Legal Luminaries from the North West and South West Regions under the canopy of the Association of Cameroon Common Law Lawyers have prolonged their strike action for another week after shunning the courts for a whole week,
Reports have it that about 1000 cases in North West and South West courts suffered adjournments.
According to a joint communique signed on October 15, 2016, the presidents of the various association that make up the Cameroon Common Law Lawyers Association the lawyers have vowed to ramp up pressure on government to address their grievances.
Barrister Collins Arrey, a legal practitioner in Limbe said, the strike is motivated by the fact that Cameroon is a signatory to the OHADA treaty which has French as working language, He said this infringes on the fundamental provisions of the Cameroon constitution which states that Cameroon is a bilingual country and both languages are of equal status. He added that as a practicing advocate, it is difficult to work with the OHADA Uniform Act in a purely Anglophone setup.
He also said another reason for the strike is the fact that the Anglo-Saxon judicial system has been infiltrated by francophone magistrates who are sent sometimes to the regions as prosecutors and judges of the bench. “We have decided to come out in one voice to tell government to stop sending prosecutors who know little or no English to English speaking regions to prosecute cases.” Arrey told The Sun.
Barrister Epey, Spokesman of the Fako Lawyers Association said the reasons for extending the strike is due to government’s nonchalance to their grievances. He vowed that the strike must continue until government reacts.
The joint communiqué reads;
“We thankfully congratulate members of our four Associations (FAKLA, MALA, MELA & NOWELA) for their heeding to the call to protest strike and observing it across the entire common law jurisdictions of the North West and South West Regions; After duly evaluating the strike of 11th to the 14th of October 2016, and carefully deliberating on the way forward at the local levels of our various Constituent Associations, we have synchronized the common position which provides us with a consensual platform as follows: That on account to the deaf ear given to our protest strike we have unanimously agreed to extend the strike for another working week beginning from monday 17th to friday 21st of october 2016; We note with regret that the Government instead of responding to our demands spice by the strike action is still employing its traditional policy of divide and rule.
Consequently, we call on our members to remain resolute, determined, steadfast and focus and not to lend themselves to any Government manipulation; That a crucial enlarged meeting will be held in due course to decide on the next steps to be taken should the government continue to ignore our demands;That we shall be calling on all elected Public Representatives from the North West and South West Regions, to discharge their obligations to their constituencies which fall within the Common Law jurisdiction of North West and South West Regions to make their joint statements in the protection of the legal and legitimate rights of their constituents-cum-users of the Common law in Cameroon, failing which they shall be adjudged as haven compromised their representative positions vis-a-vis their constituencies; That we call on the members of the North West Fons’ Union to reassert and reconstitute their Union and stand up along the South West Chief’s Conference, as one person, to protect the children of their respective Fondoms and Chiefdoms in their efforts to protect their constitutional rights to have the common Law restored and protected; That we call on our sister syndicates, with similar sectoral plights to continue pursuing their demands trusting on the support of Cameroon Common Law Lawyers in any legal pursuit of their complaints, whether separately or jointly with us until such time that we would have exhausted local remedies within the national jurisdiction.We shall be synergizing with SYNES, Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union –(CATTU), Teachers Association of Cameroon (TAC), Traders Associations, Taxi Drivers Unions, Bus Companies, and Commercial Motorbike Riders’ Associations, as well as “Buyam Sellam” Associations, across the North West and South West Regions; We finally appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our clients and emphasize that they and us have a joint interest in protecting the common law’’.
It should be noted that the lawyers are not against any personnel of the courts and consequently they are enjoined to eschew any hostility against us or our clients for they are better placed to understand the legality and legitimacy of our demands as corrective and protective measures in the recovery and rebuilding of judicial integrity and performance for the benefit of all out of our diversity.