Apr 2021

I learned with great sadness the death of His Eminence Cardinal Christian WIYGHAN TUMI, the first Cameroonian to reach this very high level of distinction and responsibility within the Roman Catholic Church, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday 03 April 2021.

This death is a huge loss for his biological family, the Catholic Church and all souls of goodwill in Cameroon and the world.

In my personal name and that of the members and sympathizers of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), I offer my most saddened condolences and my compassion to his family and to the Catholic Church which is in Cameroon.

While respecting the secular character of the State, what did His Eminence Cardinal Christian TUMI not do in the early 1990s for Cameroon to abandon the one-party system and re-establish political pluralism abolished since 1966.

During the so-called “années de Braises”, he has, despite numerous internal obstacles, made the National Conference of Bishops of Cameroon an audible moral conscience, an important actor in the fight for free and transparent elections, the application of Article 66 of the Constitution in the fight against corruption, and the resolution of the Anglophone problem, which he spells out in his book My faith: a Cameroon to be renewed, published in 2011.

Cardinal TUMI’s personal commitment to a free and democratic Cameroon where the rule of law and human rights are effectively respected has long led the most radical wing of the regime to present him as a staunch political opponent of the regime, making him the “chaplain of the opponents” in order to denigrate and discredit him, also recurrently lying in lending him in a recurrent manner the intention of wanting to become head of state.

This relentlessness against him did not discourage Cardinal Christian W. TUMI in his efforts to contribute to the establishment of a peaceful political game and a society of justice in our country. He truly and tirelessly preached love between his compatriots and peace in his country.

Cardinal Christian W. TUMI is surely leaving with the frustration of seeing Cameroonians killing other Cameroonians in the South-West and North-West regions of our country. He has tried almost everything to avoid the occurrence of the armed conflict in these two regions: advice, appeals to appease hearts, offers of good offices, etc. he will not have neglected anything. Much to the misfortune of our country, his efforts were scorned by extremists in the regime who never allowed him to meet the Head of State despite his constant request.

Several times, he has been taken hostage by secessionist rebels, despite his great age and his state of health weakened by time.

The death of this illustrious compatriot should bring those who run the country today get their act together.

His Eminence Cardinal TUMI perfectly embodied Cameroonian reunification and bilingualism. He leaves behind an immense work for his Church, his country and the world.

The greatest official tribute that the regime in place could pay him, now that he is gone, is to put an end to the unnecessary civil war waged by Cameroonians in the North-West and South-West regions. The regime, which would thus gain a certain height, would thus come to honour the greatness and the memory of a man of faith who loved God and his neighbour.

His life was a testimony. May his death be a revelation.

May his soul rest in peace

Yaoundé, 3 April 2021
Maurice KAMTO