Uprising Cameroonian singer/songwriter Mabel Chah aka MabSTAR appears to be in trouble after she released her strong political themed anthem “Go vote” last Thursday August 1 in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.
All attempts to reach her by phone by some friends have failed. Iroko Africa also failed to get through to her.
On her facebook page, she posts a short message that reads;
“Woooooooooww!!!! We’re No. 2 on ReverbNation World charts.
Shame those threatening me. Help us go to No.1”
So who might be threatening the 32-year-old singer?
Lapiro de Mbanga, another Cameroonian musician was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison in 2008 for helping youths to destroy state and private property following nationwide protests against constitutional changes that removed term limits on the mandate of the president. On release, Lapiro insisted he was imprisoned because of a highly critical song he wrote “”constipated constitution” that criticised the changes.
Mabel is not as well known as Lapiro but her single is equally very critical of government and she might be in hot political waters now.
Cameroonians vote in local and parliamentary elections on September 30th 2013 and MabSTAR’s new single ”Go Vote” implores all voters to use the power of their ballots.
She wants every voter to say “No” to the status quo. Cameroon’s president Paul Biya is one of the longest serving presidents on the continent and the only president MabSTAR has known all her life. She was only two years old when Mr Biya was appointed president in 1982 by former president Ahmadou Ahidjo. She is now 32!
Only Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in power for the last 33 years and Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (34 years) have been in power longer than Mr Biya’s 30 years.
In the urban hip hop sounding “No vote”, Mabel complains for 30 years, she has known the “same name, same players, same game”. She will not “…fight, won’t holler, wont’ shoot” but believes in the power of the ballot box to bring change to her country.
The chorus of the song, “Go vote, Vote no” is a call to all 7 million cameroonians of voting age to vote the present government out of power.
A day before the release of her single, the award winning singer told Iroko Africa she composed the song to ask cameroonians to:
“… use the power of their vote to change the status quo. If you’re defeated at the ballot box, well that’s democracy. You don’t resort to violence – you live to vote another day. But refusing to exercising their civic right to vote is making themselves an accomplice to a bad system”.
“It’s time to say a big fat no” she sings.
“Even if na me go Olympics I go run, run, run” she adds in pidgin English, a reference to five boxers who disappeared from the Cameroon Olympics delegation that attended the August 2012 Olympic games in London. They have since asked for political asylum in the UK.
Some analyst will not agree with her dreamy “vote for change” slogan because like Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Cameroonian government officials have perfected the art of elections rigging.
You can watch “Go vote” here.