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Proliferation of native courts in Wum District, Southern Cameroons, 1921 – 1939
The paper discusses the proliferation of native courts in Wum District from 1921 to 1939. Using mostly archival materials from the Buea National Archives and the thematic and chronological approaches in analysing data, it argues that ethnic differences, communication difficulties and the feeling of superiority by some chiefs over their counterparts brought disunity and inefficiency and the management of the affairs of the courts became derisory. This therefore necessitated the creation of more institutions in order to minimise these problems. In spite of this move, arrogance, pride and attempts at dominating some court members especially those hosting the institutions as well as injustices perpetuated by some judges on litigants, led to requests for the creation of new courts by clans as the only means through which these vices would be avoided. It was because of these factors and requests from the people of Wum District that the Weh native court that served the entire District was dissolved and those of Wum, Fungom and Bum created in 1928. The creation of these courts never satisfactorily took care of the problems hitherto experienced in the Weh court as the Wum court was subsequently split into two, Mukuru and Aghem. The Fungom court also witnessed structural changes as its headquarters was moved from Fungom village to Zhoa. This Court in Zhoa became a court of Appeal for the Fungom area and four minor courts were further created to serve this administrative unit.