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Cardinal backs federal union to end Cameroon’s ‘Anglophone crisis’

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon Crux | As a separatist uprising in Cameroon enters it fourth year, Cardinal Christian Tumi is calling for a federal system to end the crisis and keep the country unified.

About 80 percent of Cameroon is French-speaking. However, the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon are majority English-speaking, a legacy of the colonial history of the country: Cameroon was originally German, but after World War I the defeated country transferred it to the Allies, and it was divided between France and Britain.

In October 2016, strikes by lawyers and teachers over perceived attempts by the Francophone administration to assimilate the legal and educational systems practiced in the two English-speaking regions turned violent, and morphed into rising demands by Anglophone Cameroonians for independence.

The government has been accused of razing entire villages and extrajudicial killings in their hunt for separatists, who are calling on the English-speaking areas to form a new country, called ‘Ambazonia.’

Tumi, the emeritus Archbishop of Douala, said the re-introduction of a federal form of government can keep the country united.

“At reunification, I was 32 years old. I opted for federalism, and it’s in my blood,” Tumi told Crux.

In 1960, the northern part of Cameroon administered by France gained its independence. The southern part administered by Britain as part of Nigeria was in 1961 subject to a plebiscite in which they were offered independence by reuniting with their francophone Cameroonian “brothers” or by remaining part of Nigeria.

The results showed an overwhelming desire by English-speaking Cameroonians to reunite with the French-speaking part of Cameroon.

The “marriage” was guaranteed by a Federal Constitution that was meant to preserve and protect the minority Anglophones and their colonial heritage. But in 1972 then-President Ahmadou Ahidjo organized a referendum that dissolved the federation in favor of a united republic, thereby removing the protections Anglophones enjoyed.

Ever since, relations between Anglophones and the Francophone-dominated government have been tense. The 2016 demonstrations broke out after there were demands to use French in the common law courts and English-modeled schools used in the Anglophone regions.

The ensuing fighting between the separatists and government forces has led to the deaths of at least 2,000 people, and the displacement of a further 500,000.

Tumi said a return to a federal system will be the foundation for a more sustainable peace and stability in Cameroon.

“We are a people called to live with all our differences. In federalism, these differences are respected,” he told Crux.

“I don’t have the number of states I want,” Tumi said, alluding to several different federal proposals being presented by different parties.

“We can begin as we were at reunification -with two states; but with time, experience would instruct us on whether we need more. History is before us. Other countries like the USA did not start with the 50 states they have today. Neighboring Nigeria did not start with the number of states they have today,” the cardinal explained.

Tumi is working with other religious leaders from other Christian denominations and the Muslim world to organize what he has called an “Anglophone General Conference.”

“The conference isn’t an end in itself,” the cardinal said. “What we want is to inform Cameroonians on what is happening in the English-speaking regions of the country.”

Tumi said many people, including President Paul Biya, “have no clue” about what is happening in the conflict zone.

“And since Anglophones are complaining, we want to give them a voice through a broad-based consultation so that they can tell us what they want and what they are proposing as a solution,” he said.

He added the conference will come up with a questionnaire that will enable Anglophones clearly to identify the problems they face and propose a solution.

“For instance, we will ask them: Between federalism and the unitary state, what form of government, in your opinion, could likely help us come out of this crisis?” Tumi said.

The cardinal said the organizers will then try to meet with Biya to transmit the resolutions of the conference, and to implore the president to organize a national dialogue on the Anglophone crisis.

Although a date has not yet been fixed, organizers say it will likely take place in October.

However, in a rare act of unity, both the government and the separatists have expressed skepticism about the proposed conference.

Separatist’s leaders say Tumi’s conference and its perceived “federalist stance” can only serve to foster government interest.

“The government of the Republic of Cameroon has proven over and over that it cannot be trusted. The only negotiation we can tolerate with that government is to lay down the terms of our separation,” said separatist leader, Sisseku Ayuk Tabe.

Government Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary accused Tumi of working to foster the separatist agenda.

“Federalism is the anti-chamber of secession,” Tchiroma said.

But the cardinal said he can’t understand why people want to discredit a conference, “whose sole purpose is to find a solution to a crisis that is killing many people.”

“Our sole objective is that peace should return without which we would not be able to do our missionary work,” he said.

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31 comments

  1. The Constitution has three main functions. First it creates a national government consisting of a legislative, an executive, and a judicial branch, with a system of checks and balances among the three branches. Second, it divides power between the federal government and the states.A federal government is a system of dividing up power between a central national government and local state governments that are connected to one another by the national government.So that thf federal form of government has several advantages, such as protecting us from tyranny, shearing power, increasing citizen participation and increasing effectiveness, and  protecting Citizens from overzealous men , increasing equalities between states.

  2. La Constitution a trois fonctions principales. Premièrement, il crée un gouvernement national composé d’un pouvoir législatif, d’un pouvoir exécutif et d’un pouvoir judiciaire, doté d’un système de contrôle et d’équilibre entre les trois pouvoirs. Deuxièmement, il divise les pouvoirs entre le gouvernement fédéral et les États.Un gouvernement fédéral est un système de partage des pouvoirs entre un gouvernement central national et les gouvernements des États locaux reliés entre eux par le gouvernement national.Ainsi, la forme de gouvernement fédéral présente plusieurs avantages, tels que nous protéger de la tyrannie, casser le pouvoir, accroître la participation des citoyens et accroître leur efficacité, et protéger les citoyens des hommes trop zélés, renforcer les égalités entre les États.

  3. There are only 2 ( TWO ) options left for Dictator Biya and by extension Macron:

    either

    1. a FEDERATION of TWO STATES equal in status ( cf. UNGA 1608 )

    OR

    2. SEPARATION of the two states ( SC and LRC )

    Simply put,

    COSMETIC measures, such as,

    * a FEDERATION of 3, 4, 10 or 99 states
    * DECENTRALISATION
    * the BIR
    * the commission on bilingualism
    * etc

    will NEVER EVER resolved the impasse.

    The earlier Dictator Biya and his master Macron understand this statement of facts, the better for their so-called “one and indivisible” LRC.

    • **** BREAKING NEWS ****

      Dictator Biya left Yaounde yesterday 03/08/2019. Well-informed sources indicate that he travelled “to Europe” for health reasons.
      The civil cabinet did not make an announcement about the trip. It was a state secret. There were no ministers and CPDM dance groups at Nsimalen Airport to bid him farewell. He left his country like a thief. BAS militants are already searching for the evil Dictator in Germany, Luxemburg and France. However, they will not waste their precious time looking for him in Switzerland since the Dictator is now a PERSONA NON GRATA.

      “Affaire à suivre”

    • **** BREAKING NEWS ****

      “The Social Democratic Front puts the total responsibility of the non-operation of schools in the North West and South West Regions on the government that decided to use war to handle a purely political problem and has refused to engage in concrete steps to negotiate even a ceasefire with the armed pro independence fighters. The government has refused to engage in a genuine and all-inclusive dialogue without preconditions to solve the root causes of the problem that brought about this war. This despite the clarion call to this effect from the Social Democratic Front, other Cameroonians of goodwill and the International Community. Many now agree that the underlying factors that led to the undermining of Anglophones in Cameroon were a calculated secret agenda. “

    • **** PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN TOTO ****

      Prophecy No. 1:

      “Now that the anglophones are asking for federalism you people are refusing, there would be a time you people would be begging for this federalism and the anglophones would be asking for a complete separation.” (Balla, A., 2016)

      Prophecy No.2:

      “ When the people shall rise even if you take the French military and add to yours, you will not stop them” (Wirba, j., 2016)

    • **** FOOD FOR THOUGHT ****

      1. It is common knowledge that Anglophones are a very patient “people”.
      2. However, when the Anglophones say ENOUGH is ENOUGH, they really mean what they say.

      The Anglophones voted in 1961vt0 join the Francophones in a FEDERATION of TWO states EQUAL in status:
      However, the Francophones decided to annex and assimilate the Anglophones.

      The Francophones:

      1. abolished the Federation in 1972 and imposed a unitary state. The Anglophones remained quiet
      2. In 1982, the Francophones changed the name of Victoria to the Beti name Limbe. The Anglophones remained quiet
      3. In 1984, the Francophones changed the name of the country to the so-called “one and indivisible”. The Anglophones remained quiet LRC.

    • The Francophones, therefore, took the silence of the Anglophones for weakness.
      The Francophones then decided to destroy the EDUCATIONAL and JUDICIAL systems of the Anglophones. Simply put, the Francophones crossed the RED LINES of the Anglophones.
      The Anglophones told the Francophones with one voice that ENOUGH is ENOUGH with the fetters of French-sponsored annexionist-cum-assimilationist enslavement and trammels.
      The Anglophones have not only stopped the diabolic assimilation agenda of France but are determined to reverse all the past evils of the Francophones.

      Simply put,

      1. the ILLEGAL and virtual entity referred to as “one and indivisible” LRC is dead
      2. It MUST be a FEDERATION of TWO states equal in status or SEPARATION of SC and LRC

    • 3. The Beti name LIMBE will soon be replaced with the historical name VICTORIA
      4. The Bakweri land in FAKO, that were stolen by ZANGIII and given to his Beti brothers and sisters, will be seized WITHOUT COMPENSATION and given back to the rightful owners

      In sum,

      The so-called policy of “national unity and integration” of LRC was, in reality, a diabolic agenda of annexation and assimilation of the people of SC.
      This diabolic agenda led to the total loss of the identity of SC as a “people” with a right to self-governance now reduced to two regions in LRC, intentional deprivation of development in the regions, marginalization, etc.
      Thank God, Southern Cameroonians have FINALLY taken their collective destiny into their own hands to reverse the diabolic policy.

      ENOUGH is ENOUGH !!!!

  4. Fédération de 4 Etats.

    Etat 1: Le grand Nord ( Adamaoua, le nord et l’exteme nord)

    Etat 2: Le Sud ( Le centre, le Sud, l’Est).
    Etat 3: L’Ouest ( Le Nord Ouest, L’Ouest)
    Etat 4: Le littoral ( Le Sud-Ouest, le Littoral).

    • Cardinal Tumi,
      You have a problem of celibacy in your hands which has rendered many a priest and bishops peifiles. Please, go solve that before trying to meddle in politics. You have nothing to lose in this struggle. Tell your friends like the Achidi Achus, Innoni,Yang and all those whom have been on the take from the evil empire to shut up. If the worse comes to the worst, you can take refuge in the vatian and join the rest of the occultist and feed fat. Continue saying stupid things like what you are saying and you migt just get visitors.

      • The cardinal is still reminding us of this evil plans as when he did in 1961 when he was 32 and opted for federalism without the third option today he and his other cultist members are proposing unitary or federal without the third option independent stare for southern Cameroon s What a betrayal of your brothers always part of thier diabolic plan.
        The Catholic Church thrives on the suffering of the masses so he will do everything to see that the suffering continues so that they have more people to bleed in their churches.
        The opium of the poor. Is religion Karl Max. No wonder you are retired in French Cameroon instead of your native place of Banso. You hatred and betrayal will continue to be exposed and by thier fruits we shall know them

    • Yours is the solution of France designed to partition English-speaking Southern Cameroons between regions of her 1959 Treaty and French-speaking protege in willful disregard of the wishes of the people affected. The never repealed Treaty granted France the right to make political choices for Cameroun. The proposal also aims to add fuel to the conflict and kill as many people as possible – all in clear violation of representations to the UN General Assembly by Ahmadou Ahidjo, 1959-1961, and the spirit of UN Resolution 1608(xv). Confiscating custom’s revenue from Cameroun ports for 100 years may not yield enough reparations to Ambazonia which must then emerge amidst instability in the Gulf of Guinea.

      • Camer believer (Colby)

        @Martin Douala i first thought you were intelligent but I found out that you are not different from your other fellows you misinterpreted the UN resolution to confuse people you raised money to finance terrorists in our country you supported the ban of schools in the NW/SW but let me tell you that never ever there will be peace in that area as long as the transborder banditry developed there is now similar to the one in Texas time will tell.

        • Camer Colby, your free speech is inviolate. The truth is stubborn and pains liars immensely. Cameroun people are captives under France per 12/26/1959 Treaty. Ambazonians are FREE. There are 2 Peoples, earlier represented by 2 stars in the doomed federation. African jurors agreed in Gumne v. Cameroun (ACHPR consultative opinion 266/03 online) that 2 Peoples in the triangle, rejected Cameroun’s argument that it is One People. Live by AU Constitutive Act 4b, honor the spirit and letter of UN Resolutions for peace. Violate and goto hell nowadays. Only a referendum can resolve a sovereignty conflict as in South Sudan, Eritrea, Quebec, Scotland and New Caledonia (France), etc.

    • Hihihihihihihihi.
      Biku Biku….
      You wanted us to do something, we have done it. Right now as you continue to kill our children we are drifting further and further away from this federalism business.
      Tell your country people.
      It is rather unfortunate because Agbor Balla warned you.

    • Your suggestion will not work. This is prove that you always do what the French tells you to do. This option was proposed by the the outgoing french ambassador long ago and today, you think you are inventing something new. Who is fooling who? There will be either a two-state federation or total separation. In both cases, you can practice your decentralization on the other side.

  5. Mindful of ACHPR Decision 266/03 re-certifying the People of Southern Cameroons as separate from Cameroun, alongside UNGA Resolution 1608(xv), this bloody conflict has sovereignty dimensions. Can only be resolved by a free vote in the territory to obtain a long-term solution.

  6. Federation de 4 états my foot.
    You want to decentralise the anglophone crisis? You amuse me if you think Lebialem and Manyu and some of Meme and Kupe will allow the Douala to Lord it over them. Maybe Fako- who almost speak the same language as Douala will take it but the rest of South West? Forgerrit!
    As for North West joining the Bamoun/Bamileke strife….hahahahahahaha is all I can say.
    Now if larepublique wants 52 federated states East of the Mungo, they are free to do so on their own.
    As for me and my house we have voted with our feet to leave the s*ithole.
    Freedom, Freedom, Freedom.

  7. Cameroon would like to remember the cardinal for the good services rendered to the church, especially the separation of church and state.

  8. May Wisdom always guide the brave people of Ambazonia. Freedom is a human right. Together we stand to win, divided, we may easily loose.

    Ambazonia is not part of la ripoublique. You can do your federal thingie alone in your francophone french république du Cameroun. The Southern Cameroons is not concerned, at all.

    Say thank you to Ambazonia, for opening your eyes for the quest of a federation in that morose sytème unitaire, caduque, à la francaise. Federation is far much better for any system on evolution.

    Long live Ambazonia, the land of the Brave.

    Bye Bye la ripoublique.

    2 countries, chacun avec son système éducatif, ses lois, son système de communication, son économie, son système de santé, ses administrateurs élus (pas nommés), ses ingénieurs, sa logistique etc…

  9. The Cardinal, is confused and wicked.

    • The Cardinal is not confused. He like Anglophones in Yaounde, wants to survive the regime.

  10. The special status of Hong Kong and Kashmir is in question today. BJP passed a motion to cancel 70 year old Kashmiri autonomy. Riots are expected. China has promised draconian compliance in Hong Kong as soon as the 50 year transition period is over. About 40 years of that transition period are left and China has already begun to attempt to change Hong Kong law to “align” it to mainland Chinese law. As expected, the people of Hong Kong have rebelled. It’s been 3 months running now.
    Lessons for Ambazonians? Federation without provision for a periodic separation referendum will not cut it.

  11. Tumi is an enabler and must be forcefully put to eternal sleep. At a ripe old age of 40, his contributions cannot offer any solution. Devils in cassock.

    @Bikutsi

    Smelling lass gorilla woman. I see your aestivation is finished. I thought you were outrightly against federation from the start? Drifting now to uncomfortable positions. Your smelly pungent dirty lass will soon come to grips with the independent Ambazonia. If Laurent Esso could submit to the demands of Seseku Ayuk Tabe who say you too will not open another layer. Whoric smelly lass woman. Ambazonia or we all die. That’s the promise.

    • …ripe old age of 90…

      • Camer believer (Colby)

        Your wild animalistic mouth tells everything about you and the lineage you are coming from such a cursed family can’t succeed and will never offer lasting solutions cause one cannot give what he don’t have living in Germany over 03 decades will never make a son of a cursed poor family a reference.Poverty is first mental before being physical.

  12. Thought of the times:`bastards are never positive`.

  13. Francophones still consider France as their motherland . They delare themselves independent but they continue to use french in their daily basis without the ingerance of the language but only want to dumb english into the dust bin . Let Banda Kani tell us pan africanist he is !

    Bunch of ——

    Engish + English = English

    English + French = French .

  14. Francophones still consider France as their motherland . They declare themselves independent but they continue to use french in their daily basis without the ingerance of the language but only want to dumb english into the dust bin . Let Banda Kani tell us how pan africanist he is !

    Bunch of ——

    Engish + English = English

    English + French = French .

  15. I am Zam, and endorse federalism.

    That was always the dream of Ntumazah, Um, Ouandjié, Osende, Ni, Kamto…true sons of CMR.
    Barrister Ba-lla, son of Bate Bissong, another true CMR brain.

    Let’s use our brains! Are we going to kill each other over coloured paper with a few holograms on it?

    Wake up folks, that damn country called CMR with a capital “C” is our only CAPITAL/PARADISE/NIRVANA. It is full of what the DEVIL hates to see! RICHES!

    Wake up folks, wake up….wake up!

    CMR is the LAND that CHINEKE has chosen to echo AFRICA.

    Forget about Biya, forgive him, and let’s move on!

    No man can be greater than CHINEKE!

    Wish we were taught patriotism in school, continuously, all this buzzing confusion would have been history.

    Let’s be CMR, in a beautiful CMR, let be 111111…

vulputate, elit. venenatis felis consectetur dictum ut mi,