Charles Ateba Eyene, the political maverick who gave the leaders of the ruling CPDM party a constant migraine due to his nonconformist positions (he was a member of the party’s Central Committee) died on Friday at the young age of 42. Eyene had a fan base that spread across the entire political spectrum especially among the youths enamored by his anti-establishment writings and utterances. No wonder the most effusive tributes have come not from his colleagues within the CPDM but from opposition circles that would normally be indifferent to his passing.
A controversial figure whose alleged role in the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy activists in the University of Yaounde back in 1991-93 is still the subject of passionate debates today, Ateba Eyene came across as a young man in too much of a hurry to make his mark on the Cameroonian political scene, as if he had a premonition that he wasn’t going to be around for too long. For example he published over 20 books including Les paradoxes du "pays organisateur" : Élites productrices ou prédatrices : le cas de la province du sud-Cameroun à l'ère Biya (1982-2007), one of the most controversial books in recent memory [Click here for my 2009 review]