The distribution of the English versions of the OHADA Uniform Acts, the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code enacted by President Biya on July 12, 2016 to the representatives of media organizations at the Ministry of Justice’s conference hall was a surprise.
In the presence of Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Minister of Communication and Charles Ndongo and Marie Claire Nnana; General Managers of CRTV and SOPECAM, respectively; Laurent Esso who is the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals provided the documents to the journalists.
During the Minister of State’s speech at the said event, he emphasized that it was not probable for the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) to make documents in English since French was its original language. But, according to the Minister, all efforts are being administered by the government in order for the OHADA Treaties and Uniform Acts become available in English in Cameroon.
These laws were printed in special editions of the Official Gazette of Cameroon of September and November of 1999 in English. Minister Esso sacked claims that because of the present situation the English versions of the OHADA Treaties and Uniform Acts are made available.
The publication of the said documents in English in the OHADA Official Gazette on November 24, 2016 was the result of a tedious process instigated by the Cameroonian government several years ago and not as a response action to the current turn of events clarified by Minister Esso.
The Minister of State also emphasized that Cameroon’s bilingual character as stated in the Constitution of the Republic makes French and English of equal value. Therefore, it is neither illegal nor unlawful to use either of the two languages in public services in the entire country. Likewise, it would be illegal and unlawful to declare the dominance of one over the other or the elimination of one in support of the other. He also regrets that the English translations of OHADA instruments executed by the Ministry of Justice published in special editions of the Official Gazette of Cameroon in 1997 and 1999 were not widely distributed.