By Nester Asonganyi
Government insensitivity to the aspirations of Presbyterian and Catholic Christians in particular and, Anglophones in general, has once more been displayed via the Presidents of Magistrates Courts in Bamenda, Kumba, Buea, Kumba and Mamfe, by way of a second adjournment to the case against Catholic Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province and the Moderator of Presbyterian Church in Cameroon; a situation that most Christians have opined, might jeopardize schools resumption in the Northwest and Southwest Regions come September.
“We know the Government too well. It is looking for ways to cajole parents and Christians to send their children back to school, come September. Don’t be surprised that they adjourn the matter again on September 25,” Nju Tolefeh, a parent and retired teacher posited. According to him, it is not good for Government to keep dragging issues. Judgment, he thinks, should have been passed immediately, to let everyone know their stand.
The Rambler has it on good authority that an almost uniform action was embarked upon on Friday, July 21, by the Presidents of the Magistrates Courts in towns where Diocesan seats and the Synod office of the PCC are located, hinged on similar communiqués, informing the embattled clerics that the case against them has been unilaterally adjourned to Monday, September 25, 2017 in lieu of Monday, July 24, as had earlier been programmed.
This explains why neither of the parties was in the Magistrates court in Buea, particularly, that had already been inundated by presence of security operatives who barred entry into the premises as early as 6 am.
Tabot Helen, a pupil lawyer and a catholic Christian, observed that, the adjournment is like adding salt to injury because, the people are still annoyed that their leaders are being dragged to court and the adjournment of their trial only raises eyebrows. She posits that it might be that bad fate awaits the clergymen and Government wants the people to go back to school before they are sentenced. “What awaits them from the courts might not be good and they know the people would definitely refuse going to school if their spiritual leaders are put behind bars,” she said.
To Ndong Lucienne, an MSc student at University of Buea, it is a delaying tactic by the powers that be so that, the case can die a natural death. She said this was because she had learnt that, even during the first hearing, the accusers did not show up and the presiding magistrate had even threatened throwing out the case. As she puts it, her only fear is that, the uncertainty on the fate of the pastors of souls might also bring uncertainty on school resumption.
Another twist to the Government of Cameroon, Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda and Moderator of the PCC saga emerged after the last adjournment on July 5, when upon being derided for incompetence by colleagues defending the clerics, the Counsel for the prosecution proceeded to suing the Bishops at their various Diocesan seats where their courts actually have jurisdiction unlike the first suit that lumped all the Bishops in the Buea Magistrates Court and by that token, wreaked of failure to grasp elementary principles of common law practice. This means that unlike in the first summons wherein all the Bishops in the Southwest were to appear in a Buea Magistrates court, each of them will now be appearing before the president of the Magistrate Court in the town where the seat of their Dioceses are located
It would be recalled that during the first trial of the clergymen at the Buea Magistrates court on Monday, June 5, both the ‘Consortium of Parents’ and the prosecuting magistrate had tactically avoided the trial. Even so, one of the lead Counsel, Barrister Etta Bisong Junior had qualified the case as ‘not ripe.’ Would it mean the case is still ‘not ripe’?
He had stated, “The matter is not ripe; the people who have brought the Bishops and the Moderator to court have not fulfilled conditions precedent for the matter to be ripe before the court. We never asked for it to be adjourned; it is the prosecutor who asked for it to be adjourned.”
The presiding Magistrate, Beatrice Ntuba Nambangi, would also frown at the attitude of the accusers, whom she noted were behaving as though the matter they themselves had brought before the court was a joking matter. “You can’t summon people here and you are absent or enjoying the comfort of your home,” she had snarled.
Another rather frustrated senior Barrister told The Rambler: “the sinister tactic of the official face behind this mask of so called Parents’ Consortium is to balkanize the defense, weaken their force, so that lawyers will no longer concentrate as they ought to, and won’t attract popular action.
“The ploy is to divide the strength of the population, so popular attention isn’t attracted like was the case on the first day. It is a particularly strange phenomenon, adjourning court matters by way of radio announcements…”
Strange enough, none of the radio communiqués pinpointed any particular reason for the [uniform] adjournments. They were all surreptitiously bland, yet peculiarly uniform in tone and temper.
By Claudia Nsono
Former Supreme Court Advocate General and National President of the Popular Action Party, PAP, Chief Justice Ayah Paul Abine, has in an official Facebook publication slammed what he terms the double standards nature of the Cameroon Government. He has questioned why at 67, he is on retirement while his older colleagues are still “actively serving the state.” He averred this on the eve of his 67th anniversary and in the wake of shakeups in state varsities.
“At 66, turning 67 in the coming hours, Ayah wishes to congratulate the following more elderly colleagues of his whom, despite their more advanced ages, did miraculously ward off the tsunami: Joseph Essomba aged 80, Jean Foumane Akame aged 78, Daniel Mekobe Sone aged 72, Arrey Florence Rita, aged 70.”
According to Justice Ayah, “Their survival was more than just a feat.”
He noted that unlike others who dream of empires, death does not permit them to build, unlike those who construct such empires and hopelessly watch them disintegrate, “I am lucky that the cornerstone of my dream empire has been laid in my life time.”
The Chief Justice’s last Facebook outing featured some of his purported achievements. He claimed that Cameroon’s newly created Common Law Department at the Supreme Court which as at now exists only on paper, is the fruit of his questioning why the court could not do justice to its litigants of common law jurisdiction. He claims to have questioned the powers that be less than a year ago. He went on to claim that he had noted with disdain the intolerability of the existence of only Civil Law Judges in a dual legal system composed both of Common Law and Civil Law.
While lauding his Federal Bilingual Grammar School, Man O’War Bay, and professional senior, Justice Epuli Mathias, who heads what he calls the “most prestigious divisions of the court,” the Criminal Division, Chief Justice Ayah said that “much as those are right steps in the right direction, I still hold tenaciously to the desire that it may please the Most High to grant me the time, the means and the energy to get those steps and more Common Law values and principles enshrined in a constitutional monarchy.”
Retired Chief Justice, Ayah, who doubles as the National Chair of the Popular Action Party, PAP, stressed that, “this politics, who still doubts that, our heroes and leaders are back home, stop this joke of interim Prime Minister.”
It is uncertain to some uncompromising militants of the super scale magistrate’s party whether their icon would be released well ahead of the earmarked 2018 multiple elections. They pray that he is released soonest, to begin pulling resources prior to the elections yet to be authoritatively proclaimed.
In the meantime, while his fellow Anglophone peers were awaiting trial, the former Supreme Court Advocate General, met head-on with a malady. Justice Ayah, according to a Facebook announcement published by his son, Ayah Ayah Abine, was rushed to the emergency ward of a hospital in Yaounde. He equally disclosed that the malaise befell his father who is being detained at the Yaounde Gendarmerie Headquarters in connection with what has been termed the Anglophone crisis, on his birthday.