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Anglophone Crisis: Cardinal, Minister Trade Verbal Blows After Kwa-Kwa Bloodbath 

By Isidore Abah, Andrew Nsoseka & Joshua Boanong

Christian Cardinal Tumi

Issa Tchiroma Bakary

The Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Christian Cardinal Tumi, and the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, have been plunged into a war of words.

In an interview granted Equinox TV in Kumbo, on Sunday, January 21, the ace Clergyman warned the Government against the military option adopted to solve the current Anglophone Crisis.
To the Prelate, such military action will never solve the Anglophone Crisis.

“You don’t bring peace by violence and violence begets violence. I have heard about those destructions and killings… and I think that has to be condemned. So my opinion is simple, we as Cameroonians should respect lives and the lives of everybody,” Cardinal Tumi stated.

The erstwhile Archbishop of Douala condemned in strong terms the carnage carried out by the Military in Kwa-Kwa, a village in the Southwest Region.

“An entire village has been razed to dust by the army, it’s a reality…”
He, however, asserted that President Paul Biya may not be aware of such barbaric acts meted out on Cameroonians.

“I am sure that if the President of the Republic knew what is happening, he will condemn it. But on the contrary, they congratulate the army…”

To the Prelate only genuine dialogue can get Cameroon out of the present impasse, but expressed fear that time is running out. “In my opinion, it is getting late. If this thing was looked into, we would not have been where we are today. At the beginning they didn’t take it serious.”

On the much talk about dialogue which many regime surrogates said has been ongoing, Cardinal Tumi dismissed such claims.

“The people they sent to consult people, is not dialogue. That is not even the beginning of dialogue…dialogue will be like the tripartite, where there were observers, Government people, civil society, I was there at that time. I had just been appointed Archbishop of Douala, but I was still administering in Garoua.”

Tripartite Resolutions Not Fully Executed

In the interview, Cardinal Tumi also bemoaned that the decisions arrived at, during the Tripartite Conference were not fully implemented. “I thought that was a good thing, but, I don’t think that the decisions of the Tripartite meeting were really put into execution.”

He wondered why the President should be afraid of handling the issue the way it should be handled. To him, only Biya has the power to handle the crisis the way it should be handled.

“Are they afraid to lose power? You want to get absolute power that is not democracy. You must listen to the opponent if you want peace, and I think every politician should fight for peace in a country where he has the ambition to become the ruler tomorrow.

If you win elections and the country is in pieces you will have a problem to rule. All of us, if you don’t have peace in your heart, peace in your country, it will be an impossible country to rule” he said.

Tchiroma Hits Back, Tells Tumi To Thread With Caution

After Cardinal Tumi’s condemnation of the military crackdown in the Southwest Region, Government’s Spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma, reacted.

Speaking on France 24, on Tuesday, January 23, Tchiroma called on the Prelate to thread with caution or he could be manipulated by the Ambazonia separatists for their selfish interest.

“I have a lot of respect for Cardinal Tumi, but I will advise him to be cautious when talking about the separatists because the separatists will manipulate him as well as other religious leaders like him for their selfish reasons,” Tchiroma said.

No Negotiation With Separatists

On the Cardinal’s call for inclusive dialogue, including Southern Cameroons’ separatists, Tchiroma dismissed such suggestions, stating that Government cannot dialogue with separatists.

“Listen, we are dialoguing but not with separatists. You don’t expect the Government of Cameroon to dialogue with separatists who want to chop off part of our country,” Tchiroma said.

“Dialoguing with separatists has never been done anywhere in the world and this will not happen in Cameroon.” Tchiroma stated.