Open Letter to His Eminence, Christian Cardinal Tumi 0

Your Eminence, Christian Cardinal Tumi,

Allow me to use this opportunity to congratulate on your effort to seek a lasting solution to the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

Your Eminence, allow me to also express my gratitude to you for the positions you have always taken when there are issues facing our country, especially issues bordering on human rights violation and poverty which have a tendency to dehumanize our fellow human beings.

You have always spoken out against bad governance in Cameroon and your publications and interviews stand to attest to your love and respect for human dignity.

Regarding the All Anglophone Conference that you and your peers have decided to convene, I would like to express my total support to your effort. The conflict in Southern Cameroons has resulted in the killing of thousands of civilians and soldiers and this should not be any good news to any right-thinking person.

Human life is sacred and we all have the responsibility of protecting life. It is a shared responsibility and we all have to pull our fair share of the weight.

It is unfortunate that many have been killed in this conflict. However, I strongly believe that there is hope on the horizon. We cannot bring back those who have died, but we can work together to ensure that we do not lose more lives.

The conference you and your peers are proposing could be that trigger that might bring about a change in thinking among the warring factions. War has never solved any problem. At best, it has only made things worse.  We all should ensure that human life should not be wasted and that conflicts should be resolved at the negotiating table.

During this challenging moment, voices like yours are needed to help calm down tempers. I hope you will use your privileged position to mobilize Southern Cameroonians, many of whom are longing for peace in their country.

Many Southern Cameroonians in the Diaspora want to attend your conference. The idea is commendable and many hold that it could bring about some useful recommendations which, if well implemented, could spare the country the specter of war that is hanging over our heads.

However, they have a few concerns.  Over the last two years, the government has been arresting and jailing Southern Cameroonians living abroad when they come back home to visit their loved ones. For those who hold foreign passports, they are usually denied entry into the country. This has been a source of frustration for many members of the Southern Cameroonian Diaspora.

These measures by the government have created a rift between the government and the Southern Cameroonian Diaspora; a rift that has made it hard for the government to use these efficient resources for the economic development of our country.

As a major convener of this conference, I hope you are taking the appropriate steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur at the airports and even when the conference participants are in the country.

I would like to underscore that the Southern Cameroonian Diaspora is a major force and its weight and influence have been felt during this conflict. If members of this Diaspora are not brought to the table to share their perspective, the resolutions and recommendations of your conference may just be as good as a dead letter.

In this regard, I would like to hail your call for a general amnesty for all Southern Cameroonians living abroad and at home. Your call for the release of all those arrested within the framework of this conflict is also commendable. I know the government has not been very open to this idea. Are there any steps you and your peers are taking to ensure that the government pays heed to your call?

The Diaspora is looking forward to the resolution of these issues. Their resolution is necessary for your conference to attract some of the country’s best and brightest. Cameroon needs all its sons and daughters and a conference like the one you have convened will go a long way in bringing many factions together.

I look forward to having answers to the questions I have raised in this letter.


 Joachim Arrey

About the Author: The author of this letter has served as a translator, technical writer, journalist and editor for several international organizations and corporations across the globe. He studied communication at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and technical writing in George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. He is also a trained translator from the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters (ASTI), Buea, and holds a Ph.D. He could be reached at: