“Government Was Ready to Give Us Our Demands Except Federation” – Barrister Eyambe On Meeting With Justice Minister

Laurent Esso
Justice Minister Laurent Esso

By Fred Ndango, Dec. 29, 2016
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé – It is emerging that Paul Biya’s regime is about to bend to the demands of Common Law Lawyers after all the pressure exerted on it. But the one word they don’t know how to handle and do not want to hear from the agitating teachers and Lawyers is FEDERATION or FEDERALISM.

Contention over the word first began three weeks ago in the residence of business tycoon and regime’s proponent, Alhaji Danpulo. He had hosted on the behalf of President Biya, a dialogue forum with Common Law lawyers. As related to The Cameroon Journal by one of the lawyers who was in attendance, Danpulo made it known to the lawyers that Biya had to consult him to meet with them on his behalf because the President wasn’t being told the reality of what was happening on the ground – he didn’t understand the actual demands of the teachers and lawyers. Danpulo then added according to our source that, Biya was going to grant all the demands of the lawyers, but that FEDERATION must not be on the table.

Danpulo, we gathered, brought up the FEDERATION embargo after the lawyers had insisted that the only mechanism to preserve what they are fighting for can only be found in a federal system of gov’t. That meeting rose over disagreement on this one word – FEDERALISM.

On Tuesday December 26, the word FEDERALISM was once more evoked as an aberration by the justice minister trying to negotiate an end to the crisis with Common Law Lawyers. According to Barrister Eyambe, one of the leaders ers representing the Lawyers, they got to a point during the negations where gov’t was about to cave in until the issue of FEDERATION was raised. In a write-up explaining how the negotiations went down in the Yaoundé meeting, Eyambe wrote, “government was ready to give us our demands except federation.”

Here is Barrister Eyambe’s Write Up in its Entirety

“I am minded to give you a synopsis of what has transpired since the setting up of this ad hoc committee by the Prime Minister. You all know those who were named in the committee and how Mela and Fakla were left out. On the 24th, I received a call from an attaché in the Prime Minister’s office informing me of our inclusion in the list. I considered it a non-event. Because of the teachers meeting in Bamenda on the 27th, a consortium meeting was summoned for the 26th. I left my family on Christmas day traveled to Buea and met Balla and we both left for Bamenda at 8.30 pm. We arrived Bamenda at 5pm. We had a heated meeting that lasted almost 8 hrs. It was in the said meeting that the consortium agreed that we should attend the ad hoc committee meetings in Bamenda

and Yaounde but with guidelines. We were to table a preliminary objection on certain issues and stage a walk out. Gentlemen, you all saw the communique. We were asked by the teachers to be part of an enlarged meeting with the teachers who had some issues to sought out. Because the meeting rose late the communique of the consortium could not be ready that same day. We had to travel to Yaounde early morning at 3am. The ad hoc meeting started late because we arrived late and those who were there informed the minister that the meeting cannot start without Balla and myself. When the meeting commenced we raised the Preliminary Objection (PO) agreed on by the consortium orally because we could not have the written resolution of the consortium. All common law lawyers spoke on the PO like one man. We told the minister the meeting cannot continue until the composition of the committee is adjusted to our satisfaction, the children who are under arrest released unconditionally, the ban on Mela, Fakla and Nowela uplifted and many others.

The meeting rose for a break because the minister wanted to make some consultations. We could not stage a walk out as planned because the government was bending towards our pressure. We were in contact with the other members of the consortium with regards to the situation.

Upon resumption the minister said the government was ready to give us our demands except federation. Meanwhile we were presented with an agenda which we amended to be able to raise the PO. The minister kept insisting on going ahead with the agenda. I am the one who kept on hammering the fact that in our Anglo-Saxon tradition once a PO is raised, the threshold issues must be ascertained before we can move forward. I moved for the meeting to be adjourned to a further date until when these issues have been resolved. Gentlemen, the minister got upset and asked me not to speak again until the end. Pressure now came from the others.

The minister excused himself for 20 mins. Upon return he conceded to my motion but pleaded that we adjourn to this morning. As I post there are words that the children arrested and taken to Yaoundé are being released.
When we resume today, we have our next plan of action which I cannot post here for security reasons.

Gentlemen, I took this pains to give you these details because I want you to trust and believe in your leaders.

The strike continues and there are no plans to call it off despite the fact that the government seems to be playing into our game. We shall soon get on the negotiations table where the topic will be FEDERALISM.” Wrote Barrister Eyambe.




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