The death of renowned Cameroonian musician Lambo Pierre Roger aka Lapiro de mbanga 55, has been linked to the refusal by prison authorities to treat his unknown ailment after it was detected while he was in prison. Lapiro died yesterday March 16 2014 after a long illness in hospital in Buffalo New York, USA.
Jacob Nguini, close friend of Lapiro and one time guitarist with Prince Nico’s Rocafil Jazz band earlier confirmed he was sick and has now confirmed his death. He is quoted as angrily saying that “ Lapiro died from an illness that was detected early in prison. A special order was given that he should not be treated. Lapiro was told about this while he was still in prison. By the time he left prison and travelled to the USA, it was a bit late to save his life. Lapiro was released because Cameroonian authorities who knew about his illness did not want him to die in prison”. A post-mortem or autopsy will establish the true cause of his death but its no clear if the results will be made public.
Lapiro de Mbanga (Ndinga Man) was sentenced to three years imprisonment in September 2008 for “complicity in the looting, destruction of property, arson, obstructing streets, degrading the public or classified property and forming illegal gatherings. He was also ordered to pay 280 million frs CFA (630.000 US Dollars. After he was released from prison, Lapiro protested his innocence saying he was sentenced because of one of his songs “Constitution constipee” in which he criticized attempts by Mr Biya to abolish term limits so he could contest the 2011 presidential elections which he was not qualified to stand otherwise. Security forces later killed more than 200 protesters in February 2008 who rose up against the proposed constitutional changes. Despite the protests, he constitution was still changed, presidential term limits limit and Mr Biya easily won the 2011 presidential elections against a shambolic and disunited opposition that again failed to get a single candidate to face Mr Biya.
Lapiro was released on April 8 2011 from the new bell prison. After his release, he was quoted as saying “Power creates monsters. If, because of a little seller of tomatoes the regime fell in Tunisia, I think that a singer can also change things in Cameroon. The Haitian President is a singer. He was later given political asylum by US authorities in September 2012 and travelled there with some members of his family.
Lapiro is author of a book titled “Politico-judicial cabal or the planned death of a freedom fighter”. He is best known for songs like “No make erreur, Overdone, Mimba wi, kop nie, Nak Pasi, Na You
He first rose to national prominence with his classic song “Pas argent pas amour” in which he took a humorous and critical look at the work of prostitutes. For more than 25 years, Lapiro criticized authorities in Cameroon in his music using streetwise language inimitable to him and that he mastered so well
One of his last public outings was when he was invited as one of the guest speakers during the Oslo Freedom Forum Sweden. Lapiro presented a very critical speech and called on international human right organizations to help expose the” ..autocratic, dictatorial and bloody regime of Paul Biya so that it stops crimes against humanity…”
Not surprisingly, social media went into overdrive with fans from around the globe paying tribute to the iconoclastic musician. He was married and father of seven children