Cardinal Tumi advocates a return to federalism as a solution to the English-speaking crisis

Cardinal Christian Tumi, Archbishop Emeritus of the Douala Metropolitan Archdiocese, former editor of the weekly L'Effort Cameroon founder, in 2003, of Radio Veritas, calls for a federal system to end the crisis that is shaking the north-west and south-west regions of Cameroon.

former editor of the weekly L'Effort Cameroon , founder of Radio Veritas in 2003.

The main organiser of the English General Conference, CGA, told the Catholic news site Crux Now that, in the face of the deepening crisis, the reintroduction of a federal form of government can keep united Cameroon .

"At reunification, I was 32 years old. I opted for federalism, and it is in my blood," said Tumi. The corporate demands of lawyers and teachers turned into fighting between government forces and gunmen. The situation killed at least 2,000 people, according to human rights groups.

The government estimates that approximately 152,000 people were displaced by hostilities and that no less than 104,000 have received government assistance .

Tumi said that a return to a federal system would be the basis for more lasting peace and stability in Cameroon. "We are a people living with all our differences and in federalism these differences are respected," he said.

"I don't have the number of states I want," Tumi said, referring to several federal proposals put forward by different parties. "We can start as we were at reunification - with two states, but in time experience will tell us if we need more, history is ahead of us, other countries like the US. did not start with the 50 states they have today.

"Neighbouring Nigeria did not start with the number of states it has today," the cardinal said.

Tumi is working with other religious leaders from other Christian denominations and the Muslim world to organise what he called a 'General English Conference'. "The conference is not an end in itself," said the cardinal." We want to inform Cameroonians about what is happening in the English-speaking regions of the country ".

Tumi said that many people, including President Paul Biya, "have no idea" what is happening in the conflict zone. "Of why the Anglophones complain, we want to give them a voice through broad consultations so that they can tell us what they want and what they propose as a solution." he said. .

He added that the conference will produce a questionnaire that will enable English speakers to clearly identify the problems they face and propose a solution. "For example, we will ask them: between federalism and the unitary state, which form of government do you think could help us out of this crisis?" Tumi said.

The cardinal said the organisers would then try to meet with President Paul Biya to communicate the resolutions of the conference and to implore the president to hold a national dialogue on the Anglophone crisis.

Although a date has not yet been set, the organisers say it is likely to take place on 30 November. However, in a rare act of unity, the government and separatists have both expressed scepticism about the proposed conference. Separatist leaders claim that the Tumi conference and its perceived 'federalist stance' can only serve to stimulate government interest.

But the cardinal said he does not understand why people want to discredit a conference, 'whose only goal is to find a solution to a crisis that kills many people'.

 "Our only goal is the return of peace, without which we could not do our missionary work," said the cardinal.

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