By Akoson A. Raymond
- Illegality surrounding the Dec. 18, 2014 Supreme Court Appointments;
- The streets of Yaoundé are rife with rumours about his planned resignation if technical errors were not corrected.
I was privy to the cocktail party of Jan. 30, 2015 at the Supreme Court balcony on the occasion of the installation of the most recently appointed members of the Supreme Court. I was in the queue, awaiting my turn to grab some chewable when a man –looking serious and busy – spoke, inter alia, over my shoulders in French (my translation in English);
“…food is almost finished; yet, the Premier Avocat Général hasn’t been served…”
I turned around, tapped him on the shoulder and pointed in Chief Justice AYAH Paul’s direction.
“Is that not the ‘premier avocat general’?” I questioned.
A third, another francophone who’d been standing in front of me took an interest in our discussion. He insinuated that President Biya’s December 2014 decree appointing members of the Supreme Court had technical errors that ought to have been corrected prior to the installation. Murmuring alone in bewilderment, he questioned;
“…Il n’a pas encore rectifie le probleme hierarchie concernant ancien depute Ayah Paul…?” [My failure to translate this quote is deliberate].
This conversation vividly reminded me of the publication in the Kalara newspaper, arguing forcefully that juniors had been appointed over Ayah Paul illegally. I also remembered panel discussions on at least two private radio stations in Yaoude, coming to the same conclusion. All this of course tickled me to research into the Francophone /Anglophone positions in the Supreme Court of Cameroun. My finding to say the least were utterly nauseating. Truly, the Supreme Court of Cameroon is an institution where Anglophone marginalization is at the climax.
The leading positions (quarters that wield real power) at the Supreme Court of Cameroon in a descending order are as follows: the President of the Supreme Court (le Premier Président de la Cour Suprême); the Attorney General (le Procureur Général); the President of the Criminal Division (le Président de la Chambre Criminelle), the President of the Administrative Division (le Président de la Chambre Administrative), the President of the Audit Division (le Président de la Chambre des Comptes), the 1st Deputy Attorney General (le Premier Avocat Général); and the Secretary General (Secrétaire Général de la Cour Suprême)…
Since reunification (a ‘reunion’ that ought to have brought together two peoples equal in status) some 54 years ago, no Anglophone has been judged qualified enough to occupy any of these positions. A certain Chief Justice Epuli Mathias once came close. But he only served as an Acting President of the Administrative Division (Président par interim de la Chambre Administrative). But Biya and his Francophone-Beti government hastened to write him off in that “C’est un anglo”.
For the sake of space and time, we leave the analysis of the francophone /Anglophone composition of other divisions of the Supreme Court for another day. We propose only to underline for now President Biya’s blatant illegality (could it be an oversight?) on Dec. 18, 2014, in appointing judges to the Attorney General’s Office of the Supreme Court.
The case of HRH Hon. Lord Justice AYAH Paul ABINE.
The Attorney General’s Office (the Legal Department of the Supreme Court) to which Chief Justice AYAH Paul was appointed comprises the Attorney General (le Procureur Général), the 1st Deputy Attorney General (Premier Avocat Général), and other “avocats genereaux”. It is disgusting fantasy that AYAH Paul (who has reached the zenith of his career in the judiciary – haux hierarchie premier groupe) is only one of four avocats generaux, whereas George Mbengue, of Super Scaledeuxiemme groupe is 1st Deputy Attorney General, (Premier Avocat Général), over AYAH Paul.
It is a sacrosanct matter of law, just like in the military, that a subordinate cannot be placed in a position of authority above someone higher than him on the echelon. President Biya’s appointment of Mr. George Mbengue, of Super Scaledeuxiemme groupe to boss Chief Justice Ayah Paul therefore desecrates the law, and constitutes not only an affront to Anglophones but an act of gross illegality.
And it doesn’t end there…
It is also clear in law that where two magistrates are equal on the same hierarchical plane (in this case, both men are hors hierarchie premier group), the older in age must be appointed in preference. Chief Justice AYAH Paul, the Anglophone boy, from my investigation, is older than the current Attorney General Mr. Luc Ndjondo. This makes AYAH Paul the rightful Attorney General (Procureur Général). But that is not the case…
The question now is whether, as wild rumours are already circulating in the streets of Yaoundé, the no-nonsense Chief Justice Ayah Paul that we know, (who has ever been so allergic to unlawful acts in the past) is contemplating resigning if those “technical errors” are not corrected in the near future. Only time shall tell.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)