By Ndikum Gerald, Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – In this narration, we bring you the full text of Barrister Sama Francis’ words in a video clip that went viral in the social media in which he clandestinely appeals to Anglophone lawyers to call off their strike action and get back to court. We use the word ‘clandestinely’ because if he meant this in good fate, it was his place as senior advocate to have summoned a Common Law Lawyers’ meeting to reach consensus on the matter before voicing such a controversial call. He made the call through the media during a recent swearing in ceremony of young lawyers at the Appeals Court in Bamenda. You read and make your own conclusions.
“I will like to say that my presence at the Court of Appeal in Bamenda today, attending the swearing in ceremony of seven new advocates into the Cameroon Bar Association is an unflinching indication of my determination and availability to engage in effective and meaningful dialogue in relation to the justice component of the ongoing Anglophone crisis.
And as you know, as former President of the Cameroon Bar Association, I have been a very objective onlooker. I have been respecting the duty of reserve because I occupy a very high public office. That’s why I have always restraint myself, not withstanding all the supplications of the press to make a statement. But today, as you can see, I have come to court in my robes. I was in the Court of First Instance on Monday, I have been appearing in the Military Tribunal, I was in the Court of First Instance to defend the religious leaders who were charged to court. I have been appearing in the Military Court in Yaounde to defend the Anglophone leaders and other Anglophones who were arrested in the course of the ongoing crisis. And as I said, never wanted to make a statement. But today, I am quite convinced that at last the gov’t has shown an unconditional determination in commencing the effective implementation of the promises made with regards to the lawyers’ complaints.
Once more, I speak in relation only to the justice component . The most recent determination of the commitment to commence the implementation is the recent massive promotions, transfers and redeployment of Magistrates.
Every objective onlooker will discern therefore, that, there has been a massive redeployment of Common Law Magistrates, most of them to the Common Law jurisdiction. And a commencement of a massive redeployment of civil law magistrates to Civil Law jurisdictions.
Following the promise of the creation of a Common Law bench at the Supreme Court, and in ENAM, an and effective creation in the various state universities, I am personally overwhelmed by the fact that for the first time in the history of our country, a senior Common Law Magistrate is appointed President of the Judicial Bench of the Supreme Court.
I wish therefore to use this opportunity to state that there is need to break the ice and that’s why I’m coming out for the first time. And that there is need to re-evaluate the position of the justice sector and to take some far reaching decisions to encourage the gov’t to continue with this commencement of effective implementation of the promises made to the justice sector.
I am therefore taking personal responsibility of what I’m saying and I remain open, and I congratulate the Minister of Justice for the massive groundwork which he did in this redeployment transfers and promotions and which I can say confirmed by the Higher Judicial Council’s decision and the various Presidential degrees which we all listened to.
I think it is a massive demonstration of commencement of good will – and I hope you take my words the way I put them, that the promises made shall be fulfilled. I am therefore not going to dance the Bafia dance.
I am on the side of the People’s interest, I will be defending justice as I have been doing all along – I’m going to go to court, and I’m encouraging my colleagues who feel like me to join me to go to Court. I rarely have cases in the courts, but when I have I will come to court. And as you know, I reserve the right to change my position if I don’t see the continuity in the demonstration of goodwill by the state.
I’m equally appealing to His Excellency, the Minister of Justice, to organize the Bar part two exams so that the 1400 People’s advocates which I admitted to the Cameroon Bar, may write the Bar finals and be called to the Bar as what we have seen today. We cannot be swearing in new lawyers and not giving them the opportunity to practice.
My mentor has always reminded me, and he did today, that even when there is a conflict of misunderstanding between husband and wife, they still owe the duty, they still try to procreate – they must produce children for humanity to continue.
That’s why even in the midst of the misunderstanding, there is room and we must offer ourselves for effective dialogue which is the only solution to the problems plaguing our nation. I am therefore appealing to my colleagues to remain calm and resolute in their determination to see that all the issues that the State promised are put in place. I still want to repeat that I am convinced today that there is a clear unconditional determination on the part of gov’t to implement those promises. I look forward to the days ahead, to the Minister of Justice who is the main key player to advise gov’t to present a bill in Parliament for the amendment of the judicial organization of our country so as to create that Common Law bench at the Supreme Court, to equally work with competent ministries for the effective take off of the Common Law division in ENAM, and lastly, the thing I fought for when I was Bar President – the creation of law …”