Cardinal Tumi’s Death Means “This War Cannot Have the Last Word”-Mgr. George Nkuo

The death on Good Friday of Cameroon’s lone Cardinal, Christian Tumi has been described as an event full of symbolism. He died the same night Christians believe Christ died, and it happened the same day that Pope John Paul II who created him Cardinal died.

“The loss of the Cardinal is very symbolic to us because he died on the Easter Triduum,” said the Bishop of Kumbo, Georges Nkuo.

“As Christians; Easter reminds us of the victory of Christ, the power of Christ that comes from His resurrection; His victory over death, victory over everything that is dark,” the Bishop told Timescape Magazine.

Bishop George Nkuo, Kumbo Diocese in Southern Cameroons (C) Crux Now

He said Cardinal Tumi in his long life had been a “beacon of hope” who “has shown us that it is possible for change to take place without bloodshed; that it is possible for people to live in a just and upright society without bloodshed and he has fought for that to his death and I think it is significant because his dying at Easter tells us that it is possible for change to take place in our land without bloodshed.”

He said the coincidence also means that he would rise with Christ on Easter, and “his death at Easter tells us that this war that is going on cannot have the last word; this killing, this violence, this fighting that is going on cannot have the last word.”

The Bishop said it was “a beautiful, significant coincident” that the Cardinal died the same day as Christ.

He said his death speaks to the need for people to open up their hearts, to drop their weapons and to embrace peace, reconciliation, love, and truth.

“I see God speaking to us through the Cardinal’s death, because God speaks to us through the things happening around us. I want to see this as an event that touches on our lives, because it’s God telling us that these combined events (the Cardinal and Christ’s deaths) have something to tell us, and anybody who loves this land, anybody who has a sense of good, and justice and truth should be apostles of the Triduum.” he told Timescape Magazine.

Tumi has been described as a fearless pastor who preached the truth and has lived a fulfilled life.

“We only thank God for all that he has done and that it only happened during this Holy Season of the Triduum.” Said Mgr. Andrew Nkea Fuanyi, Archbishop of Bamenda.

Archbishop Andrew Nkea, Bamenda Archdiocese in Southern Cameroons (C) The Catholic Register

Speaking on the state broadcaster, the CRTV, Nkea said he keeps the image of “a strong man of faith, a real servant of God, a fearless preacher of the truth, and someone who loved the Church with his whole heart, and he lived his whole life at the service of God and his people…I also remember him very strongly as an ambassador of peace; someone who worked tirelessly in spite of his failing health, to make sure that peace is restored in the North West and the South West regions.”

“We will miss him, but We thank God for his life, for God to have permitted him to live for almost 91 years, it’s something to thank God for, especially with the achievements he has made in the Church as a faithful servant of the mysteries that were entrusted to him, we can only thank God for his life and for all what God used him to accomplish in Cameroon and in the Universal Church, and we pray that God should be merciful in judging him and grant him eternal rest in his Kingdom,” said Mgr. Michael Bibi of Buea in an interview with Timescape Magazine.

Bishop Bibi Michael, Buea Diocese in Southern Cameroons

Born in 1930, Cardinal Tumi studied in Cameroon, Nigeria, France, and Switzerland. He was ordained priest in April 1966, appointed Bishop in 1979 and Created and proclaimed Cardinal by then Pope John Paul II in June 1988.

The Cleric was a strong critic of the Cameroon government, often calling out the Biya government over allegations of corruption, electoral malpractices, and the entrenchment of a gerontocracy in Cameroon.

“If I were Biya, I would resign,” Tumi said on several occasions, much to the displeasure of supporters of President Paul Biya, now 89 years and in power for nearly forty years today.

But recently, the Cardinal earned kudos from the government by his commitment to the national effort to find lasting solutions to the raging pro-independence uprising in Southern Cameroons.