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Anglophone Lawyers Taunt Bar President Over Strike Suspension Comments 

By Isidore Abah

Common Law Lawyers have been rebuking and cursing the President of the Cameroon Bar Council, Barrister Jackson Ngnie Kamga, for his April 8 public rhetoric in Limbe that Anglophone Lawyers have resolved to don their wigs and gowns and head back to the court rooms on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

The Batoneir made the statement after emerging from a conclave in Buea with some 20 senior advocates from the Northwest and Southwest Regions, led respectively by Barristers Luke Sendze and Eta Besong Jr.

According to him, after the inner caucus deliberations with the senior advocates in Buea, the lawyers resolved to reciprocate Government action by resuming work on May 2.

“After the conclave in Buea, the lawyers, after recognising the efforts Government has made to resolve their problems, also decided to show good faith by resuming work on May 2,” Barrister Kamga had started.

However, the Bar Council President’s comments have been drawing widespread reactions from Common Law Lawyers and some Anglophone movements.

The reaction to the Bartonier’s comments was issued by the outlawed Anglophone Civil Society Consortium.

In its April 10 press release, the Consortium leaders wrote: “The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, CACSC, has taken note of a press release issued by the President of the Cameroon Bar Association, Jackson Ngnie Kamga, alleging a series of meetings with some so-called “very senior” lawyers in Bamenda and Buea, which meetings recommended that the Bar President was “hereby authorised to enter into dialogue with the Government on matters bearing on the Common Law Lawyers… and that advocates of the Southwest and Northwest Regions shall resume work on the May 2, 2017……

The Consortium wishes to remind all and sundry that Barrister Ngnie Kamga is not a Common Law Lawyer, does not know anything concerning the Common Law and is well aware of the existence of four Common Law Lawyers’ Associations into which all the said lawyers are regrouped; Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA, Meme Lawyers Association, MELA, Manyu Lawyers Association, MALA and the Northwest Lawyers Association, NOWELA, and their presidents, who were the only ones initially mandated to talk on their behalf.

That means any meeting and resolutions arrived at with any so-called “very senior” lawyers and the resolutions thereof are null and void.

Further, Barrister Ngnie Kamga is not unaware that the Common Law Lawyers had joined other civil society associations working for the restoration of the Statehood of Southern Cameroons to form the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium and made it the sole body to handle any issues with the Government – where it could become necessary.

This simply means no one, except the Consortium, through its elected representatives, some of whom are in detention and others on the run, have the power to conduct any negotiations on behalf of Common Law Lawyers.

Regarding the so-called promises made by the Government, through the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals to redeem demands made several months ago by Common Law Lawyers, the Consortium made it clear that the measures which mostly represented political promises, which could at any time be swept under the carpet, were too little and came too late.

We are calling on both national and international opinion to witness that the Biya-led regime can never be trusted at any time and instances abound to prove this point; where are the laptops promised to University students over one year today? Where is the FCFA 2 billion subvention promised to lay private and mission schools in Cameroon about five months back? Where is the ring-road Mr. Biya promised the people of the Northwest Region he would personally supervise over 22 years ago?

Thus, any reference to those promises, made worse with the inclusion of conditions, will be regarded henceforth as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the peace loving people of the Southern Cameroons and shall be tantamount to unnecessary provocation.”

On their part, the Presidents of NOWELA and MELA, Barristers Harmony Bobga and Elias Eyambe Ebai, respectively, who are both at large asserted that the Bar President has no moral authority to call off a strike he did not initiate.

According to them, the Bartonier’s outing is a desperate attempt by the Biya regime to lure them back into the courtrooms.

They described the meeting with the 20 senior advocates as “a State sponsored meeting with a group of desperate Lawyers.”

“A majority of lawyers are against this move and I reject it with every force in me,” Eyambe asserted.

Barrister Bobga further wrote “… it is not within the competence of Mr Kamga, who is not part of the Common Law Bar to speak for us. He has all along lent his support to anti-Common Law philosophy and organisation. He lacks the competence to commit us. On your behalf, I condemn and reject the dirty game whoever amongst us is party to the deal is free to go with their chosen partners. We stand by what we resolved and nothing less.”

Meanwhile, The Post in the following vox pop, sought to know from some advocates if lawyers should resume work on may 2, as demanded by the Bar President. Read their intriguing, fascinating and revealing responses on Page 6 of Print Edition No1812.

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