Seemingly distraught by its powerlessness regarding attainment of primacy in political leadership at all levels in the last 28 years of its existence, contrary to the vision that had been the motivating force of its founding fathers, Cameroon’s leading opposition party the Social Democratic Front, SDF has declared its determination to claim triumphal positions in looming presidential, senatorial, parliamentary and council elections.
This craving for power was expressed by SDF headship during the Northwest Regional Conference of the party on Saturday, January 20 at the Saint Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral Hall in Bamenda.
The purpose of the conference was to preselect candidates that would lead the SDF nationally as well as define standards for those vying for posts in forthcoming multiple elections. Given that the precise month during which elections would hold is yet to be announced by Head of States Paul Biya, SDF is conscious of this but also cautious in meeting the election date with faultless candidatures.
In his aspiration to challenge the ruling CPDM and move SDF to a dominant position, the party Chair Ni John Fru Ndi exhibited fearlessness as he chanted the famous parliamentary song “How many people Paul Biya go kill, Oooh! He go kill we tire oh…” Fru Ndi continued, “Biya would kill us because we are more determined than ever. Just as psalm 23 says ‘even though I walk through the valleys of the shadow of death, no harm would I fear’, we too shall go through the valleys of death but would not give up because we know that the lord is with us. I condemn the killing of gendarmes and that of our children by uniform men too. The military has as duty to protect and not to kill civilians. We have no weapons to fight but we would win with our mouth. Times are hard but the SDF is harder” he said.
Fru Ndi announced that he would go on a solidarity trip to Nigeria in order to sympathize with Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria dispersed by the strike. He divulged applications for permission has already been forwarded to the Cameroonian Minister of Defense as well as the Nigerian High Commissioner for approval of the visit.
Various leaders at the conference including; the Divisional Coordinator, the National Executive Committee team leader, the parliamentarian for Bamenda and Bali and the Mayor for Bamenda II all accorded that aspirants for elective positions must be capable of addressing trending issues both at the national and international levels; be it the Anglophone crisis, climate change, corruption, insecurity and poaching amongst others. Those ambitious for leadership positions were tasked to proof worthy by fetching new militants as well as encouraging people to register for voting.
The quest for power was also expressed by the SDF Northwest Regional Chair, Hon. Evaristus Njong. He made it clear that “Since 1990 the SDF party took the oath of using the ballot box to effect change in this country and that’s why our logo carries the inscription that we need free, fair and clean elections. This is in order that we can take over and change this country. President Biya and his regime has been very hesitant to give us free, fair and transparent elections but, we are determined as a political party to fight for the people and that’s why we are working at the level of the basic organs, we are mobilizing and getting commissions to get the electorate registered on the electoral registrar.”
During the conference, an election was conducted to determine candidates that would compete for reelections into the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party. These elections into NEC have been scheduled for a later date. Party stalwarts hold that an election into the SDF NEC is primordial for success at elections in both parliamentary and legislative elections.
Concerning the controversy surrounding Fru Ndi’s position and candidature, Hon. Njong made it clear that for now “Fru Ndi is the national chairman of the SDF not the national candidate. Those are two different positions and the laws of the party have made it very clear that the office of the national chairman is incompatible with the office of the president so, if the national chairman were to become the president of the republic, he would no longer be the national chairman but if the national chairman were to be nominated as a candidate for presidential elections he has the right to still be national chairman. For now the national chairman is the candidate that will lead the party for the next five legislative years.”
By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum