Yaounde Must Dialogue - Cardinal Tumi tells RFI

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Emeritus Cardinal Christian Tumi

Following the more than two months unrest in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon, Emeritus Arch Bishop of the Douala Metropolitan Cardinal Christian Tumi, who is not happy with the ongoing situation and government's way of managing the crisis,  granted an interview to Radio France International's(RFI) Carine Frenk from his Kumbo retirement home in the North West Region yesterday Tuesday Jan. 24th 2017. 

The 86 years old prelate insisted that "Yaounde must Dialogue" in order to have a way forward. and frowns at the state of things.

RFI: Do you understand the worries of the Anglophone zone?

Cardinal Tumi: I try to understand what is happening, because I spent 30 years of my life as a priest and Bishop in Francophone Cameroon, and I am from Anglophone Cameroon. I try to understand the both sides. It is now the youths, who were not sensitized about the reunification, who have started protesting on the conditions of work, the conditions of living together, and want us to go back to where we were at the start of the reunification, which is federalism. The central power do not want this. So that is where we are, and there is tension.

RFI: This problem, this unrest is very deep, deeply rooted. Why is this crisis today?

Cardinal Tumi: Looks like the lawyers, the anglophone lawyers on their part are complaining that the Common Law is not applied. For example, in  Anglophone Cameroon, there are judges who do not know English, and who gives their judgments in French. People do not understand anything. Take for example where I am, the Divisional Officer and the first assistant are all francophones, in a region where 99% of the population are anglophones

RFI: Is it the same with  schools?

Cardinal Tumi: All is not in French. For example, there are francophone teachers teaching in anglophone Cameroon, without understanding English, and vice versa. They say the educational system should be reformed.

RFI:  Is the answer from Yaounde final?

Cardinal Tumi: Too bad. I am against any prohibition. Everyone has something to say. Listen to them. No one loves this country more than  others among Cameroonians. Even if others prefer federalism, let's talk about it to see what is best for everyone. Suppression is not the solution. It is good to try and convince, even if there is a nut that goes to the extend of requesting for total separation. There will always be extremists, but majority of anglophones wants us to go back to where we were, which is federalism. They don't want separation. Not at all.

RFI: "No Federalism, No Secession", that is what the Government's Spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said.

Cardinal Tumi: The central authority of Cameroon says "Cameroon remains one and indivisible", but the anglophone arguments is on separation which is division. Federalism is not division of a country. The government is showing its weaknesses everywhere concerning corruptions. The present system is also not the only one in this situation. We see  world examples where federated states walk and progresses well.

RFI: An unusual fact, where even the African Union is worried about the situation. Are you worried at the way things are turning out now?

Cardinal Tumi: We are very worried because they are so determined. How long shall we live under tension? There must be dialogue because the anglophones are also Cameroonians. With violence, we can't build anything. Nothing.

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