June 19, 2011
Cameroon archbishop urges against use of force
YAOUNDE — Cameroon's outspoken archbishop Christian Tumi has urged against the use of force to obtain leadership change in the country, which has had only two presidents since independence in 1960. His statement comes amid opposition demands for President Paul Biya to step down after being in power since 1982. Biya, 78, has not said if he will run in elections due this year.
"In our country I do not think we are already at the stage where one has to use force (to bring about change)," the retired cardinal said at a press conference late Wednesday to launch his latest book.
"When it becomes difficult to remove a dictator through the democratic way, he is removed through the force of arms. But the Church chooses peace," he said.
Tumi, 81, is known for his criticism of the government. He has been asked to stand as a presidential candidate but says he has no political ambition.
His new book "Ma foi: un Cameroun a remettre a neuf" ("My belief: a Cameroon to be made new") lists problems facing the country as an absence of democracy, bad leadership and corruption, which he describes as a "cancer".
"I believe that political change can happen in Cameroon, like elsewhere, without clashes, without civil war," he writes.
"All depends on the willingness of man, especially the man who rules, of the country's highest political authority."
"While I look at the countries around us, I see that weapons don't sort anything out. There are thousands of people killed, innocents," he told AFP separately.
A revolt against long-standing rulers has rocked north Africa this year, while Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to give up the Ivory Coast presidency after losing elections led to a five-month conflict that ended in April with about 3,000 people killed.
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Article source AFP