By Maxcel Fokwen
Common Law lawyers, January 13, booed Garga Haman Adji when he appeared uninvited at a meeting holding at the Presbyterian Youth Centre, PYC, Fiango, Kumba, Meme Division.
The former Minister of Civil Service has been assigned by President Biya to mediate in the on-going strike being observed by Common Law lawyers and teachers’ trade unions.
Garga had surprised the lawyers while at their meeting. The unannounced visit by Biya’s envoy attracted boos from the lawyers.
Right from the entrance into the event venue, hundreds of motorcycle taxi riders almost stopped Garga from accessing the lawyers’ meeting. It took the lawyers several minutes of reflection to decide whether to grant him audience or not.
The former Minister will later be allowed into the hall after sitting outside.
After stating his mission, the lawyers asked Garga to step out since he was not invited to their discussions.
Later, however, he had a brief, but difficult discussion with the Common Law lawyers.
Speaking to reporters hours after the encounter, Garga said in the course of his visits to Bamenda, Mamfe and Kumba, he has seen that what the population wants is federation.
He said he is still waiting for the terms of the federation before heading back to President Biya who assigned him.
He also assured reporters that he was going to report to the President the exact happenings on the field to enable Biya take a decision on the Anglophone Problem.
Common Law Bar Without Affiliation
While announcing the putting in place of a bureau of the Common Law Lawyers Bar, Barrister Bobga Harmony Mbuton justified the context over fears that it must be affiliated to a country.
“As a transitional measure, we are also asserting ourselves within the status quo.
That is because we are also pursuing the federation option which if they reject we fall back on the restoration of our statehood, which at that time will provide an enabling law on legal practice and that will be the basis of the Common Law Bar.
“And I can tell you like on the football field, when the ball comes to you and you are kicking, you don’t ask your colleague if he/she wants to kick. There is something that happens with legality.
When you acquire legitimacy, that legitimacy legally transforms into legality if you are operating on the truth and we say we are operating on the truth of the law constitutionally.
We have put a matter in the Constitutional Council that the Government should show us the act of union absent that we are legal,” said Bobga.
He added that they are legitimate because “our population has supported us that we were right to have done research and brought forth the truth.
If you go to a lake and mistakenly pour ‘gamalin’, you will see how all the fishes inside will come up.”
Vow To Deliver
Emerging from the meeting, the President of the Northwest Lawyers’ Association, Barrister Bobga Harmony, re-echoed the stance of the lawyers.
“Essentially, we came here to validate the creation of the Common Law Bar and we have set a bureau for this Bar to go operational and be a platform for canvassing the issues that confront the lawyers in collaboration with the Consortium that regroups people from other traits in life.
Together, we are going to be fighting from a professional angle and a general angle to ensure that the restorations of the cherished values of Southern Cameroonians are secured,” Bobga.
He went on, “We as gentlemen do remain open to dialogue, but we are not going to sacrifice an inch of our position because we have had endorsement from the community and that has pushed us into the position of fighting for the entire Southern Cameroons community.
We are committed to delivering and with God on our side, we are going to deliver.
“We don’t have a problem with Mr. Garga as an individual, but the fact that the President can meet the Minister in a cocktail meeting and tell him to come and see us without any written mandate is reinforcing the insult on Southern Cameroonians as some disposable issue that they can send anybody to come and talk to us at any time.”
According to Bobga, this act also despises the Prime Minister who is Head of Government and had been mandated and had actually come up with a Prime Ministerial decree putting in place and ad hoc commission.
“This act between the former Minister and the President of the Republic is such gross disrespect on the people of Southern Cameroons. Whether we look at it from the perspective of the Prime Minister or lawyers, we can assure you God is in control.
“I believe that all these errors that Mr Biya is making is ordained from heaven. We pray that more errors must be made to prove to the world that they don’t see us seriously.
The world should take us seriously because we are working on the foundation of truth,” said Bobga.
He added, “All Southern Cameroonians want that our Common Law system should be respected. Our courts should be manned and run by magistrates who are trained in Common Law.
Our lawyers should not be lumped into the bar and lose their identity like a cube of sugar in a bucket of water.
This time, the cube of sugar is actually a crystal ball that does not dissolve even in acid. There has to be proper respect and recognition of Southern Cameroonians.
“We believe that we are really bending over to negotiate for a Federal System to ensure our coexistence.
This is even a middle course because if we apply legality, it is a question of restoring the Statehood of Southern Cameroons by bringing the British Government and the Government of the Republic of Cameroon as people who have perpetrated continuous trespass on the territory of Southern Cameroons.”
“Under UN resolution XVI, Southern Cameroons was handed to Britain to build up into an independent nation and the British Ambassador to the newly independent Republic of Southern Cameroons at Tiko Airport without clearance from the West Cameroon House of Assembly handed over on September 30 the sovereignty of Southern Cameroon to his Excellency Ahmadou Ahidjo of blessed memory.
“So on October 1 that we all are claiming we were independent; we did not have any sovereignty to back our claim. We had already been traded as slaves. Our teachers at that time functioned in their capacity.
It had to take time for this number of lawyers that you see to be trained. Now we have an army of lawyers that does not carry Kalashnikov.
We are going to use these brains to drill holes in the minds of the dry brains that fight us until it will be watered and start producing the results of our liberty,” the NOWELA President further explained.
Personality Cult May Split Lawyers
At the close of the Kumba meeting, news went round that lawyers were complaining that some of their colleagues were stealing the show.
Some reportedly refused to be interviewed because others had talked to the press before them.
The confusion over who was mandated to talk to journalists after the meeting is said to be the reason why resolutions of the meeting failed to reach the press.
Lawyers with Francophone Links Absent
Meanwhile, despite the presence of prominent Common Law lawyers in Kumba, none of their Francophone colleagues showed up.
Familiar lawyers of Francophone extraction in Buea, Limbe and Kumba with a purely Common Law orientation were absent at Saturday’s conclave.