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Northwest Lawyers Reject Francophone Judges 

By Chris Mbunwe

The Northwest Lawyers Association, NOWELA, has resolved not to allow Francophone Judges newly posted to the Region to make their submissions in French, a language which the Anglophone advocates and their clients do not understand.

The lawyers took the resolution during an extra-ordinary session on February 20, on the premises of the Mezam High Court.

The lawyers were first irked on February 17, when they discovered that most, if not all the judges, starting from the Attorney General posted to the Northwest Region, were Francophones.
The lawyers, who made appearances in Court, said they were shocked when an Advocate General from the Attorney General’s Chambers entered the Court hall through the door used by judges and in a provocative manner, greeted the judges and sat down arrogantly chewing bubble gums.

The President of the Northwest Lawyers Association, Barrister Robert Nso Fon, who briefed The Post after the meeting, said the second incident was that a lawyer was served with a submission from the Attorney General’s Chambers in French, which he refused to receive, insisting that it must be translated in English.

The third incident was that of another Advocate General from the Attorney General’s Chambers addressing the Court in French “without any attempt to express himself in English to the understanding of lawyers and litigants present.”

Fon said this attitude created uproar when one lawyer after the other addressed the Court in dissatisfaction. The Francophone judges, to worsen matter, are reported to have insinuated that Cameroon is bilingual and they are comfortable working in any language.

As a consequence, Fon said the lawyers of Northwest became very angry and observed that, “the Common Law System is gradually being eroded.
“I am telling you that there has been a systematic plan to completely wipe out the English culture,” Fon fumed.

The President of NOWELA said they are at a loss as to whether there is any legal justification for the union between La Republique du Cameroun which had independence on January 1, 1960 and which was admitted as a member state of UN on September 20, 1960, and the former British Cameroons.

According to Barrister Fon, this behaviour makes them wonder whether Cameroon spelt with (oun) can be translated because, in translation, names do not change. He argues further that, at all times, Cameroonians have been made to believe that Cameroon spelt with ‘oon’ is the translated version or the English version of Cameroun spelt with ‘oun’, which is false. To the lawyers, at all times, when La Republique was in existence, even before the union with former Southern Cameroons, the Cameroon with ‘oon’ was in existence and any union between the two Cameroons must take into consideration the culture and values of both entities.

After deliberations, the lawyers expressed the need for a language code in Cameroon to know exactly when and where English or French should be spoken in a bilingual Cameroon. They also resolved, beginning 2015, to come out with a human rights report of the Northwest Region especially, on violations perpetrated within the justice system. It was agreed that the language of communication in all the Courts of the Northwest Region, especially in the Court of Appeal, should be in English because; “It is a constitutional right as well as a minority right and Cameroon is considered Cameroon, because of our colonial past.”

All these issues and many other petitions were to be deposited at the doorsteps of the President of the Northwest Court of Appeal and her hierarchy over the weekend.

    One Response to Northwest Lawyers Reject Francophone Judges

    1. Home boy

      I am happy Anglo-Cameroonians are waking up from slumber. Guys, i hope the legal fraternity is an inspiration to many other sectors of the Cameroon Anglophone society.


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