Station and ordered that Lingongo be immediately arrested and detained. The Commissioner did as he was told, and Lingongo was incarcerated and remanded in custody.
Chief Of Cabinet Burns Fingers Trying To Rescue Lingongo
After the Buea Council’s PRO had spent three days in detention at the Molyko Police Station, the Council’s Chief of Cabinet, Eyelle Mbella, took matters into his own hands and ordered that Lingongo be released. The Molyko Police Station proceeded to free the Council’s PRO.
News of Lingongo’s release, without authorisation from Ekema, or notification to free him, rather infuriated Mayor Ekema who accused the Chief of Cabinet of being an accomplice to Lingongo in operating back-deals and financial racketeering at the expense of the Buea Council. The Mayor, irked by this, ordered that Mbella be arrested and locked up. Eyelle Mbella thus replaced Lingongo, who he had freed at the Police cell. His own arrest came on Saturday, September 14, the day he ordered that Lingongo be freed.
Oscar Lingongo & Mayor Ekema
News of Lingongo’s arrest and detention came as a surprise to those who have been paying attention to the happenings at the Buea council. When he was recruited at the Council after being let go by MediaAfrique Radio in Buea, Lingongo demonstrated complete allegiance to Mayor Ekema for giving him a job. It was alleged that he was recruited to serve at the Council, and wasn’t appointed into any department.
It was with the resignation of the Council’s PRO, Paul Mua, that Lingongo took over, given that he had training in that domain. Lingongo, after taking office, made enemies of those he perceived as being unfriendly to the Mayor. He has, in many cases, bullied reporters for not reporting favourably about Mayor Ekema. On social media, he, on many instances, attacked reporters and critics, and will defend, to any extent, the actions of Mayor Ekema.
It is understood that, with his support for the Mayor, Lingongo might have considered himself in the big leagues of the Council, and thus moved on to seal and unseal shops on behalf of the Council; an action which irked his boss. In many cases, he has been in the caravan that moves around to seal and destroy shops in Buea, guarded by the military.