The Attorney General (also called Procurer Generale, PG in French) of the Buea court of Appeal, magistrate Emile Essombe has in an interview with Cameroon Concord revealed that the on-going strike by lawyers of the common law extraction in the North West and South West regions of the country is indeed grounded. Speaking to a cream of reporters who took to the court yard in Buea on Friday November 25, 2016 to ascertain the atmosphere of the courts six weeks into the lawyers strike, the attorney general noted that the strike action is really affecting business at the court. While affirming that since the lawyers embark on their strike action, not one out of the over 300 found in Fako had shown up to court, the PG pointed out that the strike has greatly affected a lot of people especially those who were awaiting trial.
The magistrate who had earlier convened some prominent common law lawyers, among them the president of the Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA, Agbor Felix Nkongho to his office for a chat after their strike went effective, told pressmen that he was abashed by what he read in the papers concerning their discussion at the meeting. While grinning as much as his jaws could permit him, the PG noted that he simply called on them to discuss about the strike were-in he cautioned them that him being the attorney general and charged with all legal issues, it was just but normal for them to have addressed their worries first to him before taking on themselves to go on a sit-in strike. He reiterated the fact that there was no intimidation at all but just a talk.
The attorney general however noted that the doors of the courts remain open as most of the court cases are adjourned. While pointing out that it is only cases at the Supreme Court that requires the presence of a lawyer before it presided, the attorney general regretted the fact that even for the smallest of cases people insist they must have their lawyer before setting foot in court. Quizzed to buttress on why after the lawyers went on strike rather than negotiating with them, riot police and water cannons where used on the lawyers by the government, Emile Essomba ranted and put the blame on the door steps of some irate police officers who to him acted not on instructions form the states.
He however noted that the lawyers would have informed the state of their problem and wait quietly for their reply. Clarified on while the OHADA text which happened to be one of the working tools of lawyers was made only in French despite the fact that Cameroon was a bilingual country, the senior magistrate told pressmen that the first translation was rejected because of the poor nature at which it was done. He equally noted that the OHADA law which is made up of the nine uniform acts including the uniform act on security, commercial companies and economic interest groups, arbitration and the uniform act on the carriage of goods by road just to name but these; despite it cumbrous size had already being translated as announced by the Minister of Justices and keeper of the seals, Laurent Esso. He however made mentioned that the laws where yet to be made public because they had being deposited at the secretariat of OHADA which is found in Yaounde for its approval.
As our reporter exited the court arena in Buea, the impact and losses inquired as a result of the lawyers strike was inevitable as grasses and papers flooded the deserted court rooms. Businessmen who earn a living out of the sale of legal materials and gadgets such as LEGALCOM Buea noted told this reporter that business had gone from slow to limping.
On the part of the population, dozens of Cameroonians who were supposed to be free now are still being held behind bar awaiting trial and hoping that a compromise could be established between the state and the common law lawyers.