It is the Saint Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Douala, Cameroon with an unusual crowd Saturday, April 3rd 2021.
When the Mimi Mefo Info team arrived the Cathedral at 8:20 am, the church is practical empty but the premises is full with people standing and discussing in small groups. They are bewildered. Their faces worried in total disbelieve following the death of Christian Cardinal Tumi.
“We have lost a saint. He will leave a vacuum. He died on a Good Friday during the Holy Week. I know he is seated in the right hand of God to intercede for Cameroonians and all sinners in the world, ” a Catholic Christian states in a pained yet reassuring voice.
Cardinal Tumi passes to eternity at 91 but parishioners say his simplicity and accessibility to all made him the most cherished Catholic priest in Cameroon.
“Men, women and children could visit him at will. Let him go and rest. He lived a full filled life serving Christ by taking care of people.”
While groups of women mostly from his Nso community in the North West region of Cameroon publicly shed tears in the Cathedral, others gathered singing praises to the Lord while praying for the peaceful repose of his soul.
March 7th, 2021,Cardinal Tumi celebrated his last public event when he was coronated “Shufai”; a traditional title by Nso community in Douala.
To Emmanuel Dzelafen, a close aid to Cardinal Tumi, “The cardinal loved the church and his people. He will always travel to Nso and his Kikaikileki village every January 29th to celebrate mass. He will move round placing hands and blessing people. His values were attached to the poor. He lived as a poor man but impacted lives at all levels.”
Cardinal Tumi, people of Nso say, had a lot of respect for the Nso traditional throne reason why he risked his life in 2020 while accompanying Fon Mbinglo of Nso land to his palace.
Kidnapped by boys fighting for the restoration for the state of Ambazonia, Cameroonians say Cardinal Tumi’s freewill to express himself was once again on the spotlight.
“He talked to the separatists without pressure. He stated his point without fear,” Emmanuel added.
As Cameroonians wait for the burial program of Cameroon’s lone Cardinal, Veritas Radio, a Catholic radio station in Douala has multiplied special radio programs to celebrate the life of the Cardinal.