By Ebai Julius, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Mamfe – A meeting of the Cameroon Bar Association, Common Law chapter has been scheduled for Mamfe amidst allegations that it is called to get lawyers back to court, move that will undermine the 11 month Southern Cameroons uprising in which they are calling for total restoration of their independence.
A statement from the Mamfe Divisional Officer declaring permission for the meeting, reads in part, “I, the undersigned Mochi Johnson Malafa, Divisional Officer for Mamfe Subdivision acknowledge receipt of a declaration of a public meeting in Mamfe Town submitted by members of the Cameroon Bar Association resident in the Southwest and Northwest Regions, represented by Barrister Ngualem Charles, Nzoh Mboke Divine and Ebah Ntoko Justice.”
The release states further that the meeting holds on September 23 in Mamfe Town Hall premises and starts at 8a.m through 5p.m.
“Barrister Ngualem Charles and Co,” the DO statement states, “shall be responsible for maintaining law and order during the said meeting in accordance with the provisions of law No. 90/055 governing Public Meetings, Processions and Manifestations.”
At press time, The Cameroon Journal was unable to reach Barrister Ngualem for a comment on the meeting. However, several lawyers of the Common Law hinted the Journal that the main agenda of the meeting shall be to debate the suspension of the lawyers’ 11month old strike action.
The debate within the lawyers as disclosed to The Journal by some, is that the strike was allowed to drag this long only because of the arrest and detention of Barrister Agbor Balla. That since they have been released, and some of their grievances addressed, they ought to return to court.
Since the announcement of the Mamfe gathering, Common Law Lawyers have since split into two camps, those who think that the strike ought to continue and those who think it should discontinue. Explaining the break down, one of the lawyers in Limbe, told the Cameroon Journal that the division between the attorneys is based on each’s stance on the question of Federalism and complete independence.
“The agenda is completely silent as to whether lawyers will call off the strike after the meeting or not. From my own point of view, I think we will so do. Although some lawyers are for federation whilst others are for independence, we’ve all conducted ourselves in such a way that we truly don’t want to bring the issues up. However, the truth is, some lawyers will do everything possible to make sure that the political issues of our state is not left out. I read signs of these from their mails.” Our Limbe source said.
Besides the nature of state the country should assume, there is still disagreement amongst the lawyers as per the degree of redress they have received from the gov’t pertaining to the grievances they made at the beginning of the strike. “But lawyers believe that almost 90% of their worries, and this is a fact, have been solved. This explains why some want us to resume work. For what I know, the only thing that has kept lawyers home until this day is because they didn’t want to betray Balla, and now Balla has been released. Another colleague is still in the cell though, Barrister Abadem Walters, he may be the reason why lawyers will not quickly call off the strike since it would be biased to start because Balla has been released.” The Limbe lawyer told the Cameroon Journal.
Another one from Bamenda, however, has a different point of view per the degree of solutions they have received from gov’t pertaining to their initial grievances. “A good number of Civil Law trained Magistrates are still in our
courts. That is, in the Northwest and Southwest. About 40 percent of Civil Law Magistrates. The Cameroon Bar is using Bar Council members resident in the two Anglophone regions to push through their hidden agenda. Remember the president of the Cameroon Bar tried it before and failed.”
“Some colleagues are arguing that the Mamfe meeting is a ploy to frustrate the struggle. Arguments still ongoing. Colleagues have been cautioned not to discuss about the meeting in the forum because a few seconds after a bar council member published the communiqué in our fora, it was seen circulating on social media,” the Limbe lawyer told the Journal.
In the meantime, Mamfe youths have vowed that over their dead bodies would such a meeting take place in the municipality.
“The Cameroon Bar Association Meeting in Mamfe scheduled for the 23rd of September will not hold if the sole intent is to suspend the 11th Month strike without any concrete result. The town will be made ungovernable for anybody coming for that meeting. La Republique is not Known to grant permission for meetings that do not serve its interest. The town of Mamfe will not be open for this meeting.” One of the youth leaders vowed.
According to a social media post. “The meeting will not hold without the physical presence of Barrister Eyambe Elias Ebai, Barrister Harmony Bobga-mbuton and Dr. Agbor Nkongho. The days of Cameroon Bar Association are over. We are now
talking of Southern Cameroons Bar Association. Ambazonia Bar Association. We are waiting for the draft constitution of the two state federation from the Lawyers.
A committee was set up in January in Kumba to that effect. Barrister Ngualem Charles, Nzoh Mboke-Divine, Ebah Ntoko Justice who are said to be behind this meeting should be told the consequences of collecting money from Yaoundé to sell the winning struggle. The town of Mamfe will not be opened for this meeting. Restoration of our Independence is what guarantees our future as Southern Cameroonians and we shall follow through to the very end so help us God.” A statement on behalf of the youths signed by Ashu Kingsley (Prophet and Statesman) threatens.
Barrister Bobga at a meeting in Atlanta yesterday, condemned in very strong terms any plans by the lawyers to call off the strike action. He was one of those who led the charge for the formation of the Southern Cameroons Bar Council.
We will stay on the story and bring you further developments.