Almost 2 years ago, the association of Cameroon Anglophone lawyers wrote a letter to the President. Be reminded that I am not referring to the lawyers as Southern Cameroons lawyers because they are not protesting under that banner. The President of the Republic, with his usual pride and arrogance, refused to address the lawyers’ concerns. The lawyers were angry but at the same time, with patience, caution and intelligence, sent an ultimatum to the President, warning the President of a major consequence if he (the President) refused to act responsibly. The President ignored the lawyers’ grievances.
Disrespectful and Irresponsible President
By refusing to address the concerns of the lawyers, the President has been extremely disrespectful to the lawyers, to Cameroonians and to the constitution of Cameroon. Now the President has himself to blame. He has to pay the. A high price, he must pay.
You cannot treat the lawyers as a bunch of ignorant and low-minded individuals with no sense of purpose. It’s been long over-due, Mr President! You have tested their patience for far too long. The lawyers gave you the opportunity to act responsibly and you deliberately refused to act responsibly, because acting responsibly is an alien practice to you.
Motion of Support
After a very long time, English-speaking Cameroonians at home and abroad have strongly and consistently expressed their support to the Common Law Lawyers’ cause. English-speaking Cameroonians have equally expressed their anger at those who intended to undermine the Common Law Lawyers’ position. It can be seen that when a group of individuals are united for a just cause, the individuals get the ‘back’ of the masses. This is not a fight that will benefit the lawyers only. The lawyers are fighting for the people. They are fighting on our behalf. The lawyers are fighting a corrupt, repressive, irresponsible, arrogant, bias and manipulative regime. The Common Law Lawyers absolutely need our support. The support the lawyers have been getting from average Cameroonians is incredible. In fact, Anglophone teachers openly expressed their support to the Common Law Lawyers.
Down the Memory Lane!
In the 1990s for example, the regime fought so hard to stop Anglophone teachers from creating the GCE Board. Anglophone teachers stood their grounds. They were united, strategic, determined, courageous and consistent with their efforts. We got the GCE Board finally. Without the GCE Board, the regime would have swallowed our Anglo-Saxon education by now, forcing us to accept the French educational system. They were gradually, and are still preparing to impose French language on us. They are doing everything to impose their system at our universities. It took the courage of Anglophone university lecturers to openly and strongly tell Fame Ndongo that Anglophone lecturers and parents would not be dancing to Fame Ndongo’s Bikutsi. SYNES refused to subscribe to Ndongo’s ideas of assimilation.
To the Common Law Lawyers, this is your time. There is no turning back at this moment. It’s either NOW or NEVER.
If an individual had the guts to evict the King from his hotel in Geneva, then I do not see how 700 Anglophone lawyers with the titled of ‘Learned Colleagues’ cannot force their way through and get what they want from an ailing King. The King had undermined you guys. The king is frail. You guys are not ignorant fools as some people think. You guys are younger than that Massa. You are strong, supposedly educated and informed citizens. You belong to a noble profession. Lawyers are respected all over the world except in Cameroon. Maybe, it’s because most of you gradually and within the course of the past 26 years, have been acting irresponsibly. This is the time to get back your lost dignity. The OHADA Act must be used to get you back on track and to tell the King that, you guys are now playing a different ball. If a group of 700 lawyers cannot stand up to the regime and be listened to, then those lawyers certainly were educated inside the Etoudi Palace. If you are firm, united and strategic, you will get it. Mind you, you have the people’s ‘back’. Keep the pressure high. Don’t take off your foot from the accelerator. The guy is no KING-KONG.
By Callistus Funjong