Death of Cardinal Tumi, the regime rid of an impediment to entuber in circles, Cameroon loses an apostle of peace
Cameroon has been in mourning since the early hours of Saturday April 3, 2021. Cameroonians from all walks of life, regardless of religion, mourn a great man of the inter-two centuries, who bowed without drums or trumpets, around three in the morning.
The man who had become Archbishop Emeritus of Douala in 2009, leaving the direction of the Church of God which is in Douala to his Coadjutor, Monsignor Samuel Kléda was the first Cameroonian and the only one to have been created Cardinal, and will remain so. until that fateful night of April 2 to 3, 2021 when he leaves this valley of tears that is the land of men for good.
But it is not only for his statutes of Prince of the Church and especially of Shepherd of the Children of God since his ordination in 1966 that His Eminence Christian Cardinal Wiygang Tumi was one of the favorite Cameroonian personalities, if not the most consensual. The sense of justice of this man who knew how to speak to the powerful so that they never lose sight of the fact that if the power comes from God, its holder has the imperative mission to work for the well-being of God’s creatures, and must not in any case, or under any pretext, be caught in the temptation to enslave the latter or make them miserable.
Crossed against oppression and repression, this English speaker trained in Educational Sciences in Nigeria, graduated in theology from the Catholic Institute of Lyon in France and Doctor in Philosophy from the University of Friborg in Switzerland, was also against corruption in particular and poor governance in general, which, combined with the first two mistakes, constituted the explosive cocktail that made Cameroon a country sitting on a volcano.
The man of God with the high and green verb was also a follower, not to say a preacher of non-violence, to the point of confusing those who, having regard to his positions, misunderstood him and took him for an irreducible warrior. By way of illustration, the author of these lines keeps in mind an interview with Cardinal Tumi, a little over a quarter of a century ago, in the office of this capital Prelate in the Archdiocese of Douala. The man of God had not hesitated to take back his host, calling his ideas “Violent”, while this one noted the villainy of the administration of the affairs of the country by its leaders. It was only in retrospect, the experience and understanding brought by the years helping that this interlocutor of the Cardinal understood that the purpose of this moral authority was in fact a paternal invitation not to give in to the temptation to pass from the other. side of the obscure to bring a criminal retort to an offense which is sometimes clearly unbearable.
Neither warmonger nor fatalist, a fighter for deep truth
Such was the Cardinal who will always surprise his world by his will not always to chorus with the wolves… of violence. He paid a great deal of insult, emanating from the powerful of the regime in place in Cameroon since 1982 or from their relatives. In recent years, he was also misunderstood by some Cameroonians sympathetic to the cause of secessionists who, having previously taken him for an opponent of the Yaoundé regime, therefore considered his calls for moderation and dialogue as treason, in any case, a way of espousing the positions of the regime which has not ceased to tax with terrorism those English-speaking people who illegally took up arms to face the oppression to which they were subjected by the Cameroonian defense and security forces.
The Cardinal was even kidnapped by one of the separatist groups and subject to a humiliating interrogation on November 5, 2020, while he was in the company of the Traditional Chief of the Nso, Fon Sehm Mbinglo II, and released 24 hours later.
According to sources close to the kidnappers, Monsignor Tumi was a victim of his very advanced age and his positions could be understood as taking on the unrealism that characterizes both too old and young people: “When the Cardinal says that our brothers in the diaspora should instead create a political loan to defend our cause, he aligns himself, without knowing it, behind the regime which accuses Anglophones in the diaspora of supporting the armed struggle of the Restorationists. But also he ignores the realities of this country where only the Rdpc of Paul Biya can hold meetings and other conferences, the meetings of other political parties being systematically prohibited or canceled at the last minute. Coming from someone who has long criticized the regime’s crimes and contradictions, I believe that the age of this Vicar of Christ must dictate to him principles that we are not able to understand, except to believe that he suffers from denial syndrome also called “Jean de Dieu Momo syndrome” ”, confided to us shortly after the release of the Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Julius Kum, an English-speaking Cameroonian exiled in the United States, before concluding: “But from there to saying that he is a sold or a traitor to an English-speaking cause which has never been his, there is an excess which we must do without”.
Members of the Ambazonian leadership whom Cameroonvoice was able to contact after Monsignor Tumi was kidnapped again at the end of January, have however denied any involvement in the kidnappings. “Unnecessarily compromising” November 5, 2020 and January 30, 2021 of the bishop. On the other hand, they constantly accused “Small groups in the pay of the regime which from time to time pose very negative or striking actions that they then attribute to our movement. But we are not jokers to do rash actions. Even the less educated of our elements are smarter than the members of the regime who create armed groups to infiltrate us, and I can swear to you that soon the true identity and exact affiliation of those who took the cardinal the year last and end of January hostage will be revealed to you. And you will be surprised to note that they are not secessionists, and that the Cardinal, in his desire to see the bloodbath and the slaughter stop, must have responded positively to those who invited him to play this game. Game. “.
Behold the man
He was ordained a priest on April 17, 1966 in the diocese of Buéa, he continued his training in educational sciences in Nigeria then in London (Great Britain), obtained a license in theology at the Catholic Institute of Lyon (France) and defends a doctoral thesis in philosophy at the University of Friborg (Switzerland). Once back in Cameroon, he was appointed rector of the major regional seminary of Bambui (archdiocese of Bamenda).
On December 6, 1979, Father Christian Tumi was appointed Bishop of Yagoua in the North Province of Cameroon. A month later, on January 6, 1980, it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in person. On November 19, 1982, he became Coadjutor Archbishop of Garoua, and less than two years later, on March 17, 1984, he became Archbishop of Garoua, which he led for seven years, since on August 31, 1991, he was appointed Archbishop of Douala . Previously, he will have been created Cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the consistory of June 28, 1988 with the title of cardinal-priest of Santi Martiri dell’Uganda a Poggio Ameno. By the way, he was president of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon several times, especially in the period 1985-1991 and much later.
Tumi presided over the Cameroonian episcopal conference between 1985 and 1991. He retired from his office as archbishop on November 17, 2009 at the age of 79. His coadjutor, Mgr Samuel Kleda succeeds him.
He was appointed cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the consistory of June 28, 1988 with the title of cardinal-priest of Santi Martiri dell’Uganda in Poggio Ameno.
The man who left the scene at the age of 91 after having been Archbishop Emeritus of Douala since his retirement in 2009, was in the Roman Curia, a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, from Congregation for Catholic Education, from Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, of Pontifical Council “Cor unum” for human and Christian promotion and you Pontifical Council for the Family.
In his capacity as cardinal, Monsignor Tumi participated in the 2005 conclave for the election of Benedict XVI. But having reached the age limit (80 years) on October 15, 2010, he could no longer take part in that of 2013 who sees the election of the Pope François.
A fervent opponent like the majority of Cameroonians of the decriminalization of homosexuality, he spoke out in 2009 against the decriminalization of this sexual practice, even slashing the government which had ratified the 2003 Maputo Declaration on human rights in Africa.
On September 9, 2008, Cardinal Tumi receives the Cardinal von Galen Prize, from the NGO Human Life International “In recognition of nearly half a century of pastoral work by this Prelate in favor of the family, the neglect, the advent and respect of the democratic game in Cameroon”. On November 15, 2011, he received the 2011 Integrity Award from Transparency International.