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Barrister Kameni Fires Back: Lawyers Protest Is Illegal



When I hear this beautiful rubbishing of my person and strong insults from one Mr. Buriya I applaud how we apprehend and approve of different opinions. I schooled in Sasse and my education will never permit me to use such beautiful but pungent words in the person of a colleague. For someone crying for democracy but yet so intolerant to accept the views of others to instead shout at others to stay quite to the hearing of all who applaud same. Well, I think it is time for me to talk.

I find it incumbent on me to finally say something after the multitude of accusations and insults of people being myopic and irresponsible. I will say first of all that this so-called strike, which gained popularity ,to my mind is illegal. This does not mean the issues are not salient. I am a member of the Cameroon Bar-headed by the Bâtonnier Ngnie Kamga and Nico Halle as President of the General Assembly, The Cameroon Common Law lawyers Conference headed by Senior Barrister Etabesong Junior, Coalition of the Willing headed by my humble self, Bamileke Lawyers association headed by Senior Barrister Talla and Fako Lawyers Association headed by Senior Barrister Nkongho Félix Agbor. None of these associations ordered for any protest action.

What is termed a strike which I prefer to call a protest was an order by 4 persons who signed in the name of Common Law lawyers when the head of the common law lawyers himself was never aware of same. He said that openly on TV. Strikingly surprising enough, 3 of the 4 are executive members of the Common Law lawyers conference CCLC. Why did they not call for a common law lawyers assembly? This was rightly termed by Barrister Vérine Esembe as a Palace Coup.

The protest moved from a lawyers issue to very shocking declarations; how can lawyers be in Bamenda saying they are writing a memorandum to President Biya to address lawyers worries and call for a strike at the same time? When did the letter reach Mr Biya? When did he refuse to respond? Why a strike when you know he has not received the letter?
On the same day of the declaration, Senior Barrister Bobga Harmony said on TV that after the strike if nothing is said, they shall file an application to the supreme Court acting as the constitutional court. Surprisingly enough again, that application had been filed and received at the supreme Court on the 12th of July 2016, months before the said strike. This, my brothers, is just a cover up for personal aggrandizement. When I came out to criticize the locus standi or capacity of the signatories acting as CCLC, I find my name in all the news papers and TV talk shows in Cameroon as a black leg. In fact, the SCNC Belgium wrote to all Cameroonians NEVER to seek legal advice from Barrister John kameni.

This to me is an act by some lawyers who want to take advantage of our present predicament by engaging emotion to real issues. How on earth can a lawyer file an application to the supreme Court as ” “Mandated Representative of Lawyers of Common Law extraction of Cameroon” without mentioning the names? That flies in the face of legal practice and procedure as baseless and will the thrown out from the face of the document. Anyways as I still intimate, some the issues are salient and worth addressing but the manner and motive of its presentation do not augur well with me. In fact, since they knew that I had discovered the undertone of their game, they intimidated the entire lawyer forum and platform that all should wait for my dismissal as representative of the President of the general assembly for the southwest and when it never happened they resigned. What is the nexus?.

How does a strike for the translation of OHADA change to asking for the repatriation of Magistrates to their areas of origin to the fact that no 11th province lawyer should be consulted for legal advice despite their abilities? I would have preferred lawyers to ask for all anglophone colleagues practicing in Douala and Yaounde to come back in the anglophone area. I would have preferred us to limit ourselves to what we can achieve; we did not transfer them so the magistrates of SOWEMAC AND NOWEMAC should do that not the lawyers. Have lawyers become the tool of magistrates who do not have positions of responsibility?

My proposals have been simple, let there be a CCLC conference chaired by its chairperson or if we do not want him, we elect a new person and come out with a common resolution and not one from 4 persons who have hijacked the entire anglophone legal terrain. I do not say the protest was not respected or that some of the revendication are not genuine and worth protesting for. I am saying as a lawyer I will not adhere to illegality. I pray people learn to accept divergent opinion on issues and stop looking at the name or face but the substance of the other’s claim. I have been victimized for not adhering to an ambush. I take responsibility for my reasoning but will not ask for any Bamileke or Binshua person never to consult a colleague simply because he is not from the Western or Northwest Region. That to me will be myopic and irresponsible.

Barrister John Kameni

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