Anglophone attorney blasts colleagues

Maître Kizito Dikuba

What began as a strike by anglophone Cameroon lawyers, to address genuine grievances, has exploded into a political crisis gripping the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Below, we publish an opinion piece penned by Kizito Dikuba, a Douala-based anglophone lawyer, in which he lays the blame for the current impasse squarely at the foot of his colleagues. “Every lawyer worth the salt knows that there is a difference between a sit-in strike, a protest, and a riot… In Cameroon, the public, misled by some of our self-proclaimed “leaders,” does not even know the difference..”

Read the entirety of his piece below:

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Today, I sit and ponder: how could some of us, the anglophone lawyers in Cameroon, accept to be led by the nose by people who understand little or nothing about constitutional law, about the laws of the land, about international and comparative laws, and who are just driven by sheer passion and the quest for cheap popularity?

I am at wits end when I notice the lack of tolerance manifested by these self proclaimed “leaders” of the anglophone cause towards people who don’t share their ideologies. Their “followers” are always ready to stigmatise dissenting views and treat the authors as “traitors,” “blacklegs” etc. Some radical ones even go to the extent of threatening the lives of people and families who don’t adhere to their ideas!!

I find this scandalous.

Now, every lawyer worth the salt knows that there is a difference between a sit-in strike, a protest, and a riot.

All over the world these three notions are governed by laws, and Cameroon is not an exception.

However, I have realised that in Cameroon, the public, misled by some of our self-proclaimed “leaders,” does not even know the difference. Hence they mix up issues and put all three in one basket!!!

Now everyone is surprised about the consequences.

Generally, for an association to initiate a strike action against hierarchy, there must be a general assembly of its members, with at least two-third of same voting for the strike action. A notice to commence the strike is served to the competent authority, stating the reasons for the strike and laying down certain conditions to be satisfied for the strike to be uplifted. The competent authority might engage in dialogue immediately and solve all or a major part of the demands on the one hand, or permit the strike to go on, while simultaneously looking for ways and means to solve the problem.

In the case of a protest march, the association, or group of persons, have an obligation to notify the competent authority about the protest march. They have to state the reason for the march. They have to define the itinerary of such a march. The competent authority might refuse or accept such a march. If the competent authority deems that the itinerary of the protest march might compromise public security, it can modify such itinerary to avoid any complications. Lastly, the competent authority upon accepting the protest march to take place, owes a duty to the protesters and public to provide law enforcement officers who could peacefully and non-violently manage any situation of violence that might erupt.

In the case of a riot, generally, no notice is given to any competent authority. This is because a riot is most of the times associated with anarchy, violence and destruction. It is like a hurricane that tends to sweep everything along its path, leaving tears and desolation most often than not. In such a situation, the government usually sends specialised forces to deal with it. In Cameroon, they are the anti-riot police. In the US, it is the National Guard.

In the Southern Cameroons, lately, we have witnessed all the above-mentioned three scenarios; but to my dismay, I hear our so-called leaders just talking about “strike” and not properly educating the public about the legal consequences of violent protests and riots. They instead tend to encourage such violence and intimidation.

A few days ago I stumbled upon one of these crazy communiques purportedly signed by one Bara on behalf of the consortium in which he threatened defaulters who would not adhere to his “ghost town” idea on the 10th and 11th of February!!! I find this insane!!!

Be that as it may, I am shocked that most of the anglophone lawyers in the Southern Cameroons, including our so-called leaders, did not take time out to read the recently promulgated laws on terrorism. Had they done that, I think they would have had a very different approach in handling this problem. I urge my learned colleagues and brothers to do their research and keep abreast with the laws existing in Cameroon.

I read and hear some people say that the international community will come and bring down the Biya regime because of the “Anglophone problem”.

How could these people be so naive? Nobody asks what it takes for the UN or AU to intervene militarily in the state of affairs of a sovereign state. Some guys in the diaspora, especially Britain, keep on brandishing correspondences from some British Parliamentarians relative to the “Anglophone problem” in the Southern Cameroons as a victory.

What they refuse to explain to the ignorant population is that these correspondences are somewhat generic, and that any British citizen can complain to the parliamentarian of his county on issues bothering him and will receive such a reply as acknowledgement of receipt.

It doesn’t mean that the matter will be looked into immediately. There is a whole battery of procedures to be accomplished afterwards. These range from the requisite amount of signatures, to even have a committee hearing. Another amount of signatures (is needed) to even consider a debate in Parliament. I don’t think the Southern Cameroonians will meet up with this battery of procedures.

Let us stop misleading the public and go back to school and research more!!

Many things have gone wrong, and many things are still going wrong because lawyers, who were the initiators of this sit-in strike, allowed events to slip out of their hands, into the hands of irresponsible individuals who know nothing about the law and about the sufferings of the Southern Cameroonian people. These self-proclaimed leaders and elites (especially those in the diaspora) keep on chasing the shadow instead of the substance. They keep on rendering the lives of the Southern Cameroonian very difficult as a result of their irresponsible acts and their quest for cheap popularity.

It is high time anglophone lawyers sit up and take command of the situation. If not, then posterity will judge us for letting Okada riders,some “stubborn teachers” and “journalists” lead us. There is a dictum that lawyers lead and others follow.

People come to lawyers for legal solutions, not the reverse…

39 Comments

  1. Mr, you cannot just pick and chose when to invoke western system because if the premise of your write up is true, then the so called leaders you refer to so disrespectfully to the anglophone plight should be out of jail. Direct your write up to the leaders of the corrupt system you leave to release those men. Otherwise stay quiet with the little pocket change you have received.

    • What an amazing presentation, this is a real lawyer,a brain Cameroon need to get things done.not the bundle of confused and unpatriotic lawyers on an unnecessary and unconstitutional strike that mission is to cripple and elected president reign and install Laos and disorder for political gain.let’s stop this nonesence strike and go back to dialogue.

    • What an amazing presentation, this is a real lawyer,a brain Cameroon need to get things done.not the bundle of confused and unpatriotic lawyers on an unnecessary and unconstitutional strike that mission is to cripple and elected president reign and install Laos and disorder for political gain.let’s stop this nonesence strike and and other terrorists activities you guys havebeen carrying out at night and go back to dialogue

    • Oh please. Out of jail? They are would be terrorists for your information. Find out how Boko Haram group started then get back to me with an objective response

    • Referring to teachers as stubborn equates you perfectly to the same cry, arrogance and seeking for cheap popularity as you did mention. I’m not versed with the law and as you rightly might have lamely put it. “Lawyers should lead” I’m now certain that Ayah Paul (sorry for addressing him like that) Chief Justice Ayah Paul, Dr. Fontem Barrister Balla should have concerted with you before making what ever utterances that have landed them where they are now. My humble friend and comrade, I do hope you too educate yourself some more about the real issues that have plummeted these crisis. I clearly see that, your keeping quite and not making mention of the treatment metted on your fellow comrades and students of UB who on their part had issues with fees hike. These people were rough handled by the forces of law damn!!!!!! And you say it’s some cheap popularity they are talking about???? Take your responsibility and defend what is just

    • Your argument has holes all over it. Its because of people like you and Mafany Musonge that we have been enslaved by La Republic for 50 years. Thank god the people have found a voice and will not listen to what idiots like you have to say. History is not on your side and you and Musonge and all the other self centered, selfish so called anglophones will go down the annals of history as those that did nothing but encouraged the suppression of their own people for personal gain.

  2. The author of this article has raised some valid points but has failed to tackle the main issue. The issue is that Anglophones in Cameroon are marginalized. This has gone on for decades. The lawyers strike, or whatever the author cares to call it gave the reason for hell to broke loose. There are remote reasons why people are revolting and currently this is beyond the lawyers or teachers control without tangible solutions being presented by those who wield power and influence . Any patriot who wants to comment on this issue should provide suggestions that should revolve the Anglophone complaints or rather shut up!

    • What he is saying is reasonable. Marginalisation of Anglophones is happening. Handling of the protest is what is wrong. I think he hit the nail on the head. Diasporas are engineering a civil war and yet they are not making their way to Cameroon to join in. Their children are all attending school without interruption etc

  3. Wow wow wow oo! You maybe right to a point, and they too maybe right to some extent. This is not the time for an open blame game. Come out with a solution to the crisis. I think, the government should stop arresting people. Restore the Internet system. Withdraw all forces. Arrest people, but don’t kill them. Fine, then release them. Listen to the plight of the people. God Has the final answer, because everything works in His Divine Will!

  4. Let the learned lawyer, so self-absorbed with the leadership role that is the preserve of lawyers, tell us of the one instance in world history, where a revolution was Jumpstarted by a lawyer or lawyers. Is it not true, therefore, that lawyers have always followed and depended in the population to lead the way, while lawyers come in with their suits for “reparations “.

  5. Appears like a real sound beat from a house slave. You apparently focused on one issue in tilted manner and made no mention of the marginalization and human rights abuse going on in the Anglophone region.
    Oh of course you practice in Douala so your views are skewed. Pathetic for you to sit back and write this manisfesting your self centerness and ignoring history.
    How did the French Revolution start?
    Zero internet, zero school, no word from the head of la republique and you still find an excuse to post that nauseating piece?
    Aaaaaaah the horse is out of the barn and such distractions won’t hold

  6. Lawyer Kizito – I’ve read your article, and I’m sorry to say that you don’t know YOUR history. You live in Douala, far from the Anglophone provinces where maybe you grew up or where your parents came from. You are privileged to operate in a legal practice in a big city and afford a lifestyle that the same colleagues in the provinces do not have in the country of Cameroon. Since you quote legality and due process in Cameroon so much, since you seem to have forgotten that the NW and SW are not equal to the rest of Cameroon, let me remind of a few things which you or may be aware of:

    + Slavery was once legal
    + Apartheid was once legal
    + The Holocaust was once legal

    Legality of a matter of POWER, not JUSTICE. Anglophones have complained to the government from the 60s to today. This has been documented even by the French Government, and more recently by so many people within the government including President Biya. But the government has refused to listen. What must the people do? Follow what process? Beg on their knees? The government is laying to waste the future of so many kids in West Cameroon. Who will be their advocate? YOU? LOL…

    • He is not on about history. You are just using his article to pour out your pentup grievances. Hi is talking about the handling of the so called strikes/riots/Ghost town. Your response is out of context in this respect

      • His response is not out of context. The author of this article should understand that as lawyers/teachers strike has become a revolution.And anyone can lead a revolution. The author has no respect for the consortium leaders even to his own senior colleague Abgor Balla has brain more than him in law. For him to say the lawyers should be the one to lead the revolution makes little sense.

  7. Lawyer Dikuba it is truly a pity reading such a scandalous write up from someone in the same profession that was brutalised,disgraced and roughhandled by police because of a peaceful protest. The population which you describe today as illiterate became infuriated because they saw those who defend them in court trampled upon by the forces of law and order. Their reaction is reasonable to wit,if lawyers who embody the rule of law can be so abused,what would the fate of the man on the street be?Concerning your lambasting Southern Cameroonians in the diapora,let it be known to you that they do not need persons like you for approval or disapproval of the expression of their actions.You who is so learned and not in quest of cheap popularity could you please go and reopen the schools?Do not be a sell-out and a disgrace to your profession,especially as your colleague who is languishing in the Kondengui prison.

    • They will languish to death. Dikuba didn’t send them there. Southern Cameroonians in diaspora need to go home and join in and stip sending messages via social media. Syrians leave their assumed residencies in western countries everyday to go fight their plights in Syria. Name 1 Cameroonian diaspora who has done the same.

      • Helen or who Di ever you call your self. Reading an article is one thing and u derstanding its content is another thing. The so called Douala andglophone based lawyer simply made his own point of view and the people came and made theirs but u Helen u simply speak because people speak. I decided to reply to this comment of your because you seat and compare those in the diaspora with those in Syria. Tha is true the people of Syria goes back to their country to fight because they belong to a terrorist group named ISIS but those in the diaspora are not terrorist. Listen and listen well you and the learned Douala lawyer: if the government was willing to listen to the people he could have listen to them long ago and this problem would have never reach this point. Lawyers came up, then Students of UB, then teachers. Do you know why the common man on the streets decided to take over the strike. Simple let me enlighten you. Know that the girls raped and boys molested are a having brothers and sisters who weren’t happy with the way the government handled their family members because they voiced out their grievances so they also began to strike against to let the government knows that enough is enough. Mr Lawyer I want you to tell me which law states that you hold a dialogue with some associations and because the dialogue was not moving to your favour you stamped them out to be terrorist and outlaws so as to jail them and intimidate them. Note that he who pays the fees decide weather the children goes to school or not and we have decided that there is no school. Go and do your research and you ask your self how many billions floot into the country every year from the diaspora to assist families and pay their bills and you Mr Lawyers just seat on your chair and u eat fish and drink and think you can go to your keyboard and type an article that will make you be recognise or make you popular. You are those who uses opportunities to make them selves be popular like some Cameroonian bloggers.

      • My take on the current logjam is simple: ignorance. The styled “anglophone plight” exists. Like in almost all situations, expertise is required in handling problems. Sorcerers’ apprentices only act through hindsight and in steak of being pro active, they react in ways that only further misleading the now blindfolded masses.
        In this struggle, the Government has made à couple of good will moves. They may seem insignificant to some, but they really bring concret solutions to many key concerns.
        Catch-22: We are a weaker side on this issue. As such, we should get activities back to normalcy, and most likely the Internet shall be restored, the militarisation will normalize, the chances if freeing the detainees would great l’y increase, …In short, more solutions will follow.
        The continuing self-afflictions is already becoming unbearable. Those in thé diaspora should cease using the current situation to settle personal scores with the Government.
        Our lawyer compatriot ‘ s points are a good pointer. No Government can withdraw in thé face of law les sessions or anarchy.
        Some talk of “peaceful protest”. How peaceful can it be when the law of the land is ignored, especially by lawyers and intellectuals?

        I can only forêt elle more casaulties on civilisés, if we do not stop thé wanderings.
        In love
        Graham

  8. Mr Dikuba, while i very much respect your personal opinion, i will like to point out the following:
    1-The current stalemate and dilemma of english speaking Cameroon did start with the lawyers and teachers, but then, its not limited to the common law or whatever as you put it, its more about the past, present and future of a people with little or no hope. Surprisingly, you of english origin failed in your write-up to mention any ills, you are more concerned about criticising the courageous efforts of your colleagues whose families are currently languishing, while you sit in Douala and feel you are comfortable. Dont forget, the rabbit riding on the back of the lion ultimately ends up in its mouth.
    2-At this point in time the western Cameroonians are in need of front-runners with good leadership abilities to lead their legitimate cause, these could be teachers, engineers, bricklayers or okadaboys, these must not be lawyers. Your Dictum of lawyers leading for others to follow is a mere display of insufficency in your own very field of law.
    3- I acknowledge your criticisms, my only disappointment is i can’t reckon anywhere where you have proposed a single remedy or a positive start for the current plight of english speaking Cameroonians. Or should i assume you are already comfortably seated on the bandwagon of those with the opinion that “there is no anglophone problem“
    Our forefathers made mistakes in the 60s and 70s, for which our generation is harvwsting at an inequivalent price, pluck a winning and justified feather today Mr Kizito Dikuba, help save the future of southern Cameroons. Decentralization elsewhile called federation is a win-win for the entire Cameroon, else the time boom shall only continue to grow in its size of leathality
    My humble contribution

  9. I will plead with you to kindly read your article. Do you think your colleagues do not have an idea of what pertains in this struggle? Do you truly know the roots of the matter. I am comvinced you were on vacation, when you get back to work readjust

  10. A candid, authentic and balanced account of our Anglophone problem. My hope is that we educate ourselves and go back to the drawing board. If you know better, you do better.

  11. Thank you Sir, unfortunately this will only lead you to be blacklisted. Even those who claim to be lawyers in Europe and America are as back as the okada riders. Last night I saw one ask a police officer ‘ what’s breach of the queens peace, but the queen is not here. This was somebody telling officer he was a lawyer practicing in England.
    SCNC failed politicians hijacked this and apparently they don’t care about the welfare and the future of the people they claim to be fighting for.
    The southern Cameroon people are more scared of the consortium than the government. To me they are as bad as ISIS a d Boko Haram without guns!

    • You nailed it Limunga. They are terrorists. People are so shortsighted as far as this is concerned. Let’s see who is going to suffer more. Anglophone children or Okada/frustrated people? Time shall tell.

    • Haha. The people are scared of the same Consortium they see everyday living normal lives like them? The people know what they want. They might not know how to go about it. They author of this write up is basically looking for cheap popularity and u fell in the trap. But u don’t even matter to the same govt u are trying to defend. The Consortium was created after the people joined the strike. Not before. The Consortium did not ask people to follow them. The people chose the Consortium. U are a disgrace to Bakweri people.

      • I absolutely agree with you. Unfortunately most of the so call Anglophone elites betrayed their people in order to get in government. The government in Cameroon is for the Francophones and by the Francophones. The Anglophones in the government are boot lickers. People who will do anything for crumbs. That is what this infamous lawyer is!

  12. Barrister Dikoba .
    You have done well to educate the public on the differences of sit in strike , protest and riots .
    The lawyers and teachers unions were not banned nor the university union but the consortium and the SCNC .
    Your colleaques never invited politicians who went about a protest match in Buea headed by SDF chairman Fru Ndi , sure they followed the law and got permits .
    Government was already negociating with those you called misdirected self seaking colleagues of yours as leaders of the “movement” better called , and if they had succeeded in getting what they were asking for , you would not be writing this today.
    Strikes , protests and riots can all follow an issue at the same time or at different times .
    Laws are not always just , that is why certin strikes , protests and even riots are aimed to address unjust laws , so because you have laws does not mean they are just and must always be respected , and lawyers donot legislate or make laws except case laws or precedents which in the most part are not laws in the real sense. The Consortium is civil society as they say and they must not take permission from lawyers to carry out any of the three by law also . The leaders of the Consortium are not all lawyers . A particular issue can always have many organizations working for it,s resolution . Government and laws are servants of the people and not the other way round . Those who have stepped up to lead are not afraid of accusations leveled on them , they knew what they were getting into . Cameroon should know they are now dealing with a people movement and try to contain it wisely . DR REV AKWO THOMPSON NTUBA

  13. This douala lawyer is craving to be noticed. Congratulations, i just noticed you. Please let someone with a clue as to what next is to be done, come up with suggestions

  14. In a struggle like this and in a cut throat country like Cameroon, these types of people will always be there. Remember that slaery and colonisation was facilitated by us – some of our relatives, friends neighbours etc. If the southern Cameroonians organise themselves well and us more brain power than noise, they will win. Note also that this lawyer will not be stronger than all those representing the consortium leaders. So guys take it easy.

  15. Bunch of rubbish my friend. Think you should go back to law school and study proper law. I won’t be surprised to know you got your law degree from the university of Yaounde or Douala, that is why you reason the way you do. Even a kid from secondary school does not need to be educated about the lawyers plight. I myself during my primary and secondary school days back then in Southern Cameroon have been confronted with these issues raised. Just tell the public how many millions you have been given to sit down and waste your precious time to publish this rubbish. Have a nice day.

  16. Let the Government call the rightful people and reinitiate a clear dialogue and that has always been what the people have demanded. A date and clear dialogue. The government should dialogue with the people and come up with reasonable proposals or else it will be too late that they will start telling them selves in the ICC in The Hague that they were been betrayed and if they knew they would have listen to their people’s cry.

  17. The house slave just spoke what his masters schooled him to say against the field slaves,this is their peculiar line of thought.thinking like their slave masters. I can understand the barrister so well because I know his masters.God Bless You Brother

  18. Dear Mr Dikuba puting a dire our hand on on the face of other Lawyers will only prevent the sun to tempprally shine on it, but will not stop the sun from shinning on them at the same time put a shaddow on you for ever ,i trully hope you have writing all this lot not out of jalousy or contemp for not have been included in the consortium. You brought no Real no new solution,to be fair, just and impartial you should have address the problem at it roots, the twisted law and rape of the foumban accord,THE cup wine of cameroon constitution has been broken since Pr.Amadou Ahidjo and it wine diluted with dirty waters of injustice ,corruption, south an north west segregation and add laws , it’s a pity and shame on you i heard no blame or outrage or critism to the government brutality and killing,as they say hell is full of good intentions like yours .A brilhant law interpreter as i believe you must be,has the obligation to know that Lex iniqua lex non est ( An unjust law is no law at all), Being it a standard legal maxim. ,listenning to you Dr Martin Luther king, Nelson Mandela ,Patrice Lumumba etc and many other would have abandonned their struggle,but one of these”fools” once said and i quote
    “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law
    Martin Luther King Jr.

  19. To start with this current problem is purely constitional.It is high time we all get a copy of the Cameroon Constitution and read.It says the Dignity of man is inalienable and SACRED.
    In Cameroon the big problem is that Government treats the Constitution like toilet paper and has no respect for Human Dignity.In conclusion we have a primitive legal and political system and this explains all the carry on and of course the resistance.What is true is that this time the resistance is grassroot.The writing on the wall is that the English speaking Cameroonian wants to constitutionally manage his own affairs and resources.They are fed up with this Central Government which for more than 50 years has dragged them into real poverty and a blick future.
    This is a country that has no Constitutional Court and of course there is no denying that the Judiciary is certainly not Independent so…….
    The President is a Philosophical king and every government official and big businessmen swear by him.
    In the event I say that a giant must go to sleep and whilst the giant is deep asleep,a cockroach must kill him
    The whole system is rotten and it takes the present resistance to bring it down so for me the pressure of a quiet resistance and self determination must be kept.
    The worst primitive punishment as you can see is that the Internet is cut off in this modern age where information is like food or the air we breath.
    The punishment of the Anglophone who is naturally rights conscious is extreme.
    This Government must answer for all its misdeeds against the human person and his huge economic losses before the International Court of Justice.The hard evidence is not difficult to find.
    Let us all read the writing on the wall

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