By Mua Patrick, October 18, 2016
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – In what appears to be their last pitch to get the Paul Biya gov’t to heed to the demands of Northwest and Southwest lawyers, commonly referred to as Common Law Lawyers, the men of law in both regions have in a joint communiqué issued Saturday announced a one week strike action.
The strike action which began Monday in several towns across the two Anglophone Regions comes exactly two days after the layers ended a similar protest.
The announced extension of the strike beginning yesterday, October 17, according to a joint communiqué, a copy of which The Cameroon Journal procured, is intended to mount more pressure on government to critically look into their demands and react to them appropriately, instead of what the lawyers refer to as government’s “divide and rule policy.”
The grievances of the lawyers prompting the second strike action which is expected to end Friday October 21 are addressed to President Paul Biya who has been out of the country for 32 days now.
In their statement titled “Joint Communiqué of the Leadership of the Constituent Associations of Cameroon Common Law Lawyers,” the lawyers noted; “We thankfully congratulate members of
our four Associations (FAKLA, MALA, MELA & NOWELA) for their heeding to the call to protest and observing it across the entire common law jurisdictions of the North West and South West Regions;
“After duly evaluating the strike of 11th to the 14th of October 2016, and carefully deliberating on the way forward at the local levels of our various Constituent Associations, we have synchronized the common position which provides us with a consensual platform as follows…”
In the position, the lawyers stated: “That on account to the deaf ear given to our protest strike, we have unanimously agreed to extend the strike for another working week beginning from Monday 17th to Friday 21st of October 2016.”
The communiqué, signed by representatives from the Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA, the North West Lawyers Association, NOWELA, Meme Lawyers Association, MELA and the Manyu Lawyers Association, MALA, the lawyers regret that government, instead of responding to their demands which are at the origin of the strike, is rather trying to use some of theirs to divert attention.
“Consequently, we call on our members to remain resolute, determined, steadfast and focus and not to lend themselves to any government manipulation,” said the communiqué.
In expressing their anger over government’s continuous silence on their grievances, the lawyers have also announced a crucial enlarged meeting which will take place in the days ahead to decide on the next steps to be taken should the government continue to ignore their demands.
“We shall be calling on all elected public representatives from the North West and South West Regions, to discharge their obligations to their constituencies which fall within the Common Law jurisdiction of North West and South West Regions to make their joint
statements in the protection of the legal and legitimate rights of their constituents-cum-users of the Common law in Cameroon, failing which they shall be adjudged as having compromised their representative positions vis-a-vis their constituencies” the Buea statement read in part.
Before disclosing that they will be synergizing with other Anglophone groupings in the months ahead to push forth the fight, the Common Law lawyers also enjoined members of the North West Fons’ Union to reassert and reconstitute their Union and stand up along with the South West Chiefs’ Conference, as one person, to protect the children of their respective Fondoms and Chiefdoms in their efforts to protect their constitutional rights to have the Common Law restored and protected.
“We call on our sister syndicates, with similar sectoral plights to continue pursuing their demands trusting on the support of Cameroon Common Law Lawyers in any legal pursuit of their complaints, whether separately or jointly with us until such time that we would have exhausted local remedies within the national jurisdiction.”
“We shall be synergizing with SYNES, Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union, CATTU, Teachers Association of Cameroon TAC, Traders Associations, Taxi Drivers Unions, Bus Companies, and Commercial Motorbike Riders’ Associations, as well as ‘Buyam Sellam’ Associations, across the North West and South West Regions” the communiqué further announced.
In conclusion, the lawyers pointed out that: “We are not against any personnel of the courts and consequently they are enjoined to eschew any hostility against us or our clients for they are better placed to understand the legality and legitimacy of our demands as corrective and protective measures in the recovery and rebuilding of judicial integrity and performance for the benefit of all out of our diversity.”