Monday, 3 July 2017

Government Current Measures Cannot Bear Fruit -- They Are Just An Abusive Way Of Delaying Our Progress - Barrister Akere Muna

Barrister Akere Muna continues his sermon on his article “Things Fall Apart”


On the matter of Common Law Magistrates and Judges: I have read that a Common Law section has been opened at the School of Magistracy and that exams will be scheduled. It is good that concrete solutions are being proposed, but we can and should go further than that. The above action will take at least four years to start producing results. The law does already provide us with a solution that that will produce almost immediate results and cause us to start conforming not only to the Common Law training but also to the Common law culture and tradition: Section 14 of Decree No. 2004/080 from the 13th of April 2004, lays down a procedure for lawyers and other categories of trained jurists to be integrated in to the Magistracy at different grades depending on their years of experience. This is the Common Law tradition.
Government Current Measures Cannot Bear Fruit -- They Are Just An Abusive Way Of Delaying Our Progress - Akere Muna
Some lawyers with revered experience and with reputations for moral rectitude could be selected to become judges. Not only would this provide an almost immediate solution, but also, it would be applying the Common Law tradition whereby a large number of members of the judiciary are recruited from the private Bar. To date only one person seems to have benefited from this tradition. That is the late Chief SML Endeley who started out as a Barrister before becoming the Chief Justice of West Cameroon. A reminder of this fact was the strong showing of the Bar at his historic funeral in Buea.

In a country where there is a total lack of trust towards a government that is long on promises and short on delivery, there are many who do not see any of the proposed measures bearing fruit anytime soon. Instead, they are viewed as yet another ruse – another dilatory tactic. Decentralization is contained in the 1996 Constitution, and over twenty years later, the Regions yet have to elect a President. A measure that was promoted as the equivalent of a federation in 1996 has since 2004 been watered down to a structure in which elected officials are under the control of political appointees. Even in that watered down form, 13 years after, nothing has happened. I am afraid that in the present climate, any attempt at decentralization under the current legal framework will not address any of the substantial issues that are now being raised.

On the Matter of the Lost Academic Year: If all the measures outlined above implemented, to show the government’s good faith in addressing the issues at hand, further steps can then be taken to address the interrupted school year. Specifically, intensive courses could be offered over the long vacation, along with a special second session of all the exams that have been disrupted. The start of the next academic year may even be slightly delayed, but we would have gone a long way in making amends. I hear there is an African proverb which says “when an adult falls, he stand up looks back; and when a child falls, he stands up looks forward”. The way to peace, dialogue and unity cannot be paved by the arrogant use of power and retributive justice. Even after 27 years of suffering, Mandela harnessed the wrath of a downtrodden people, who had witnessed the subjugation and murder of their own by an imperious few on the basis of race. In this present juncture the powers that be, have to decide on which side of history they choose to take their place.
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