25, January 2017
Cardinal Christian Tumi has called on the ruling CPDM government to listen to all shades of opinion in the ongoing Anglophone crisis. The 86 year old former Archbishop of Douala now retired made the declaration as guest on Radio France International on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. The renowned Prelate believes that everyone has something to say.
Reacting to the crisis that has rocked the Anglophone regions of the country over the last two months and the shutting down of internet services including the arrest of several Southern Cameroons leaders , the Cardinal said he was trying to understand both sides of the divide.
“I am trying to understand what is happening because I spent nearly thirty years of my life as priest and bishop in French-speaking Cameroon and I am from Anglophone Cameroon. I try to understand both sides. It is now young people, who have not yet become aware of reunification and have started to protest about working conditions, the conditions for living together, and they want us to go back to where we were at the beginning of reunification. That is federalism. The central power no longer wants this. So this is where we are and there is tension.”
The Roman Catholic Cardinal told RFI that the appointment of Francophone judges who do not have a mastery of the English language and who render their judgment in French is an indication that Common Law is not applied in Cameroon. The man of God pointed out that in his native constituency of Bui, the prefect, the sub-prefect and the first deputy are all Francophones, in a region that 99% of the population speak only English. The Retired Cardinal also noted that there are Francophone university lecturers who teach in the Anglo-Saxon Universities of Buea and Bamenda without having mastery of English. “There is need to reform the education system.’
Cardinal Tumi said the decision to outlaw the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium was ill advised. “Too bad. I am against any ban. Everyone has something to say, listen to them. There is no one who loves this country more than others. Even if others prefer federalism, let’s talk about it, to see what is best for everyone. When we repress, it is not a solution. We must try to convince them including those that have gone to the extreme to demand complete separation. There will always be extremists. But the majority of Anglophones want us to go back to where we were, that is, to federalism. They do not want separation, not at all.”
The Cardinal dismissed claims made by the Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary observing that federalism is not division of a country. “The current system is showing its faults, with regard to corruption everywhere and we are seeing examples in the world where federated states are progressing well. There has to be dialogue because Anglophones are also Cameroonians. With violence, nothing is built, nothing at all.”
By Rita Akana with files from CIN