Anglophone Cameroonians can now begin to ask a question akin to that which the apostles asked Jesus Christ; “To whom shall we go?” because they don’t know who to trust anymore to lead their cause for a federated Cameroon or a separation from La Republique du Cameroun. Anglophone Cameroonians thought it was time to join the peaceful strike action of the Cameroon Common Law Lawyers since they hold lawyers in esteem and trusted their leadership.
The Common Law Lawyers in Cameroon have been on strike for more than a week now. As they marched on the streets they carried with them placards and posters that appealed to the consciences of Anglophone Cameroonians. One of the calls read “Anglophones should stand up to save the Anglo-Saxon English system of education from complete eradication. Only a two-state federation or outright independence can save the Common Law and Anglophones.”
That was a good start which up until now has captured the minds of the Anglophone Cameroonians who understand the malice they face in a masked colonisation since 1961. Some even say that the poor turnout during the 2018 FIFA world cup qualifier match between Cameroon and Zambia in Limbe, Cameroon last Saturday, November 12, 2016, was because people were ready to support the fight with the social media call #BoycottAFCON2016.
Were the Common lawyers honest when they were calling Anglophone Cameroonians to join them? That’s the question many youths who had plans to join the strike action are asking, especially on social media. According to Baretanews four representatives of the Common Law Lawyers from the North West and South West Regions had a meeting in Yaounde on Tuesday 15, November 2016 with some members of parliament and came up with the following recommendations.
1. Parliamentarians shall strongly condemn the maltreatment of lawyers during the strike action in the north and southwest regions;
2. An independent parliamentary commission of enquiry should be set up to ascertain the circumstances of the attack on lawyers in the north west and south west regions;
3. The law n° 90/059 of 19th December 1990 organizing practice at the bar be amended to reflect the creation of a common law bar association and other provisions to that may necessitate amendments;
4. That all officials who directly or indirectly contributed towards the attack of lawyers in the north and southwest regions be sanctioned.
5. Request the immediate uplifting of the ban of Northwest lawyers association (NOWELA) and meme lawyers association (MELA) and the decision suspending the activities of the famous lawyers association (FAKLA);
6. Magistrate, Court Registrars and Bailiffs should be deployed nationwide according to their legal background;
7. Immediate return of lawyers wigs and gowns, and other personal effects that were seized from lawyers;
8. Compensate victims of the attack;
9. Call for an enlarged meeting with justice sector stakeholders;
10. Simultaneous publication of laws in both English and French;
11. Enactment of a labour code which punishes those who violate its application;
12. Creation of a law school;
13. Creation of a common law bench at the supreme Court;
14. Creation of a common law department in ENAM;
15. Include lawyers of both legal systems into the higher judicial council.
Nothing in the above recommendations mentions Federalism or even separation. Sadly again they say in the communique below that the strike will continue. Do they think Anglophone Cameroonians are very dumb not to know they were out only for their sake?
Just when the strike is about to gain momentum there seems to some deviation from the call the lawyers made when they asked that the people should join them to settle either for a federal system of governance or secession from La Republique du Cameroun.
The teachers had plans to join the strike action from the 21st of November and the Taxi drivers and Commercial Bikers also promised to join the lawyers and teachers to decry the marginalisation Anglophones face in the country. There are still other groups and trade unions that were getting ready to add their voices to the struggle. Will these groups be joining the strike action after being aware of the outcomes of the Tuesday meeting? No one is sure yet
With the above communique and recommendations of the Cameroon Common Law Lawyers, one is not sure they are fighting for the general interest. They need to do something better to convince Anglophone Cameroonians that they are fighting for and with them or else everything will end in a fiasco. There’s need for a plan of action and effective and committed leadership from the Common Law Lawyers regain the support of the Anglophone youths.