Douala, Littoral: Gov’t Bans Lawyers Meeting
Barrister Abeng says ban is gross violation of people’s rights
Flays gov’t inconsistency for authorizing meeting and back-paddling
Demands the English Version of OHADA Law be published
North West Lawyers decry oppression of Anglophones at Press Confab.
By Nkong Ndem Peter
A Press Conference slated for Douala by Members of the Cameroon Bar Association on Saturday October 1, 2016, ended up in smoke after the Divisional Officer who had signed the authorization, suddenly cancelled it at the eleventh hour with no explanation as to the whys and the hows.
Shocked and dismayed by the D.Os disgraceful administrative blunder, Barrister Roland Abeng, initiator of the Press Conference, issued a Press Release dated September 30, 2016, condemning the ban to which the Divisional Officer had earlier given his approval.
The strongly worded press release condemned in very strong terms, the withdrawal of the authorization for an event that was to hold at the Conference Hall of Akwa Palace, Douala.
He said the Press Conference had been organized to brief journalists on the ominous need to provide the English version of the OHADA Law that is basically the French version in a country that preaches bilingualism. “We cannot be preaching virtues and practicing vices,” he said.
Barrister Roland Abeng said he would be in consultation with more than 1200 Lawyers, both Anglophones and Francophones, to chart a proper way forward for Cameroon, our country.
Hear him: “The act of the Cameroon government going against a laudable initiative, which had as main objective the promotion of the indispensable aspects of National Integration through the translation and availability of our laws in both official languages, is a clear proof of the fact that our authorities are not matching speech with action, and thus pointing to the fact that it has no intention of listening to the cries of an entire nation.”
He warned that, in the event of a serious matter before the court of law, legal professionals of English Language expression will boycott all of OHADA related Court procedures in the North West and South West Regions, until the translation of the OHADA texts is provided.
He did not rule out the fact that an extra-ordinary General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association would be convened to discuss this very vexing issue.
He expressed some misgiving that the nation might be sliding into a dark abyss, if government does not stand by what it says and does; or why would a Divisional Officer (D.O) sign an authorization for a Press Conference and back-paddle at the eleventh hour? He thanked the teeming college of Lawyers and Journalists who called in their huge numbers to express worries, and who gave him kudos for the struggle that must be fought and won. “All we ask for is Equality, Justice, and Fair-play; all documents must be in English and French.”
A sad case for Anglophones
On his part, Barrister N.G. Andang who, together with many of his colleagues, displaced security operatives who had strategically invaded an announced venue for the Press Conference discovered the legal minds were more security sensitive. They had quickly changed the venue of their meeting, leaving the security operatives in a state of melancholy and confusion.
The Press Conference which many described as touching and mouth watering exposed the evil of La Republique du Cameroun against Anglophones, who voluntarily voted to be part of a union with them.
In his opening statement, Barrister Andang traced the tortuous road that Cameroonians of English Speaking expression have all along passed through; and even some of their francophone brethren who have become sympathetic to their predicaments. After all, both had agreed to unite in total fraternity and solidarity.
The outspoken Barrister dismissed the Plebiscite as a hoax, and asserted that the teething problems of Anglophones started when they joined La Republique du Cameroun in what may as well be referred to as conspiracy theories.
He re-iterated that while La Republique du Cameroun had her Independence from France on January 1, 1960, the Southern Cameroons had hers on October 1, 1960. 50 years down the road, Barrister Andang was unequivocal that La Republique du Cameroun has effectively annexed Southern Cameroons from the way its people are treated with disdain and levity.
He said Cameroon is a Bilingual and Bijural nation, and on no account should the government decide to produce a legal document used in the entire nation only in French. “If bilingualism is anything to go by, the OHADA document should be published in English and French as provided for by the Constitution”.
He enumerated a number of losses Anglophones have suffered since they pitched tents with La Republique du Cameroun. The West Cameroon House of Assembly, West Cameroon House of Chiefs, Cameroon Bank, POWERCAM, Cameroon Airline Transport (CAT), West Cameroon Hotels Limited, Tiko International Airport, the Bamenda, Bali, Bafut and Besongabang, Mamfe aerodromes, the Victoria Deep Seaport-Bota Wharf, et al are all gone and yet to be replaced. Where are they?
He ended by branding what he said the so-called Unity as a Cloak and an attempt to hide the truth of assimilation in the name of the co-called Reunification.
“We therefore call on the government of La Republique du Cameroun to look into the above ills and proceed to forthwith, without any delay, redress our complaints. God, help us,” he concluded.
This is just an extract of a four page revealing document by North West Lawyers issued on October 1, 2016.