The transition to glory of the 91-year-old prelate leaves Cameroon with a challenging assignment of upholding his legacy of justice as an ingredient for lasting peace.
As the dust settles on the death of celebrated Catholic prelate, Archbishop Emeritus Christian Cardinal Tumi, the life the Man of God lived and what he stood for throughout his 91 years on earth are what all and sundry absolutely need to emulate and uphold. To say the least, Christian Cardinal Wiyghan Tumi was an apostle of peace who remained true to himself irrespective of whose interest his unbending posture touched. Some regime politicians called him an ardent critic, especially when he refused to toe their line. Thus, many sometimes referred to the prelate as controversial figure but Cardinal Tumi remained faithful to truth even when it hurt. He refused to yield to temptation and stood above manipulation. He never militated for any political party; at least openly, and his stance for justice are legendary.
Those who never got Cardinal Tumi's all-time preachings on objectivity at least understood him during the trying moments in the country. At a time when both separatists expected the critic of the Yaounde authorities to join them in castigating the system; on one hand, or some regime barons who thought he could sing their chorus, on the other hand, the venerated prelate held on to the view that broad-based dialogue was a way out of the problem. He championed the course of an "All Anglophone Conference" which hit the rocks, but those who doubted his goodwill got corrected when he gladly welcomed the Head of State's decision to convene the Major National Dialogue from September 30 to October 4, 2019.
Cardinal Tumi's wholehearted participation in the Yaounde get-together left indelible marks. During the pre-dialogue consultation at the Star Building, he handed a 400-page document containing proposals for the pacific resolution of the crisis to the Head of Government. Even in the conference, the prelate gladly embraced the choice of the government on him to chair one of the eight committees, precisely that for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. It is in Cardinal Tumi's committee that a proposal was made for the State to proceed to the physical headcount of all displaced persons and come up with an estimate of their basic socio-economic needs (schools, health facilities, accommodation ...). Visibly, it is thanks to it that a Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction of the crisis-ridden regions was born.
Cardinal Tumi told anyone who cared to listen that peace is priceless and shouldn't be bargained for on any altar for whatever reason. "I am ready to preach peace in season and out of season. Christ is the Prince of peace, and I have given my life to Him. He said my peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you. To preach peace is to preach Christ's coming. We all need peace and love for one another. If we don't have that, nothing will ever be done," he had told Cameroon Tribune.
He even dared to accompany his traditional ruler, H.R.H Sehm Mbinglo I to his Nso palace during which he was kidnapped by separatists' agents. After his release, the now fallen Man of God wrote a 68-page book of 12 Chapters tiled; "My Night in Captivity." The veritable peace crusader called on the boys to drop the guns, leave the bushes and return to normal life.
Though he never lived to see a complete return of peace to the restive North West and South West Regions, peace-loving Cameroonians who cherish his ideals would have to continue the battle. As many continue to wish his soul peace, its rest can fully be peaceful when his principle of justice is spearheaded by all for the much-cherished peace to once again prevail.