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ENAM: Common Law Concerns Considered

Presidential
Richard KWANG KOMETA | 17-05-2017 17:35

The launching of recruitment for Anglophone students into the fields of Magistracy and Court Registrars demonstrates a listening ear from government.

An announcement made on 15 May, 2017 by the Minister of Public Service and Administrative Reforms setting the date for recruitment of 50 pupil magistrates and 30 Student Court Registrars into the National School of Administration and Magistracy, NSAM or ENAM in French as from the next academic year is pregnant with meaning. The information came after a sit-in strike observed by some Common Law Lawyers since October 2016 complaining against the neglect of the English component of the legal system in the country. Although the Lawyer’s Trade Union protest was hijacked by others for political gains, the Head of State remained logical to his promise that Cameroonians had the right to express their worries within prescribed institutional framework and expect solutions to be provided by the competent authorities. Those who in the heat of the Lawyers and Teachers’ strikes opted to ignore government promises, even when the Prime Minister Head of Government travelled to Bamenda to meet the trade unionists and eventually signed decisions creating ad hoc inter- ministerial committees to handle the grievances, there were people who still had doubts. Following such rationale analysis of the situation by the Head of State, even government officials who had a poor understanding of the problems raised by the lawyers had finally agreed that there were legitimate concerns which had to be addressed. After participating at the first session of the Ad hoc interministerial committee to handle the issues of the Common Law Lawyers, the President of the Bar Council acknowledged that their discussions permitted them to have a better grasp of the issues. The Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals in an elaborate press conference on 30 March, 2017 disclosed that President Paul Biya had instructed the various Ministries to create conditions for both legal systems to coexist in the country without any taking undue advantage over the other. That has since been followed by the creation of Common and Civil Law departments in some State universities and the promises that deficit recorded in the numbers of Anglophones within the judiciary in the country will be addressed is presently being taken into consideration. Fears about transparency which some observers expressed concerning intake into such professional institutions, are hopefully going to be factored into the recruitment exercise by those being asked to conduct the selection. The current decision by the Head of State to have Anglophone specifically retained for training at NSAM is not only a mark of government determination to ensure dialogue among all Cameroonians, but also a desire to reinforce confidence building measures that can guarantee a sense of collective wellbeing in the country. Thus, those handling such an examination have to avoid attitudes that create mistrust which could in turn beget disillusionment and erode confidence. The Head of State has resolutely engaged Cameroonians on the part of dialogue and the need for common good and patriotic spirit has to be supreme in the handling of such a public examination.

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