Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi who died in Douala on Saturday April 3, 2021, engaged the last five years of his life for peace to return to the North West and South West Regions.
Unfortunately, the first and lone Cardinal of Cameroon did not achieve this wish as guns are still smoking in the two troubled regions. He left a work in progress.
In 2016, Common Lawyers and teachers of the English modeled-education (Anglophones) went on strike over grievances that Head of State Paul Biya acknowledged as legitimate. But as the government on the instructions of President Paul Biya was in negotiations with the two corps to reach a consensus, separatists hijacked the meaningful strike and introduced a secession agenda. And in 2017, a fight to break away the two English-speaking Regions from Cameroon and form what they would Ambazonia became an armed conflict. Warmongers living abroad coerced young adults to pick up arms.
Cardinal Tumi who is from the North West Region disavowed the armed separatists also known amba boys. Rights groups have accused amba boys of several human rights abuses including killings, kidnappings for ransom. On November 5, 2020, the late Cardinal was abducted by one of the armed groups operating in Babessi as he travelled to his native Kumbo. Surrounded by guns, he asked the young adults to drop their weapons and give peace a chance. He spent a day in captivity without food and water. Separatists claimed he was leaning towards +the government.
Cardinal Tumi’s quest for peace led him to attend and support the “Major National Dialogue” in October 2019, meant to end the rebellion in the two regions. The dialogue, according to the Catholic Cardinal was a necessary step to reaching peace. Cardinal Tumi led the dialogue in the Commission on the Assistance to Returning Refugees and Displaced Persons and has often castigated absentees and fault-finders of the rendez-vous.
Soon after, the prelate  led a “peace caravan” to the North West Region to explain the resolutions of the Major National Dialogue, aimed at ending the socio-politiocal crisis in the two regions. He said: “Peace is the key word. Without peace, there is nothing,” the cardinal said of the caravan at the time.
Before attending the Major National Dialogue in October 2019, Cardinal Tumi, together with four religious leaders (from the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Central Mosques of Bamenda and Buea) announced an All Anglophone Conference, AAC, in August 2018 and later pushed it to November. But it never held. It was to propose a peaceful solution to the conflict. Separatists, especially those living abroad rejected the conference. Government did not ban the initiative.
Besides attending the Major National Dialogue, the Cardinal pulled over 400 combatants from the bush. In an interview over CRTV, he said some combatants were scared to move into the disarmament centres of Bamenda and Buea, and preferred to come to him. He cited the Arch Bishop of Bamenda, Andrew Nkea as one of the persons working with him to pull out the amba boys from the bushes.