The Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Christian Cardinal Tumi has declared that a-yet to be issued statement from the Administration is the stumbling block, that has compelled the conveners of the Anglophone General Conference (AGC) to slow down few days to the initial dates, 21st and 22nd November 2018.
This is the second time that the AGC is postponed after the conference failed to hold last August 29-30, which were initial dates of the conference.
During the press conference in Douala, Tuesday, November 20, 2018, the conveners expressed doubts over Government’s stands on the AGC, considering the fact that the DO of the host town Buea has remained silent.
« We have done necessary groundwork for this meeting to take place, and we made necessary contact within the government and held meetings…but we cannot carry on with the meeting until the government makes its stand clear on the initiative.
“Though we acknowledge that the law permits us to go ahead after declaring the meeting at the Buea DO’s office; because our lawyer told us so, we want a written authorisation to serve as a tangible evidence of government support… » Elie Smith, Spokesperson for AGC declared at the press conference Tuesday.
The Archbishop Emeritus of the Douala Diocese Christian Cardinal Tumi, declared to the press that the conference was simply postponed and not cancelled. « The government did not ban the conference…if they issue an authorisation; it means they are part of it. This conference has two major objectives: Identify the causes of the Anglophone problem with all the actors involved, reflect on the way forward and take the proposals to the national level. This is a national problem and we are a whole…if a part of a whole is not well, then the whole is not complete, » Christian Cardinal Tumi said.
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, Rt Rev Fonki Samuel Forba, said it was too early to tell if the government is in support or against the Anglophone General Conference. « We cannot say the government is reluctant…the government has a lot on its table right now, so we cannot tell if the government is in support or against…but if they issue an authorisation, it means they are part of it…, » he posited.
The Imam of the Buea Central Mosque, Aladji Mohammed Aboubakar on his part, took time to recall the role of the conveners: « we are here as mediators and nothing else…we cannot stay indifferent as church leaders to the worsening crisis…the population has continued to suffer and is still suffering and we want an end to that. »
The organisers of the Anglophone General Conference recognised the disappointment of Anglophones and Cameroonians in general over the postponement of the AGC; but said as religious leaders, they must ensure that they are taking the right steps, towards the right direction.
They remain confident that government will respond favourably to their request for a written authorisation in the days ahead, and that the conference will eventually take place in Buea, and only in Buea.
It is not known when the AGC will hold, but only an approval from the government will now pave the way.
The conveners including Barrister Agbor Balla have stressed on the need for all the actors to be involved; the pro-independence advocates, the federalists and the unionists, for the conference to reflect the expected inclusive nature.