UNEDITED: The Message Anglophone Lawyers Sent to Biya Through Baba Danpullo

Cameroon Journal, Dec. 22, 2016

To,

The President of the Republic of Cameroon

Presidency of the Republic

Yaoundé, Cameroon

 

Through,  Alhadji Baba Danpullo

 

We, the Leaders of the Cameroon Common Law Lawyers’ Associations note and inform the President of the Republic of Cameroun, and the general public as follows:

  • The failure of government to respond to our complaints against the erosion of the common law in Cameroon, which complaints began with the resolutions of the inaugural conference of the Common Law Lawyers’ Conference held on May 9, 2015 followed by the Declarations of the second conference of February 13, 2016, running through several communiqués up till when the initiative for dialogue was opened between Lawyers and Teachers on the one side, and the  Government, represented by the Prime Minister and Head of Government on the other side, which regrettably ended in a stalemate because the Prime Minister believes and acts over dialogue as a process for dictating to the opposing party government’s position  that must be swallowed hook, line, and sinker;
  • The Attitude of government, through its various representatives, reveals insensitivity that feeds from a constructed culture of fear in the psyche of the governed which has in recent times witnessed a crack from the inspired, courageous, and executed disposition of Lawyers to throw off the glass ceiling of fear and assertion of their rights;
  • The ice-breaking action of Lawyers and Teachers and the government’s unfortunate approach of down playing them, has led to several other groups raising their own issues leading to identification and pursuit of not just sectoral solutions but a holistic framework that assures sustainability of the solicited corrective measures. This has entailed a search back into the constitutional history that reveals the root of all the problems with which we are now confronted in the failure of a projected Two-State Federal Constitutional Foundation for the Union between “La Republiqué du Cameroun” and the United Nations-British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons;
  • Socio-political issues like the irresponsivity of government to complaints of the governed, fuels the growth of the problems horizontally and vertically. This is exactly how the problems that were initially restricted to Lawyers and Teachers have been neglected to grow rapidly and understandably to attract more persons with similar grievances from the wider society, and indeed factored into the solution of the same enabling and sustaining constitutional frame work identified as a two-State Federation;
  • While silence on the part of government to issues raised by professional groupings was bad enough, it is worse that government security forces should have been unleashed and permitted to embark on killings and maiming of unarmed civilians in Buea, Bamenda, Kumba, and elsewhere, within the Regions of North West, and South West;
  • We recall that CPDM Parliamentarians of the North West, and South West, Regions in an unprecedented manner took cognizance of the negative silence that had followed our complaints and which had pushed us to engage peaceful demonstration to attract a response and invited us to a dialogue session which began to opened the doors to concrete response by way of dialogue designed to resolve our issues, indeed ignited government’s action into dialogue which unfortunately was mismanaged by a talk down approached on us;
  • The above points reveal that there is a grave systemic problem with the constitutional framework and governance reflexes which require urgent programmed attention wherein some issues need to be dealt with immediately while others can be subjects of discussions within a sincere and transparent dialogue process spread into the medium term and the long term.

 

Against the foregoing background and informed by the constructive dialogue to which our North West Elite, Alhadji Baba Danpullo invited our Leadership to as a private initiative to thaw the impasse created by the failed attempt at dialogue with some government officials, we present hereunder the responses expected of government for a focused and productive dialogue with an eye on the time lined framework that would assure sustenance of the results therefrom.

 

  1. SHORT TERM MEASURE NECESSARY TO ASSUAGE THE PAIN AND SUFFERING OF CAMEROON COMMON LAW LAWYERS

 

No. COMPLAINT CURRENT RESPONSE SOLICITED RESPONSE
01 Mistreatment of Lawyers by Security Forces in Bamenda and Buea on the 8th and 10th of November 2016 Despite repeated reminders, there has been no government response to the outrageous mistreatments and desecration of Lawyers Unequivocal Government condemnation of acts of brutality and dishonor perpetrated on lawyers, accompanied by an unqualified apology.

 

02 Request for criminal investigation into the attendant criminal acts perpetrated on Lawyers and university Students and unarmed civilians in Buea, Bamenda, Muyuka, and Kumba between the 8Th of November 2016, and the 10th of December 2016 At the failed dialogue session with His Excellency the Prime Minister and Head of Government held at Ayaba Hotel on the 26th November 2016, His Excellency declared to us that it was not within his competence to set up the requested Commission of Inquiry and that it was the exclusive preserve of the Head of State.

 

The setting up of an Independent Presidential Commission of Inquiry which will follow up the implementation of the outcome of the inquiry.

 

Prosecution of all persons found responsible for the offences investigated and established as having been committed.

03 Request for the recognition of the recently created Cameroon Common Law Bar Association as a sub-set of the Cameroon Bar Association to serve as a bastion for the security of the Common Law juridico-cultural sub-system.

 

Cameroon Common Law Bar Association was blindly derided by Prime Minister Yang Philomen as a separatist as opposed to a complimentary and reinforcing move and therefore not such as can be accommodated by his government.

 

The Common Law Bar Association should be recognized given that it bears the reality of the much talked about bi-jural nature of Cameroon legal system through which the Cameroon Common Law Lawyers can preserve the common law and actively contribute to the equitable development of harmonized national, regional and international law in Cameroon.

 

Preparation for and prompt amendment of Law 90/059

Of 19th December 1990, Organizing Practice at the Cameroon Bar to accommodate the Cameroon Common Law Bar Association.

 

 

04 Request for the immediate upliftment of the ban on the activities of three of the four constituent Common Law lawyers’ Association of Fako Lawyers’ Association (FAKLA), Meme Lawyers’ Association (MELA), and North West Lawyers’ Association (NOWELA). No action has been taken as of date, instead the Prime Minister insisted to Lawyers’ representatives that the bans had to be respected because there were administrative acts which he would not get into. There should be directives to the Minister of State in Charge of Territorial Administration to order an upliftment of the subsisting bans on all the currently affected Common Law Lawyers’ Associations in order to pave the way for briefing and debriefing leaders and members of the Associations for enhancement and legitimization of the engaged dialogue process.

 

05 Request that the Magistrates Registrars, and Bailiffs of Civil Law backgrounds should be redeployed in consonance with their legal backgrounds from the common Law jurisdictions of the North West, and South West, Regions, to the Civil Law jurisdictions of the rest of the Regions, and vice versa,  for optimal performance and judicial integrity.

 

No Response yet. With the understanding that the bench Magistrates can only be moved upon a decision of the Higher judicial Council, those of the Legal department should immediately be redeployed while the Higher judicial Council should hold in not too distant future for completion of the requested redeployment with a similar movement of the Bench Magistrates.

 

  1. MEDIUM TERM MEASURES NECESSARY TO GAURANTEE THE SECURITY OF THE CAMEROON COMMON LAW SYSTEM

 

No. COMPLAINT CURRENT RESPONSE SOLICITED RESPONSE
01 Absence of a Common Law Chamber at the Supreme Court Non Setting up of an ad Hoc Commission for the background studies with Common Law Lawyers, and eventual creation of a Common Law Chambers within the Supreme Court.

 

02 Absence of a Law Review and Reform Commission Non Establishment of a National Law Review and Reform Commission by an Act of Parliament.

 

03 Absence of a Common Law Department in the National School of Administration and Magistracy Non A review of the curriculum for training of Magistrates at the School of Administration and Magistracy to reflect Cameroon’s Bi-Jural Character by establishment of a Common Law Division of the school

 

 

04 Absence of a Law School Non That an enabling law be passed for the creation of a National Law School for training of Lawyers for the common Law and civil Law system with a common induction into comparative law practice.  This may be complimented by a clause in such law for the possibility of private initiative in the same area.

 

 

  1. LONG TERM MEASURES NECESSARY TO GAURANTEE THE SECURITY OF THE CAMEROON COMMON LAW SYSTEM

 

No. COMPLAINT CURRENT RESPONSE SOLICITED RESPONSE
01 Affirmative action informed development Policies to back-roll iniquities visited on “Anglophones” since 1972. Yet to be accepted in legal discourse Necessary for reassurance that the union is genuinely for the benefit of parties thereto.

 

 

02 The abandonment of the Federal Constitutional Foundation for the Union between “La République du Cameroon” that became independent from France on January 1, 1960, and Southern Cameroons that gained her on independence (by opting to join “La République du Cameroon”) on October 1, 1961 through inconclusiveness of the projected but uncompleted “Foumban Constitutional Conference”, later followed by progressive amendments of the constitution of “La République du Cameroon” through a United Republic and ultimately a return to “La République du Cameroon” constitution, accounts for a constitutional void that renders any act towards securizing the common law unsustainable.

 

Vehemently rejected as a taboo topic. Encourage the State through the Head of State to give the corrective constitutional foundation idea based on the constitutional history of the two states that came together and engaged into a union experiment, to be revisited as an assuring measure for mutual recognition and respect for a genuinely united Cameroon anchored on a rock-solid and sustainable foundation of a Constitutional ACT OF UNION.

 

 

DONE AT BAMENDA THIS 12TH DECEMBER 2016

 

 

FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE LEADERS OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSOCIATIONS OF CAMEROON COMMON LAW LAWYERS

 

 

 

_____________________________                                                            _____________________________

Harmony Bobga Mbuton (Esq.)                                                                                      Trumbe Sopseh épse Ngangjoh B.

President North West Lawyers’ Association                                                                               President Manyu Lawyers’ Association

(NOWELA)                                                                                                                           (MALA)

 

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