After meeting with Baba Danpullo last weekend to discuss the way forward on Lawyers strike, the leadership of Common Law Lawyers who took part in the meeting that ended by 2am, wrote the following communique.
JOINT COMMUNIQUE OF THE LEADERSHIP OF CAMEROON COMMON LAW LAWYERS’ ASSOCIATIONS
The President of the Republic of Cameroon
Presidency of the Republic
Through, Alhadji Baba Danpullo
We, the Leaders of the Cameroon Common Law Lawyers’ Associations note and inform the President of the Republic of Cameroon, and the general public as follows:
i.) The failure of government to respond to our complaints against the erosion of the common law in Cameroon, which complaints began with the resolutions of the inaugural conference of the Common Law Lawyers’ Conference held on May 9, 2015 followed by the Declarations of the second conference of February 13, 2016, running through several communiques up till when the initiative for dialogue was opened between Lawyers and Teachers on the one side, and the Government, represented by the Prime Minister and Head of Government on the other side, which regrettably ended in a stalemate because the Prime Minister believes and acts over dialogue as a process for dictating to the opposing party government’s position that must be swallowed hook, line, and sinker;
ii.) The Attitude of government, through its various representatives, reveals insensitivity that feeds from a constructed culture of fear in the psyche of the governed which has in recent times witnessed a crack from the inspired, courageous, and executed disposition of Lawyers to throw off the glass ceiling of fear and assertion of their rights;
iii.) The ice-breaking action of Lawyers and Teachers and the government’s unfortunate approach of down playing them, has led to several other groups raising their own issues leading to identification and pursuit of not just sectoral solutions but a holistic framework that assures sustainability of the solicited corrective measures. This has entailed a search back into the constitutional history that reveals the root of all the problems with which we are now confronted in the failure of a projected Two-State Federal Constitutional Foundation for the Union between “La Republiqué du Cameroun” and the United Nations-British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons;
iv.) Socio-political issues like the irresponsibility of government to complaints of the governed, fuels the growth of the problems horizontally and vertically. This is exactly how the problems that were initially restricted to Lawyers and Teachers have been neglected to grow rapidly and understandably to attract more persons with similar grievances from the wider society, and indeed factored into the solution of the same enabling and sustaining constitutional frame work identified as a two-State Federation;
v.) While silence on the part of government to issues raised by professional groupings was bad enough, it is worse that government security forces should have been unleashed and permitted to embark on killings and maiming of unarmed civilians in Buea, Bamenda, Kumba, and elsewhere, within the Regions of North West, and South West;
vi.) We recall that CPDM Parliamentarians of the North West, and South West, Regions in an unprecedented manner took cognizance of the negative silence that had followed our complaints and which had pushed us to engage peaceful demonstration to attract a response and invited us to a dialogue session which began to opened the doors to concrete response by way of dialogue designed to resolve our issues, indeed ignited government’s action into dialogue which unfortunately was mismanaged by a talk down approached on us;
vii.) The above points reveal that there is a grave systemic problem with the constitutional framework and governance reflexes which require urgent programmed attention wherein some issues need to be dealt with immediately while others can be subjects of discussions within a sincere and transparent dialogue process spread into the medium term and the long term.
Against the foregoing background and informed by the constructive dialogue to which our North West Elite, Alhadji Baba Danpullo invited our Leadership to as a private initiative to thaw the impasse created by the failed attempt at dialogue with some government officials, we present hereunder the responses expected of government for a focused and productive dialogue with an eye on the time lined framework that would assure sustenance of the results there from.