Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stop plans to split Cameroon Bar Association

An article posted on Facebook yesterday highlighted the level of control, power and authority wielded by the government of Cameroon over the country's Bar Council Association - an association of learned barristers, lawyers and trainee advocates. The article, originally published on The Post on 18 October 2010, sheds light on the Cameroon government's plan to split the Bar Association. 

According to The Post, a draft bill is to be tabled in Parliament, which if voted into law, would split the Bar Association into regions - perhaps into 10 since Cameroon is made up of 10 regions (provinces).

Lawyers in Cameroon, under the leadership of Barrister Eta-Besong Junior, President of the Cameroon Bar Council Association, have rightfully condemned the government's plan to "weaken" the association.

Commonsense tells me that a split would effectively weaken the Bar Association; an otherwise powerful association which is currently in diapers and under the spell of a 27-year-old (almost 28 years old) regime. A unified Bar Association is obviously stronger, and to an extent, promotes proper legal representation.

In a nutshell, the government should stop plans to split the Bar Association for obvious reasons: A split would greatly undermine the power of the Cameroon Bar Association and put into question the government's intentions for the many people in Cameroon who are in desperate need of quality legal representation.

It is worthy to note that the government of Cameroon has already greatly limited the Bar Association by tightly controlling the organization of Bar entrance examinations.

Let me end by quoting Barrister Henry Kemende: "...we are not going to accept the Balkanization of the Bar."

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