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Cardinal Tumi Refuses To Be Baited With State Honours 

 Advises Biya Not To Seek Re-election

 Refutes State Honours Are Biya’s Peace Offering

 Maintains Biya, Tumi Are Not Enemies

By Joe Dinga Pefok

The Emeritus Archbishop of Douala, Christian Cardinal Tumi, has advised President Paul Biya not to heed to the calls by CPDM militants for him to seek re-election in 2018.

According to Cardinal Tumi, “at 80, one is physically and intellectually weakened”, as such, Biya who is 83, will certainly not have the physical and intellectual capacity to effectively perform the daunting functions of Head of State, if he is re-elected.
The Prelate reiterated his position in an interview granted to the French Language daily, La Nouvelle Expression.

The interview followed the decoration of Cardinal Tumi, in Douala, June 4, as Commander of the National Order of Valour, by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Emmanuel Sadi on behalf of President Paul Biya.

Tumi was honoured by the State during his Golden Jubilee celebration in the Priesthood.
In the interview, the Prelate reiterated that his pronouncement on Biya’s candidature is his personal opinion. “I have the right to say what I think concerns the political life of our country. After all, I am among the oldest people in this country. I was born 30 years before Cameroon’s independence,” Tumi asserted.

The Emeritus Archbishop of Douala, however said, he was not condemning Biya for the calls made by his militants. “One cannot stop the militants of a political party from proposing a presidential candidate. So the militants are free to propose Biya as their party’s candidate, but despite this, wisdom and rationality call on Biya to say no, considering his age.”

Commenting on the State honour received on June 4, Cardinal Tumi said he was taken by surprise.
“Towards the end of the Mass, I saw Emmanuel Sadi move towards the microphone and invited me to join him. To my pleasant surprise, the Minister broke the news of the medal and went ahead to decorate me in the name of the President of the Republic.

I thank the President of the Republic,” the Cardinal stated.
To Tumi, the decoration signifies the recognition of the importance of spiritual values in the training of the Cameroonian man and what he has done in Cameroon.

No Problem With President Biya

On whether the medal award was a peace offering from President Biya, Cardinal Tumi said “I find such a question strange. “The President of the Republic and I have never had a problem. People’s thoughts should be in accord with their pronouncements, for that is honesty. I am responsible for my declarations and opinions and the President knows. Whenever I write a book, I send a copy to President Biya, and his reactions have always been good.”

Cardinal Tumi enumerated some assistance which he has received from President Biya, like the Mercedes Car given to him on his appointment as Cardinal in 1988.

“I accepted the car and thanked him. When my mother died last year, President Biya made a financial assistance for the reception of people both in Kumbo and Kikaikelaki. The President also decorated my late mother posthumously, with the medal of Officer of the National Order of Merit and everybody knows what the President did for the celebration of my 50th anniversary in the Priesthood,” Tumi added.

The Emeritus Archbishop of Douala said “People need to know that I have worked with Biya when I was Chancellor of the Catholic University of Central Africa. The Bishops of Central Africa were anxious to know if Cameroon will approve the file or not. The Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea had to go and see the President of the Republic, who gave a favourable response.”

Cardinal Tumi also recalled the problem he faced with the administration when he created Radio Veritas in Douala. He admitted that he was forced to go into illegality like others, leading to a banning order, and then he appealed to President Biya.

“The first Catholic radio station in Douala, Radio Veritas, was authorised in December 2003 thanks to the intervention of the President of the Republic.

Copy of Christian Cardinal TumiI started the way everybody did. That is illegally. The radio was legally shut down by the then Minister of Communication, Prof Jacques Fame Ndongo. I wrote to Head of State to request for his arbitration. … In two or three weeks, the President of the Republic responded, authorising the re-opening of Radio Veritas.

“I equally wrote to the President to obtain authorisation for the Faculty of Medicine at the Catholic University of Cameroon. I know that he also intervened for the approval of the file.”
“All these things I have mentioned, certainly does not show that we are enemies,” Cardinal Tumi insisted.

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