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Friends, Family, Judiciary Inter Justice Mwambo 

By Walter Wilson Nana

CameroonPostline — Justice Paul Evande Mwambo, who died on May 23, 2012, in Kumba, was buried in his home in Buea, Saturday, June 23 2012. A horde of friends, family members and colleagues in Cameroon’s judiciary department came from far and near to bid farewell to the distinguished member of the legal profession.

At a funeral mass in honour of late Justice Mwambo, Rev. Fr. Tobias Wirmum, Parish Priest of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Buea-Town, said in his homily that it is a Christian duty to pay homage to a loved and special one, adding that in the baptism of Christ, man accepted death.

Fr. Wirmum said death has come to remind humanity that they are all one before God, no matter the circumstances of the death and the person involved. “We’ve to know God and prepare to meet Him in Heaven. God wants only what is good for us,” he advised. 

According to Fr. Wirmum, late Justice Mwambo perfectly mixed his profession and his catholic faith. He invited the Christians to pray for the deceased, saying; “That’s the best gift we can give him, nothing better than our prayers.” He will add; “Let’s use Justice Mwambo’s death as a preparation for ours and an opportunity to repent, there is not enough time on earth.”

At the close of the mass, following the tradition in the judiciary, Justice Alfred Suh, Advocate General in Buea, handed over  the wig of late Justice Mwambo to his nephew, Lucas Nyoki, a law student in the University of Yaounde II, Soa. It is hoped that the deceased will one day be replaced by this family member in the judiciary.

Solemn Judicial Honours

Earlier at the Temple of Justice Hall in the Buea Appeal Court, Justice James Agbor of the Bamenda High Court, classmate to the deceased and member of the 1988 graduation batch of ENAM – JUDICIAL DIVISION, described Justice Mwambo as a firm Magistrate, with integrity.

He saw in the deceased an exceptional social mixer, fondly remembered as ‘the show boy of their batch.’ Justice Agbor prayed that the management of the estate of the deceased should be done in the best interest of the family and the six children left behind, noting that Justice Mwambo was not married.

Justice Theophilus Tatsi, Vice Secretary of the Association of Judges & Magistrates in Cameroon, an affiliate of the Commonwealth Magistrates & Judges Association, CMJ, said Justice Mwambo contributed, relentlessly in the progress of CMJ in Cameroon, while advocating for judicial activism and ethics.

Before he died, Justice Mwambo was the CMJ Vice President for West Africa. Justice Mwambo’s skilful approach to life was also shown in the Southwest Magistrates Club, SOWEMAC, as their President, Justice Abednego Bea Kalla, now a Judge of the Special Court in Yaounde mentioned.

“Justice Mwambo was a founding member of SOWEMAC in 1999 and he served the group with such dexterity. He excelled in the activities of SOWEMAC,” Justice Kalla said. The President of the Buea Appeal Court, Chief Justice Lucy Asuagbor, said Justice Mwambo’s contributions to the law in Cameroon is invaluable, while highlighting that he was a prolific writer on various aspects of the law, especially in the Commonwealth.

Bio-data

Evande Mwambo was born on July 7, 1959, in Buea-Town to Karl Ewumbua Evande, deceased and Julie Namondo Ikomey, still alive. In 1973, Evande passed his First School Leaving Certificate examination at the Roman Catholic Mission School, RCM, Buea-Town. He will study at home for the subsequent years for the GCE Ordinary Level, which he passed in 1979.

He proceeded to Bilingual Grammar School, BGS, Molyko, Buea for high school. In 1981, he made the GCE Advanced Level examination in three papers as a student in the arts department. The then University of Yaounde will be his next stop and in 1982, Evande settled at the Faculty of Laws & Economic Sciences, Department of English Private Law. In 1985, he graduated with a first degree.

This paved the way for him to sit for and pass the entrance examination into the National School of Magistracy and Administration, ENAM in 1986. He enrolled into the Department of Magistracy, studied for two years and graduated with a post-graduate diploma in Magistracy. This will be followed by an internship programme that took him to the courts in Bamenda.

After his Bamenda sojourn as an intern, Evande was appointed Substitute State Counsel in Tombel, Kupe-Muanengouba Division. From Tombel, he was redeployed to Bamenda as an attaché in the Procureur General’s Chambers. From Bamenda, Magistrate Evande will be transferred to Kumbo, headquarter of Bui Division, Northwest Region as the State Counsel. After the Kumbo, he was moved to Limbe as Senior State Counsel. From Limbe, he was sent back to Bamenda as Advocate General in the Bamenda High Court. Justice Evande will leave Bamenda for Kumba as President of the High Court.

In the recent appointments carried out in the Justice Ministry, Justice Evande, 52, was appointed Sub Director in charge of Follow-up of Lawyers. Before death came snatching him, he was due to take up his new responsibilities on Friday, May 25, 2012, in Yaounde. It will be recalled, according to family sources, Justice Evande died in the early hours of Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at Eben Clinic in Kumba, Meme Division, Southwest Region, after a brief illness.

On Tuesday, May 22, Justice Evande had handed over to Justice George Gang as the President of the Kumba High Court, following recent appointments in the Ministry of Justice and Keeper of the Seals. The snappy handing over ceremony ended with a lunch at Vianello Hotel, Kumba, where the incoming and outgoing officials shared with their friends and close collaborators.

They will all retire to their respective homes and destinations, when, later on in the closing hours of May 22, Evande, while at his Kumba residence, developed a malaise, drove himself, alongside a family member to the Eben Clinic for medical attention. While receiving treatment, he gave up the ghost. The deceased was never married but leaves behind six children (four boys and two girls), family members , colleagues in the Cameroon judiciary department and out of Cameroon to mourn him.

His elder brother, Samuel Lysonge Motomby remembers a younger brother who was such a likable and sociable person. “Justice Evande was always ready to help, without details of who you are or where you are coming from. He was a sponsor of underprivileged children in and out of Cameroon. He did not carry his professional tag on his fore head,” he said.

First Published in The Post No 1353

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