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When You Over Stay In Office, You Lose Your Usefulness – Ntumfor Halle 

Interviewed By Joe Dinga Pefok

The Post: Elections for new Executive Bureaux at the level of CMF Groups in the East Mungo South Presbytery are said to be over. How did they go?

Ntumfor Barrister Nico Halle: Permit me to start by thanking the pastors and elders of the different congregations, who were charged with supervising and controlling the elections at the level of their groups. The Presbytery sent delegates to the different CMF groups. We prayed to God to take control of the exercise. And, from every indication, the elections were generally free, fair, transparent, and, thus, acceptable. Let me also seize this opportunity to thank the Presbyterian Secretary, Rev Samuel Fonki, who gave the exercise the special spiritual touch that it deserved. So, the elections went through hitch free, to God’s glory. All the groups in the Presbytery now have their new Executives.

What about the elections at the level of the Presbytery?

The election at the level of the Presbytery has been scheduled to hold in Douala on Saturday, March 21. On that day, a new Executive will be elected by delegates from the different CMF Groups in the Littoral and West Regions that constitute the East Mungo South Presbytery of the PCC. The new Executive will have to run the Presbytery for the next five years as stated in the Constitution of the PCC. The five year-mandate of an Executive is renewable – once.

You are at the end of your second mandate as CMF President of the East Mungo South Presbytery. Yet, there are said to be an increasing number of CMF members who are expressing the wish for you to run for another mandate. What is your position on this?

My decision is that I will not run again. This decision is irrevocable. The decision is in conformity not only with the Constitution of the Church, but it also respects one of my life principles. I have always advocated that people should strive to share offices.

We should learn to share offices, especially in the Churches, for Churches are supposed to show the light in the society. In fact, eight years ago, when I was a member of the Constitution Committee of the PCC, I suggested that the mandate of the laity should be reduced from five to three years, renewable once, while that of the clergy should be maintained at five years renewable once. That was when I was also serving my first term as the President of the CMF of the East Mungo South Presbytery.

It is interesting that somebody occupying an elected post should be calling for a reduction of the period of the mandate…

I am convinced that it is not good to stay too long in an elected office. This is because when people stay for too long in such an office, they definitely start to lose or outlive their usefulness. I think that the shorter one stays in an elected office, the more determined he or she would be to execute his or her plan of action or vision.  I continue to hope that the proposal I made to the PCC for a reduction of the mandate for the laity to hold office, will one day be adopted.

Take the East Mungo South Presbytery, for example, there are many CMF members whom I think are competent to run for the office of the Presbytery President. As far as I am concerned, there is no justification for me to hang on to the post for long. CMF is not a profession; it is a vocation. And, anybody who is called upon to serve is empowered by God to lead. It is, therefore, irrational to think that anybody occupying the post of Presbytery President is indispensable. More so, when true Christians occupy an office in the Church, they do not only strive to serve the Church but, above all, to serve God Almighty.

What are your achievements during your 10-year mandate as CMF President of the East Mungo South Presbytery?

Well, serving God, to me, is not about showing achievements. What I can say is that I will, in the coming days, leave office as a happy man, since I think I have been able to contribute my own small quota in the enhancement of God’s work on earth. My Executive carried out a lot of spiritual capacity-building in the Presbytery. It should be noted that the Presbytery that was handed to my Executive, 10 years ago, had just a few CMF members.

Today, the CMF has grown in the Presbytery to some 2000 members. But, let me make it clear that the success story of my Executive has been thanks, partly, to the wonderful support we enjoyed from the entire East Mungo South Presbytery – and beyond.  In fact, the pastors, the elders and the laity of the Presbytery gave us all the necessary support for us to carry out our activities. The success story is also the result of team work by all the members of my Executive. And, of course, it is indisputable that the success story of my Executive in the last 10 years in office is thanks, above all, to God.  

The Moderator of the PCC, Rt. Rev. Nyansako-Ni- Nku, will also be coming to the end of his second and last term in office, this year. What is your assessment of his leadership of the PCC, for the last 10 years?

I think that the coming to the helm of the PCC by Rt. Rev Dr Nyansako-Ni-Nku, as Moderator, was a big blessing to the Church. The impact he has made for the past 10 years has been enormous. He has transcended all barriers and his prophetic voice has reached out to millions of Christians.

Rev. Dr Nyansako-Ni-Nku is a pastor with a lot of learning, spirituality, humility and respect for others. He is very kind, friendly and fatherly. He is a highly spiritual man. The Moderator has, in his own way, and, in good faith, transformed the PCC. During his tenure, more souls have been formed for Jesus. The Church has, under his leadership as Moderator, grown in leaps and bounds spiritually, to God’s glory. Also, his stance against societal ills has been very compelling and firm.

I should also happily note that Rev Dr Nyansako-Ni-Nku has been an icon not only in Cameroon, but, also, beyond.  It should be recalled that, while serving as Moderator of the PCC, he also doubled, for a number of years, as the President of the All Africa Conference of Churches, which he, also, greatly transformed. He humbly left an indelible mark of his good leadership in the All Africa Conference of Churches. His outstanding stewardship has brought a lot honour to the PCC, in particular, and our beloved country as a whole.

Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting Cameroon from March 17. Does the visit mean anything to you, considering that you are a Presbyterian Christian?

My approach to Christianity is ecumenical; my approach is global. All Christians form the Church of Christ. Whether you are Baptist, Roman Catholic or Presbyterian, we are all God’s children. God is Love. So, to me, the coming of Pope Benedict XVI is a great event that should not involve only the Roman Catholic Church but should, rather, involve the entire Christian body in Cameroon. It is ecumenism.

So, my wish is that the Christian community in Cameroon, irrespective of denominations, should embrace the Pope’s visit. The Holy Father is coming to preach God, to preach Jesus, to preach the Holy Spirit. I think that the visit is going to make a great impact on the lives of the Cameroonian people. I am very optimistic about the visit and I wish that all of us, Cameroonians, should pray that the Pope’s visit to our country be a resounding success, to God’s glory.

Your last word to CMF members of the East Mungo South Presbytery.

Let me express my profound gratitude to my fellow CMF members for standing by me for all these years that I have been in office. I call on them to give the next Executive the same support. Well, I am merely leaving a post, and, of course, I will continue, as usual, to do God’s work. Permit me to express special thanks to the PCC National Secretary for Men’s Work, Rev Ajivo, the National President of CMF, Brother Victor A. Ambe, the National Secretary for Women’s Work, Mrs Beatrice Ngeh and the National President of CWF, Mrs Justine Abeng, among others. We worked as partners. I am grateful for the tremendous collaboration and support they gave my Executive. All this enabled us to carry out our challenging mission, to God’s glory. Finally, I pray that all the other upcoming elections in the PCC, this year, should take place hitch free – to God’s glory!