Archbishop Samuel Kleda said that Cardinal Tumi who had been ill for some time, passed away peacefully during the night in his sleep at the IDIMED polyclinic in Douala. Samuel Kleda succeeded Cardinal Tumi when he resigned.
Born 15 October 1930 in Kikaikelaki village in Kumbo Bui Division in the North West region, Cardinal Tumi had a long and distinguished academic career and those who knew him recognised his desire for holiness and his gentleness and humility of character.
Tumi was a strong advocate for social justice and always highlighted the difficulties facing communities in both French and English speaking Cameroon. Throughout his ministry and his life Cardinal Tumi dedicated great passion and commitment to the people of his diocese.
Tumi led the Douala Archdiocese at a very difficult time and recognised the need to allow younger generations to take-up leadership roles in the Church. He was much locked into the church’s side and on Canon Law, defending the church.
After being ordained a priest on 17 April 1966 for the diocese of Buea, Christian Wiyghan Tumi went to pursue his education in Nigeria and then in Great Britain followed by a spell at the Catholic Institute of Theology Lyon (France) and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) where he obtained a doctorate.
Upon his return to Cameroon, he was appointed rector of the regional major seminary in Bambui in the archdiocese of Bamenda. He had a meteoric rise in the Roman Catholic system- Bishop of Yagoua, coadjutor archbishop of Garoua, a diocese which he became archbishop on 17 March 1984. Finally, he became Archbishop of Douala on 31 August 1991, until his retirement. Christian Wiyghan Tumi was the only cardinal in Cameroon.
By Rita Akana