On his part, Archbishop Andrew Nkea of Cameroon’s Bamenda Archdiocese remembers the late Cardinal as an apostle of peace.
In an interview with Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV), Archbishop Nkea said in reference to the late Cardinal, “I 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.”
“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 who lived his whole life at the service of God and his people,” the Cameroonian Archbishop further said during the April 6 interview.
For Archbishop Jean Mbarga of Yaoundé Archdiocese, the Central African nation has lost an important figure who worked tirelessly for the Church and the nation.
“It is a great loss for our church and country but we believe God has called him at the appointed time. He was the pride of our local church, the universal church as well as for our country Cameroon,” Archbishop Mbarga said during the April 6 interview with CRTV.
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Cardinal Tumi, the Cameroonian Archbishop went on to say, “put all his energy, wisdom, life and determination at the service of the Church and the nation. He leaves behind a multidimensional legacy, which will forever be remembered.”
Meanwhile, Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya has, in his condolence message, eulogized Cardinal Tumi as “a true servant of God and a messenger of peace.”
“The message of peace, love and progress that he carried throughout his pastoral ministry will forever remain in our memories,” President Biya says in his solidarity message issued April 5.
In the message addressed to Archbishop Kleda, Cameroon’s President adds, “I would like, in this painful circumstance, to transmit to you, as well as to the community of the faithful and beyond to all those who loved Cardinal Christian Tumi, the deepest condolences of the whole Nation, to which I associate my personal feelings of deep compassion.”
According to human rights activist Agbor Balla, “Christian Cardinal Tumi was a staunch advocate of a just society, a defender of the rights of the oppressed, suppressed and marginalized. His death is a great loss to our nation and humanity. May he find eternal rest in the Lord.”
On April 4, Cameroon's opposition leader Ni John Fru Ndi eulogized Cardinal Tumi as a fearless pastor who preached justice and truth.
“Cameroonians have missed an opportunity to benefit from the savvy of this Prelate who selflessly proposed a panacea to end the ongoing socio-political crisis. The only thing we can do as humans at this sad moment is to pray for his gentle soul to find peace at the bosom of the Most High,” the Chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) said in his condolence message shared with ACI Africa.
Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon described the late Cardinal as a “tireless advocate for dialogue for an end to the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, human rights, and the fight against corruption.”
“Cardinal Tumi contributed to Cameroon’s democratic development. His legacy as a defender of peace will resonate for generations,” the U.S. Embassy officials add in their statement.
Ordained a Priest in 1966, late Cardinal Tumi, the first to be named Cardinal in the Central African nation, was appointed Bishop of Cameroon’s Yagoua Diocese in December 1979 and ordained Bishop in January 1980.
Two years later, he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Garoua. He succeeded Archbishop Yves-Joseph-Marie Plumey in 1984.
He was elevated to Cardinal in June 1988 and transferred to the Archdiocese of Douala in 1991.
Cardinal Tumi was vocal, cautioning against bad governance, rampant corruption and electoral malpractices. He was a renowned supporter of peace initiatives in the Central African nation.
At the peak of the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, the late Cardinal launched a nationwide crusade advocating for peace in the troubled Northwest and Southwest regions.
“The popular initiative for peace that we want to put in place will not be a rosary, incantations, a profession of faith or an avenue for strong declarations,” Cardinal Tumi said in August 2019, and added, “The crisis can no longer be healed by simple words or condemnation, but with concrete actions on the field.”
Last November, Cardinal Tumi was abducted in the troubled Northwest region of Cameroon. He was freed on November 6 after a night with his captors.