Understanding the Common Law Lawyers Strike: Barrister Bobga Diagnosis
At the close of over fifty years of independence, which we of the erstwhile British Southern Cameroons were screwed up to accede to, “by joining, either La République du Cameroun or the Federal Republic of Nigeria” which both had their own unconditional independence on January 1, 1960, and October 1, 1960, respectively, we came to the realization that we had simply been taken for a ride by “La République du Cameroun”, which despite all pretentious pronouncements and proffered commitments, had manipulated our unwitting political leaders of the yester-years, effectively and progressively executed a secret grand design of neo-colonization against us, in compromise of our right as a people, to self-determination.
The wicked design of colonizing the peoples of erstwhile Southern Cameroons readily manifested itself in the areas of the legislature, public/territorial administration, from the early years beginning from the early 70s. Meanwhile, conscious of the sensitivity of the area of law and justice, a much slower and surreptitious approach was adopted culminating in a rendering of our cherish common law juridico-cultural system an endangered species of law tipping into extinction from the early 2000s.
Having come to the realization that we were virtually moving naked as far as our common law system was concerned in Cameroon, we quickly awoke and reviewed the conduct of the Cameroon government towards the common Law System, and decided to hold an authorized public meeting of Common Law Lawyers christened Cameroon Common Law Lawyers’ Inaugural Conference in Bamenda on the 9th day of May 2015. At the said Conference, we deliberated on the predicament of our cherished common law juridico-cultural system and came out with a salvage plan.
This plan was laid out in the resolutions, and proposals for a new direction, in the Justice and related areas. These resolutions and proposals were served on Government within a month of their being taken against acknowledgments of receipt. As at close of the month of January 2016, we had received no concrete reaction from Government. Sensing an unfortunate posturing from government by its silence, the Leaders (Presidents) of the constituent Associations of the Common Law Conference came together and issued a yet another olive branch embodied in a Communiqué addressed to the President of the Republic of Cameroon to government calling for a listening ear to our complaints and demands, dated the 6th day of October 2016.
On the 12th day of July 2016, haven noticed the insensitivity of the Executive Arm of government, the Secretary General of the Common Law Lawyers’ Council, acting for Members of the Cameroon Bar association of the Common Law Extraction filed a petition before the Constitutional Council of Cameroon for a judicial redress of the problems the Common Law Lawyers had sought a peaceful resolution by the Executive without success.
To date, we are yet to received notification of setting down for hearing. In our characteristic gentlemanly disposition, we had our second Common Law Conference in Buea on the 13th February 2016, and at its close, made reminder declarations which were, again, duly served on government. Characteristically, as of date, our said Buea declarations have received no response whatsoever from the government.
Conscious and aggrieved by government’s deliberate attitude of “we do not care!” or better still,“destructive silence”, consistently meted out on us, while issuing our Communiqué of the 6th day of October 2016, pointedly to the President of “La Republique du Cameroun”, we decided and proceeded to spice our very serious and urgent Communique regarding the issues touching and concerning the security of the common law, with a sit-in strike.
We have renewed the sit-in strike twice and in the second renewal, we made the continuation of the strike to be indefinite subject to conditions under our strict control. While the government has remained in its unrepentant attitude of anti-peace silence, and pretentious and propagation of claims of the inefficacy of our strike action, we had started living the negative effects of the strike on a government that revels in “playing the ostrich.” i.e. burying its head in sand and entering into the self-delusion that it is hiding!
In fact, the varying attempts to break the ranks of our leadership with intimidation summonses of part of the leadership by the Attorney General for the South West Region as if we were common criminals, compounded by the hiring of some hungry and inconsequential black legs and blackmailers from amongst us within the North west Region, to vocally minimize and tag our effective strike as illegal employing cheap access to Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV).
We have equally received complaints from the private journalist of arm-twisting from government Agents. All these primitive security approaches to responding to citizens complaints, betray a government slipping into panic upon receipt of an invitation from well-meaning Lawyers to dialogue over simple issues of democratic governance.
We, the Leaders of the Strike fully backed by those who gave us the mandate to lead, have also been accused of having links with the Southern Cameroons Restorationist Movements. This attempt“to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it” betrays the very low professional and intellectual quality of the Judas Iscariots recruited from amongst us. This is obvious because so far, we have been threading the path of legality and not politics. However that may be, if the Proponents of the nexus between SCNC and other restorationist Southern Cameroon Movements were to read their books properly as it ought to be done, they would understand that even those movements are not themselves illegal because, they have been recognized in international jurisdictions, as parties to disputes with La République du Cameroun appearing and represented as Respondents through to final decision.
See in this Respect Communication 266/2003, of African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights. Besides Communication 266/2003 the sealed decision of is unquestionable. There is also the pending communication 337/ before the same African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights, has already passed the phase of admissibility that was accompanied by Cameroon not succeeding any any propaganda of illegality. In the face of the foregoing there a couple of issues the public needs to be aware of. They run thus:-
1. We, the Common Law Lawyers are resolved and determined, to peaceably and firmly pursue our actions until we have the results we have demanded even if the struggle will take us to international fora.
2. We shall not bow to any form of intimidation or corrupt practices which is the stock-in-trade of the Cameroon governance culture. That virus shall never infect us. In fact we have set up a vigilante monitoring system which will furnish us with names and acts with which we shall name and shame the hungry black legs.
3. We are aware that we are not the only ones filled with revulsion against the lowest ebb of justice and corrosively bad governance culture in Cameroon which renders nostalgic, the better systems of Justice and Administration that preceded the foundationless and inconclusive experiment of a Federal union between the two states of “Southern Cameroons” and “La République du Cameroun.”
4. We are still also questioning the illegal and unjustifiable destruction of our promising economy that was sustained by the common law system. Where is Marketing Board? Where is Cameroon Bank, Powercam etc, etc. The horse is tired but still has a sound head and a vibrant voice for dialogue. Government, do not be shy, come let us reconstructively revisit “Foumban” and see if with an honest constitutional foundation we can build a union of mutual recognition and respect. Should the experiment fail, we should not hesitate to draw lessons from the SENE-GAMBIA experiment!
President of North West Lawyers’ Association (NOWELA) & Co-Leader/Organizer of the Strike Action Harmony Bobga Mbuton(Esq.)”