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Cardinal Tumi

Cameroon cardinal says France to blame for ‘Anglophone crisis’

Crux | Cardinal Christian Tumi, the archbishop emeritus of Douala, says a French government policy of preventing “Anglo-Saxon” encroachment in French-speaking Africa is behind Cameroon’s current ‘Anglophone Crisis.’ Protests by the African country’s English-speaking minority have turned violent, and a series of bombs went off overnight between Sunday and Monday.

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – A cardinal in Cameroon has lashed out at France over the ongoing ‘Anglophone crisis’ in the West African country.

Cardinal Christian Tumi, the archbishop emeritus of Douala, accused France of seeking to make sure the majority French-speaking Cameroonians assimilate the minority English-speaking population.

Protests in the region are becoming increasingly violent, and four homemade bombs went off in the Bamenda – the capital of the English-speaking North-West region – late Sunday night and early Monday morning. No casualties were reported.

Last week, Anglophone separatists were accused of killing four Cameroonian soldiers in the South-West region.

Over a dozen people have died in demonstrations against alleged government erosion of the rights of the English-speaking population, leading some protestors on Oct. 1 to declare the region – which they call Ambazonia – to be independent.

Speaking exclusively to local weekly newspaper, The Rambler, Tumi, now 87-years-old, said that after the reunification of Cameroon, “the idea was to wipe out from Cameroon the Anglo-Saxon culture.”

The cardinal supported his accusation by telling an anecdote from a visit to the French embassy in Rome.

“I was in Rome for the Synod of Bishops and the French embassy invited us for a reception; those of us who were from the French-speaking countries. So, I was there and one of the workers in the embassy approached me and asked me which country I came from. I told him that I was from Cameroon…he immediately told me: ‘We are very happy that you are assimilating the anglophones,’ which means that was the policy of France,” Tumi told the newspaper.

The cardinal also saw French meddling behind the irregularities in the country’s 1992 presidential election, which involved an anglophone, John Fru Ndi.

Fru Ndi officially lost the election to President Paul Biya – who first took power in 1982 and rules to this day – by a narrow margin, but opposition leaders accused the government of fraud.

“Everybody knows that Fru Ndi won the election in 1992. Who organized the coup? It was Mitterrand and I am citing something [French President François] Mitterrand said to Biya, ‘jamais un anglophone a Etoudi’,” Tumi said.

The phrase means ‘no anglophone should ever be allowed in Etoudi.’ The Etoudi is the Cameroonian presidential palace.

Mitterrand served as president of France from 1981-1995. His government sought to strengthen ties with French-speaking Africa, and he sought to prevent “Anglo-Saxon” encroachment in what he felt was France’s sphere of influence.

The cardinal concluded that “what is creating the whole problem is the presence of France in Cameroon. Whereas the English people left, whereas they packed their boxes and everything and went away, Cameroon is controlled by France. That’s the problem.”

Tumi was speaking about the country’s unique colonial history.

Cameroon came under French and British rule following the defeat of the Germans in World War One.

The two parts later gained independence in 1960 and 1961 and reunited under a federal republic. This federation was scrapped in 1972 following a referendum, which has now come under severe criticism by anglophone Cameroonians, who make up about 20 percent of the population.

They have been complaining that doing away with the Federal constitution which provided protections for their culture and way of life was the first step towards annihilating the anglophone culture.

In Cameroon, the anglophone regions use British-style schools – common in English-speaking Africa – and their courts use the common law tradition. The francophone regions use French-style schools and the civil law system, historically deriving from the Napoleonic code.

The unrest came to a head in October 2016, when teachers and lawyers in the two English-speaking regions of the country took to the streets in protest over the use of the French language in anglophone schools and courts.

The demonstrators soon called for a return to the Federal system of governance, and others for outright secession.

A year after the protests began – on October 1, 2017 – an estimated 1.5 million people took to the streets in almost every village in anglophone Cameroon in celebration of their independence – even if it was just symbolic.

Joseph Wirba, an opposition member of Cameroon’s parliament who has been vocal about anglophone marginalization said the number of people who marched was a victory over oppression.

“The slave had risen indeed to break the chains and there was no turning back! That day had marked the people’s mental and psychological escape from oppressive strangulation by a merciless government,” he said.

After government troops clashed with protestors – leading to several deaths – the Catholic bishops in the anglophone regions accused the government of carrying out a “genocide.”

They were reacting to the comments made by the Minister for Communications, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, who called the anglophone protesters “terrorists,” and added they should be treated as such.

Government on dialogue missions

Biya recently commissioned the country’s prime minister, Philémon Yang to lead fact-finding and peace missions to the embattled regions.

Upon return from those missions, Yang told the president the use of charged language – such as calling protestors terrorists – was not helping.

“Anglophones as far as I know, are not terrorists. The people were civilized; the majority of them rejected violence; they prefer to solve their problems through republican values,” Yang told Cameroon’s state broadcaster, CRTV.

He said after listening to the people on the ground, he had come to the conclusion that the government must seriously address the crisis.

Tumi said he believes reverting to the country’s original federal system of government would largely address the problem.

That is also the view of the Civil Society Consortium that has been leading the anglophone protests.

Its leader, lawyer Felix Agbor Balla, who was recently released from jail after serving over six months without any judgment, told the BBC that the position has not changed.

“If you read all the communiqués from the consortium, we talked about a two-state federation. The consortium had never talked about independence, secession or restoration.”

But Biya, in power for 35 years now, has repeatedly said none of those demands will be met.

And so the standoff will continue for the foreseeable future.

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41 comments

  1. This comes as no surprise to any observer of Emmanuel Macron’s Hexagone of 63 million inhabitants. Like Americans who seek to Americanize everything, the French too maintain their names and values but do not hesitate to impose on others. Go to France and tell them you are Peter and you soon return as Pierre, tell them you are Klein and they make you “Petit”. In like manner, Mzee beomes LeGrand, Drinkwater is quietly changed to Boileau, Toogood to Toutbon, Salvatore to Seigneur. They spare nobody, not even their closest neighbor the Brits whose Falkland Islands they call Malvinas.

    Poor Cameroon with only one-third of the population of France and a president ever to kowtow to Mitterand, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Jacques Chiraq, …and now Emmanuel Macron…. Poor Southern Cameroon!

    • Only you can weave such niceties! You’re something!

    • Vaiocomputers

      This can only come from John Dinga…kikiki

    • Nice one there old Johnny!

      • @ Firefighter, Viaocomputers, DaScava

        Needless to say that I draw plenty of inspiration from your various insightful contributions. Keep it up!

    • An intellectual exhibition clothed in a white garment of humor! I laughed with my mouth but the response was even louder Down below, causing my family to leap off the dining table long before the grace after meals! Plenty of leftovers for tomorrow which means madam, credit cards, and Costco will not feature much in tomorrow’s discussions!

  2. For ever young

    Cardinal u may be correct to an extent about the negative influences /economic exploitation & bad faith France has display over the centuries to francophone countries especially in Africa & the Caribbean country such as Haiti but is equally true the horrible corrupt bad governance of some dis useless despotic Regime like Cameroon Paul Biya cause half of the difficulties the people are encountering today’s not assimilation I don’t see how cultural assimilation stop the regime to provide good drinking water or food Security to the people or construction of good roads, provide other basic amenities & infrastructure or call others human beings dogs because they’re not from your clan,not to mention the rape, killing of innocent civilians etc let’s call dis evildoers for who they’re evil period

  3. Herbs4nationHealing.

    The Cardinal has spoken wisely. If anyone points a finger at Biya and his poor government policies as the reason for the anglophone crises, look no further than the system of governance in question and those who stand to benefit most from it….France. Governments across most African countries were set up by colonial masters not to favor the people in these colonies but rather to defend the economic and political interests of the colonial masters. Some African countries have attempted to withdraw from this enslavement in the past and a few have paid a big price for even daring like Ivory Coast’s Laurent and others have liberated their people after bloodshed as in the case of Rwanda.
    Paul Biya is president in the eyes of Cameroonians but overseer to France, the creator of Cameroun.

    • Its like saying the Pope is responsible 4 atheism in Cmr? The GoC has allowed it governance infrastructure 2 be influenced by outsiders – allegedly France. My point is, all the finger-pointing, naming, blaming & shaming outsiders 2 be Cmr’s problem is elusive. Wht will happen if the GoC distances herself from the alleged French control mechanism? Is it possible? Why is it not the case? How does it really sound that the GoC rebelled against its own people amid outside influences? We sh’d be realistic. See the newly created bilingualism commission, flooded with bureaucrats who pay allegiance 2 hierarchical regime. Does it really make sense for one person to be in power for 3 decades in a non-monarchical form of gov’t? Yet we blame France, we should blame ourselves and insane leadership etc

  4. The most insane imperialistic experiment that has totally uprooted many Africans. It is fascinating that Africans still struggle to hang on to meanings imposed by the devious imperialist scheme, and call themselves Anglophones and Francophones despite all the knowledge that many Africans are supposed to have acquired! This aspect is what makes the insanity unique, and not the colonial so-called history per say.

    ‘The British left… packed their boxes and everything and went away’…. but they left their ‘Anglophone, Anglo-saxon’ chains in the minds of people who have not been able to establish their own institutions ever since! So the British are still there… and people still rush to them for recognition. Unfortunately, the British and the French are still working as a devious team.

  5. Good friends,
    I wish it were mere niceties; these name changes, when transported and implanted to Cameroon with associated pernicious retrograde practices contribute to exacerbating a people’s agony. It is not just the loss of CAT(Cameroon Air Transport) that one would bemoan; it is the efficient and profitable functioning that went with it. And like CAT were a catalogue of others – PWD, PMO, GCE, SJC, CPC, SHC, GTC, and lots more.
    Most people just admit that dossier-chasing is the nation’s #1 industry today. Why is it so? Because nepotism replaced merit as a criterion of employment, leaving public offices with persons whose only qualification is ethnic affiliation. Any wonder why dossiers remain untreated, obliging its owners to take the pilgrimage to Yaounde? Buea had no such scheme!

    • Whatever passes for PWD today is a mere caricature of its past equivalent because, its functioning budget is risibly handed over to parliamentarians who are expected to provide functioning infrastructures for their electorates!
      As for AUDIT, that is for 2035 the magic year.

  6. The first stage of solving a problem is to realize that there is a problem. What Cardinal Tumi is presenting here is strange to most francophone Africans. If such thought process was a popular culture then an uprising would had taken place long ago, Whatever the case the two cubes of sugar did not melt, hence they swallowed a poison that will be the catalyst to dismantle the french grip in Africa, whether they like it or not, its now inevitable. It is like a domino effect, starting with Southern Cameroon, then LRC, then french Equatorial Africa and finally french West Africa. After that there will be a reorganization of Africa with a cultural, social, scientific economic, and political renaissance of Africa. The Anglophone problem is far bigger than what is on the surface.

    • Many so-called Francophones are very aware of the stakes at play; even better than what your Cardinal Tumi is stating for the very first time! You have hordes of honest Francophones that have been fighting against the French, when many Anglophones have been actively sustaining the system of French oppression. These Anglophones are there; they have enriched themselves within a scheme they themselves helped to create… yet you are attacking Francophones!

      O yes, the so-called Anglophone issue is bigger than what a good many of you are assuming.

      • Ras Metuge,
        I know you like twisting like a snake everytime you are told the truth, but I will keep holding you old dreadlocks to fire! You are parroting cheap accusations at people for accepting that we are francophones and Anglophones. Not long ago, you were making threats that the francophone public had had enough and was soon going to turn against Anglophones. How did you come to the realization that a part of the public was francophone and had had enough? With the knowledge that you as an African have acquired, you made a lousy claim here, that Biya was going to end the French Empire in Africa. Where are we with that? You are an extension of the devious British and French teams, since you are a parrot for their puppets! Take a hard look in the mirror!

      • It clear that some Francophones are agitating, that’s not news but there is something called “critical mass”. So long as that is still below the critical mass then it’s meaningless. there is an anglophone uprising because the discontent of everyone summed up has got to the critical mass.
        Where this critical mass lies is the tolerance index of a people. That can serve as a litmus test of the docility of a people or culture. Clearly that of African and people of African decent is very high, that is why we could be enslaved, colonized, apartheid was possible, King Biya can be forced down our throat etc. I bet you if it were a different people the anglophone uprising would have taken place immediately after 1972. Others like Arabs for example will never tolerate that type of insult.

        • There were already people like Gorgi Dinka, Albert Mukom etc who were talking but again that was not enough since the critical mass had not been attained and once that has been attained it is either justice or death, there can not be a third option any more. The anglophone problem will be resolved, no matter how long it will take.

        • There is critical mass… and there is also something called critical juncture!

        • Oh, and by the way, your attacks against Francophones will eventually push them to that turning point! That’s when things will get out of hand.

        • Slavery, colonization, and Apartheid have nothing to do with a culture of docility. You make an uninformed assumption that these evil deeds happened in Africa because the Africans were docile! There’s an abundance of historical evidence that Africans fiercely resisted slavery, colonization, and Apartheid. Therefore, high tolerance index, as you term it, can certainly not be seen as the fundamental potential explanation of slavery, colonization, and Apartheid.

          By the way, Arabs were colonized, and they are among the most humiliated folks on this planet. So don’t speak of Arabs as though their story is exemplary. There are more Arabs being spoon-fed across Europe than Africans… and you can’t be blind to the ongoing Apartheid in the Middle-East, the supposed ancestral land of the Arabs!

        • OK Ras, with so much rambling in your write-up, we better agree to disagree else the magnitude of the deviation from the Amba problem becomes unacceptable.
          You have the right to your own opinion, stay with it

  7. Go to hell…Evil!!…you are Evil for protecting theses your friends that brainwash our peoples everyday..that abuse our kid in your bussiness…that are transforming our young mens as gays…..you are very up there with the same peoples you dine with..and I wish I get get peoples like you on one to one in a dark alllee

  8. The military has overthrown Dictator Mugabe. Rumours are abound that Dictator Biya is terminally ill. He will soon also disappear from the corridors of power. ALUTA CONTINUA

    • When I looked at President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his cadaveric physique still heading Zimbabwe, I felt that it was too good to be true. And whenever anything is too good to be true, I apply Professor Xiao Mengxin’s rule and come up “It is not good enough”. And so the military has put an end to the Mugabe nightmare.

    • Mugabe is not a dictator. He has been protecting his people’s interest and not the British interest and that is why he is labelled a dictator by the West. Mugabe as we speak is being protected by the military despite the coup because they know the people love him. Take note my friends, any African leader who has ever stood for their people has been called a dictator by the west like Mugabe and Gadhafi and those who have been there to protect western interests like Biya or the Egyptian monster are the good ones. Biya has been in power for 35yrs and no western gov’t has ever called him a dictator. The Western dictators are the Gadafis and Mugabes who refuse to serve western interest. We should stop being manipulated by the West if we have any hope to free ourselves in Africa.

      • Small USA Africa,
        Why are you dabbling in things that are above your head. The subject a skinhead like you can discuss well is killing. You have been parroting non stop that Biya is a western tool, indirectly telling us that all your brothers appointed by him, who as you know happen to be at Kondengui and all of his running dogs and like you are tentacles of the West. How would the West bandy looks with their slaves who freely open up our resources to them? Mugabe dresses in western suits, goes to Singapore to be treated in western medicine, allows his wife to have the western PhD in 3 weeks, was mad because the EU refused to issue him a visa to attend an EU meeting in Europe, blames the West for his economic troubles. This is someone who selectively rejects the West!

        • Btw, it’s normal that you should claim the military is protecting him, because drunkenness would not allow you get to the bottom of facts. The person on whose name the coup was carried out would not want to hurt Mugabe for three reasons. He has all along been groomed as the de factor successor , until the old fool’s wife imposed her witchcraft on him and suddenly wants to take over. Secondly, the military chief knows that the AU and the West have no stomach for coups, so he is playing the ruse and chanting that the old mad dog is safe. The genesis of the crisis is that the army chief was angry because the veteran VP was kicked out for Mugabe’s wife to take over. He sent a direct ultimatum to Mugabe and acted in it hours later. Get off drinking!

        • You this low class useless man who keeps on calling people different names. Can you stop responding to my write ups? I don’t deal with mean people like you. I have advised you so many times. I DON’T DEAL WITH USELESS MEAN PEOPLE. PLEASE STOP RESPONDING TO MY WRITE UPS.

  9. Fake cardinal

    • He is raising an important issue nonetheless! Ask yourself why he is making this statement at this point in time. If the fake Cardinal highlights the underlying power-knowledge dynamics of the malaise in Cameroon, as many Francophones have been doing, then i see no problem with that.

      Absurdly however, the report does not mention Cardinal Tumi’s response to the French Embassy worker in Rome. If Tumi stood there and quietly digested the spiteful remark at the Embassy; only to surface several years later to make this type of declaration, then i have a serious issue with his conduct. Therefore, i would definitely not rate him as a man of integrity. By my standards, a man of integrity is a man with the testicular fortitude to stand up for his truth at any given time! I despise opportunists.

      • This is our problem BLACK PEOPLE we take every failed hero or traitor as hero as soon as he says anything we all know just because he managed to give his arse and get up there instead of spitting him out some of us find excuses to give him some credits..this man is the face of white devil don’t forget that!!!

  10. African Hell is waiting for you!

  11. Cardinal Tumi putting it as it is without fear or favour. His long serving records as an archbishop for Garoua and Douala speaks for itself. Thank you fearless Nso warrior from Kikahkilaiki. The disgusting French parasitical leeches must be purged out of the continent.

  12. Je suis dans l’eau-late Bishop Bala! Cardinal watch out, this regime has no fear of even killing the men of God and the Pope is totally silent on the killings-conspiracy of Silence!. Oh, One more thing Mugabe, after 35 years in Power might have only 1 day to regret his decision. Biya by his acts and no acts is a wicked man and only God would reward him!

  13. When you come here to support this kind of peoples that are doing the same work Biya is doing for the same master then you are not fair! When we Africans will learn that theses priests etc…are more dangerous then will only begin freeing ourselves….As I always said..all of them should be burned together in Africa in the same fire!

  14. Cardinal, you speak with authority and one must scream from the crowd ‘blessed is the womb that bore you!’ Remember brother Engelbert Mveng? That great theological voice murdered by this half-hearted French puppet Biya! He once wrote and how correct he was, the missionary and the colonialist were bedfellows, it gets even worse dear ‘Prince of the Church’ if that missionary and colonialist are French! Some scourge us when we opt for Anglo Saxonism at least they gave us football. The Gaulians have taken everything from us even the banana peelings! The Bravehearts from that tiny island on the Atlantic have some humility in their madness (except one, who almost flattened my ass for trying it out with his woman! The ghost of Henry VIII lives on). St Thomas Moore ora pro nobis.

    • The man of God is not a rabble-rouser. He is not supposed to be. That explains his reserve which myopics gleefully use to pass their judgment on him. It is only recently that the world knows he had been snobbed and denied audience by the head of state.

      Our ambivalence is quite manifest when we become great lawyers in defending our shortcomings but great judges when it involves others.

  15. If France is the only one to be blamed in the ongoing crisis in Cameroon Bda/Bea how about the Catholic and Presbyterian hypocrite churches of SW/NW areas That were organizing late night services to preach hatred towards Francophones ?This same Tumi was amongst people urging Masses to boycott activities pretending to be one of the Anglo legacy advocate Tumi would have been a moral leader not political one Otherwise let him trade his clothes with political ones Hypocrite !!!

    • Mudslinging is an art that is second nature to French slaves . They have an answer for everything, yet their country is like an eyesore. Lazy, talkative , expansive, proud , corrupt , and presumptuous.

  16. Korup Forest

    This religious fool should better shut his stinking mouth. The responsabe is TB Joshua aka Total __________ Joshua. 🙂

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