Friday, 18 March 2016


Exactly two years after (March 16 2014- March 16 2016) the widow of ace Cameroonian musical icon, Lambo Pierre Roger Sanjo  a.k.a Lapiro de Mbanga , has opened the veil on controversies surrounding the burial of her husband in the United States of America where he died.

Contrary to popular belief that the government would give him an ‘official burial’ and pretend to sympathize with his family, the widow said Lapiro was avoiding what he foresaw as bloodshed and violence in case his corpse was returned home.

The widow, Louisette Noukeu Lambo Sanjo a.k.a Winnie de Lapiro who spoke on the sidelines of a memorial serviced billed for Bufallo, USA, on March 20 2016, said there are plans for an official burial for Lapiro in Cameroon but did not say how soon.


“That was his personal decision. I tried to oppose him, but he told me that it must go as he wants. It was his wish. I was not totally in accordance with that decision but he insisted. 

He even called one of his sisters from Washington to come and witness what he was saying and wanted whenever he died. Lapiro insisted that a lot of blood has flowed in Cameroon and he did not wish that more people be killed in case his corpse was returned home. He believed the population would come out massively and there could be an uprising or anything that could lead to the killing of people.

 Lapiro argued that if the Biya government released him one day before the end of his three jail term (on April 8 instead of April 9 2011) to avoid any mass movement or celebration it could happen after his death. Remember he left prison without telling goodbye to the other detainees. The prison officials just told him to dress up and we only realized they drove him to our house in Mbanga. He said he wanted to rest in peace. 


He asked us to bury him in the US which we did,” she explained.
Winnie de Lapiro also discussed about the evolution of Cameroon, shaming the calls for President Biya to stand as presidential candidate in 2018, the scandal at Laquatinie, the fate of Laipro’s book, entitled 

Politico-Judicial Cabal or the Planned Death of a Freedom Fighter and places what she described as the premature death of Lapiro Ndinga (Guitar) man at the door steps of the Cameroonian government.


“We are in a banana republic where rights are being violated in all impunity.  I know my husband was in prison while he had cancer. If he received treatment on time he would have survived longer. 

Though he later received treatment in one of the best hospitals here in the USA it was late. He was released from prison when the cancer had eaten him up very deep. I cannot say he had cancer while in prison. The prison detention contributed 100% to the quick death of Lapiro de Mbanga 

I think the government, the medic at Newbell prison, and his accomplices refused him from going for treatment for more than a year after it was discovered he had cancer. The medical doctor finally confiscated his hospital book and never returned it. 

Though he died of cancer, he would have discovered it and treat himself on time. That is where the government bears responsibility. Lapiro himself wrote that in his book,” she argued.  She also wondered why the government was delaying the case against newbell prison officials and not respecting a UN decision.

“There is a case against the medic at Prison, Dr Amougou   and the other one in which the United Nations  asked the Cameroon government to indemnify Lapiro. Until date nothing has been done. I am yet to fully recover two years after the death of my husband. There is nothing I can do. Before he left Cameroon the case had been adjourned at least 4 times. Why are they delaying the matter?” she questioned.  


She appealed on the Cameroon government to show some remorse to Monique Koumateke’s family and the Cameroonian people in the Laquantinie hospital scandal and not try to always using force to handle problems affecting the people.

“It’s the scandal of the century. It’s very serious. And the government is trying to, as usual to use force to mount pressure on the people to listen to what they are saying. What Rose Tacke did (‘surgical operation’) was a spontaneous gesture from someone who felt the babies could be saved. 

Our country is going down the drain. The government should at times be humble before the people. How can they disperse people who are protesting peacefully over the matter?  Worst of it, the lady is thrown into prison. Fortunately her release shows that they are having a frail health system. If the government was not guilty or faulty in any way they would not have released her. 
The government has to see the realities. 

The government has to calm down its oppressive system and listen to the people. The whole country is suffering. The people are demanding nothing but to be alive. We want to get treated when we are sick, we need portable water and means to educate our children. We are not interested in knowing how much they are stealing and what they are doing with the stolen billions. What happened to Monique is just a picture of what happens all over the country.” 


Like many Cameroonians Winnie de Lapiro is strongly opposed to President Biya’s candidacy in 2018.
“Let’s be serious. Paul Biya cannot and should not accept those calls. Why should he stand again? Let him look around himself and see what he has done. People are attaching themselves to him to continue with their disorder. 

Paul Biya does not master Cameroon anymore or how things are going on. He is tired. Let him have some rest. He can’t afford to stand again. Let him be honest to himself. His children and wife, Chantal need him. The more he stays in power the more it becomes difficult for him. He has struggled enough. Let him not lose power and lose his life struggling to stay on,” Winne de Lapiro warned.


According to Lapiro’s widow, her husband’s struggle for a better Cameroon has to continue.
“Let the Cameroonian youths know that Lapiro lit a flame which is shining. They should not leave it to die. Lapiro was a brother, a friend and someone who cared about other people and our country and gave his all. 

Cameroonians know they lost an icon that brought people together and was a frank speaker. They lost the voice of the voiceless. He left his works and we have a duty to see that the struggle for a better Cameroon continues.Let me recall that Lapiro  refused to travel to the US when offered the opportunity and had to be persuaded. 

Six months after we arrived the USA he said he wanted to return to Cameroon. He wanted to return and continue the struggle and even die for the struggle. We persuaded him again and he maintained calm.

 His struggles were not finished. He died at a time the battle is getting serious. Cameroonians should. I think Cameroonians have to continue where he ended. I want Cameroonians to continue the fight he started,” she hoped expressing gratitude to those who supported her family in times of need.

“I have never seen a situation where memorials are organized for somebody all over the world when he passed on. People mourned Lapiro in SA, USA (in many towns), and England especially in Cameron. I wish to thank all those who had a thought for him and his family. The people realized he was a combatant and a hero who stood against injustice and for more freedoms” added Winnie de Lapiro.


Winnie de Lapiro said there was need to sell the idea and struggles for which her husband stood and died for.“The book project is there and we are still struggling to move on with it. He sold a few copies at $30 dollars each. I would welcome any suggestion in that direction,” she added.

                                FACT SHEET

Lambo Pierre Roger Sandjo aka LAPIRO (first two letters of each of his names) de Mbanga was born on April 7 1957 in Mbanga, Littoral Region Cameroon. Lapiro decided to leave his carpentry career for his passion in music after his advance level certificate. 

His music career took him to Nigeria, Benin, and Gabon and upon his return to Cameroon in 1985 he composed songs that spoke about the socio-economic realities of his country and the continent.

He was nicknamed Ndinga Man (the guitar man) for his savoir faire in the art. Through songs like “Mimba We” “Na You” and others he became the voice of the downtrodden in Cameroonian society until the early 1990’s.   

Lapiro de Mbanga somewhat fell out with the Cameroonian people in the early 90s when he was accused by public opinion for siding with the regime. He had called for Cameroonians to clamour for change in a peaceful manner and not resort to violence that would have plunged the country into a civil war.
 Chastised, Lapiro went silent for a while and emerged again in 2008 to denounce a proposed constitutional amendment that would give life presidency for incumbent President Biya. This was in the song "Constipation constipee" (Constipated constitution.)

Arrested in April 2008 (shortly after the 2008 February demonstrations ) Lapiro was sentenced on September 24 2008 to three years in prison after he was found guilty of complicity in looting, arson, destruction of property, charges he all denied.

He was released from prison in 2011 after which he released his last album “ Demisioner” in which he called on President Biya to resign following his failure to govern Cameroon.  Facing all forms of intimidations and threats, Lapiro, his wife and his three children sought refuge in the USA in 2012, where he finally died.

Lapiro  had more than 11 albums and won several awards including the Freedom to Create Price.


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