Meme courts still grounded despite lawyers’ strike suspension

NEWS 30 Oct 2017
Meme courts still grounded despite lawyers’ strike suspension

BY TALLA AGHAA CHRISTOPHER

Courts in Meme Division still remain ‘paralysed’ despite a communiqué by the Vice President of Meme Lawyers Association, MELA, Barrister Mpacko Jacob Njume on October 11, 2017 declaring that Lawyers have unanimously agreed to suspend their one year long strike action and shall be returning to the courts for the next six months to allow government handle the rest of Common Law lawyers’ grievances.

During a visit to the courts last week, The SUN observed that despite the cause list pasted at the various notice boards for lawyers to enter appearance, no lawyer did so, though a few could be spotted around the court.

Most of the lawyers refused to comment on why they are still to put on their wigs and gowns and enter appearance despite the strike suspension.

However, a lawyer who refused to be named told The Sun that only a well constituted general assembly of MELA as agreed in a September 25, 2017 meeting can call for a strike suspension.

It should be recalled that the Vice President of the MELA, Barrister Mpacko Jacob Njume on October 11, 2017, shortly after a call over at the Meme High Court presided at by the President, Justice Ngute Paul alongside a college of judges, announced the suspension of the Common Law Lawyers strike in Meme Division.

According to Barrister Mpacko, the decision to suspend the strike was taken in consideration to what government has done so far to address some of the ills in the judicial system decried by the advocates and in view of the hardship, suffering and hopelessness many litigants and others users of the services of advocates have gone through for the past twelve months.

Dissenting voices

Following the declaration of the Vice President of MELA, suspending the strike, over 80 lawyers in Meme Division immediately converged and came out with a strongly worded disclaimer, distancing themselves from the decision by the Vice President.

According them, the meeting of September 25, 2017 was adjourned to October 11, 2017 to set modalities for the suspension of the strike in a MELA General Assembly. The lawyers said they were taken aback when on October 11, 2017, the Vice President and some senior lawyers converged during a court session that lasted on 17 minutes to call off the strike without the knowledge of the entire Meme Lawyers.

Even though they had opted for the suspension of the strike, the Lawyers declared that the manner in which the suspension was done is a pointer to bad faith by the Vice President and the other colleagues.

The disgruntled lawyers are nursing suspicion that the palms of their senior colleagues may have been greased by government to warrant such a unilateral action and thus vowed not to resume work despite the call over.

According to them, only the presidents of the four constituent assemblies of MELA, FAKLA, NOWELA and MALA, who endorsed the decision of a strike action are competent to call off or suspend the strike.

The dissenting faction equally called for the safe return of all those lawyers who have either left the country or gone underground for fear of arrest.

They also called for the safe return of other SCNC activists who marched alongside the lawyers who are now being hunted by the police.

Amongst them is Mouozie Olivier, a prominent SCNC activist said to be the leader of Kosala East, Kumba who is on the run after police declared him wanted for taking part in the October 1 and September 22 demonstrations that turned deadly.

The lawyers vowed that the can not, in good conscience return to court when their colleagues and those who stood by them are still at large and being hunted like criminals.

 

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