The Cameroon Bar Council President is the most prestigious position in the Cameroon Bar Association giving the numerous advantages attached to it. As the executive organ, the Council President oversees the day to day management of the association yet; the Bamenda elective General Assembly goes into record as one that may divide the Anglophones who for the past years have demonstrated their skills in handling the Bar. If not of the controversy between Me Meli and Barrister Eta-Bessong Jr that almost destroyed the one-time biggest lobbying force. According to this agreement, whenever the President of the General Assembly is from the French Speaking part of the Country, the Bar President emerges from the English Speaking part. However, that notion may not hold as the long awaited battle between Barrister Sama Francis and the incumbent Barrister Eta-Bessong witnessed the stiff resistant from Me Kamga. Notwithstanding, when Barrister Njualem emerged from the wilderness to announce his candidature things became more complicated for Sama and Eta-Bessong who were just waiting to pick the crown from the gutter without much efforts. Indicators are rife at that Barrister Njualem from the South West Region may likely split the votes of Eta-Bessong either infavour of Sama Francis or Me Kamga.
As is the case with every election, voices were also raised at the Bamenda Congress Hall that money changed hands yet no name was however mentioned. In fact when Barrister Sama Francis in his campaign speech also regretted that he hadn’t money to pay for votes and that which he would never, observers continue to believe many other transactions and negotiations were taking place behind the scene. Fears of to whether the three Anglophone candidates will not share votes in favour of Me Kamga looms large.
Who are They:
Barrister Njualem Charles: The Trouble-Fete
Barrister Njualem Charles hails from the South West Region and he is described by many as the man who could play the trouble-fete. His candidature took many of his colleagues by surprise since it was never announced like the three others. Being the youngest of the four contenders, his campaign message was about enabling the young and the old of the noble profession to chat a way-forward for the Bar. He talked of the need for the old and the young to work for a transition in the Bar Council not to pass time fight one another as was the case with the out-gone Presidents. Njualem who entered the Cameroon Bar Association in 1984 finally had a breakthrough into the Bar after the failed attempt for years ago. As God would make it, he finally signed his signature into the book of time through this year’s election. He came seventh in order of merit of the newly elected members into the Bar Council.
Barrister Kamga: Modernizer
He is a Douala based Barrister at Law, who entered the Bar in 1987 and Prince of Bandjoun Palace in the West Region of Cameroon. Kamga came with the entire West Region behind him and it is even alleged that if Barrister Bobga Harmony was elected President of the General Assembly, he would have had a very easy walk through. Being naturally a good orator and a public speaker par excellence, while campaigning he talked elaborately of the hopeless Cameroonian youths. In his campaign speech Me Kamga talked of the need for the Bar to have a vision for youths whose future could only be planned now. “Yesterday” he said failed woefully to do that and it should either be done now aor never. “Actually there are no plans for the youth and I am candidate to serve so that the Order should regain it dignity”. Describing himself as an expert, Kamga says if elected the profession is bound to expand and grow. He said the Bar should pay a visit to colleagues who are arrested and detained in Yaounde. He talked flamboyantly on transparency as an asset reasons why he needs the support of other colleagues through votes for his vision for the Bar to come to reality.
Barrister Sama Francis: The Sure Bet
Sama Francis is a successful Barrister at Law based in Bamenda in the North West Region. Being a man of humble background who has had a jump-start in the profession, he wields and enjoys a lot of support from both the old and the young. A critical judgment analysis of his crushing victory into the Bar Council is however indicative. When he moved to the rostrum, he was greeted by a lot of applauds like was the case with Tim Finian, Publisher of Life Time newspaper during CAMSEJ elections. In fact every word he made ignited fanfare and enthusiasm. He used the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to speak in both French and English which helped to expose some of his hidden potentials. He did mentioned how for the past weeks or so, he was engaged in preparing the logistics for a hitch-free GM in Bamenda and added that any Barrister at Law should be out of poverty, demonstrate loyalty and show proof of dignity. From that standpoint, Barrister Sama portrayed self as a role model in the profession. To confirm that money buy votes during elections, he said he has no money to buy votes and that since everyone came to Bamenda, they must have tested a bit of his availability. He traced his dignity to his childhood yet decried that the past four years of the Bar were all dashed hopes.
Like any other sensitive Cameroonian Barrister Sama also warned his Anglophone colleagues his that “tomorrow no one should talk of marginalization in the Bar Council because you voted someone of French speaking to head the General Assembly and the Bar Council should be ours”. He said that he had already negotiated with a mobile telephone network that a phone call by a member of the Bar to another within MTN network will be free. And emphasized that during his reign he will make sure that he constructs the head office for the Bar as well as lobby for the creation of a School of Law.
Barrister Eta Bessong: Looking into the Past for the Future
Barrister Eta-Bessong is the incumbent and enjoys the support of his colleagues as well as members of the old school. Fluent in his style and being a man who commands a lot of respect, he is one of the sure bets. He started his campaign speech by thanking colleagues and friends as well as members of the General Assembly for a job-well done. He described self as an advocate without any linguistic lineage. He said he won’t promise the construction of a sky scraper and that all he could pledge is make sure that the profession will maintain its status as a respectable one. He talked of the trust of a bartonnier that is humble and not people who will respect others. He reiterated the fact that the past has being an experience for him. “Please Dear Colleagues, Forgive Me”. To colleagues, he said it is not because he is the eldest that he won’t respect his junior colleagues.
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