By Abia Noumbissi
The death of Ni John Fru Ndi, whom many are describing as the ‘Father of Cameroon democracy’ sent shockwaves not only across the nation but internationally.
Cameroon was trending on Twitter, for many hours, and rightly so. One of the greatest politicians in Cameroon’s modern history had just transitioned at a time the country was in desperate need of change. In addition to the millions of tributes paid to him across all media outlets across the country, people shared their grief at the death of the founder and National chairman of the Social Democratic Front Party (SDF) worldwide.
Following the announcement of his death in the early hours of Tuesday, tributes and eulogies continue to pour in from colleagues and politicians from within the Cameroon diaspora as well as the international community.
Multiple international representatives in Cameroon also paid tribute to Fru Ndi throughout the day. The British High Commission in Yaoundé celebrated his contribution to multiparty democratic engagement in Cameroon:
“We have learned with sadness, the death of Ni John Fru Ndi, National Chairman of the Social Democratic Front. He will be remembered for his historic contributions to multiparty politics in Cameroon. Our heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, members, and sympathisers of SDF,” the British Diplomatic Mission wrote on Twitter.
The Embassy of Canada in Cameroon echoed the same sentiments, praising the fallen politician for his contribution to the evolution of Cameroon’s democracy:
“It is with sadness that we learned of the passing of Mr. John Fru Ndi, the chairman of the Social Democratic Front. His contribution to multiparty democratic engagement in Cameroon over the past 3 decades is well noted,” a Twitter statement from the Canadian Embassy read.
The US embassy in Cameroon also released a statement in which they highlighted not only his historic contributions to the promotion of democracy but lamented the vacuum his passing has created:
“The U.S. Embassy expresses its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ni John Fru Ndi on the occasion of his passing. As the founder and chairman of the Social Democratic Front, he made significant contributions to promote multi-party democracy in Cameroon, and his death is a loss not only to his fellow SDF partisans but also to the country’s sociopolitical fabric as a whole,” read the tribute.
Other notable individuals also took to the microblogging site to express their sympathies and celebrate the legacy of one of Cameroon’s greatest statesmen.
“Another baobab in Cameroon Political landscape falls. He will be remembered for being at the forefront of championing multiparty politics in Cameroon during the 1990s. This legacy waned after his bid to become Cameroon president failed. He remained a key figure. RIPP Pa Fru Ndi” Dr Paul Chiy, a Cameroonian lawyer based in the UK wrote.
When speaking on the impact of Chairman Fru Ndi a member of the Cameroonian community in Paris, CL also had this to say, “Out of a duty of humility and memory, I pay tribute to Chairman John FRU NDI. Sincere gratitude for the unspeakable courage he has demonstrated. Only God knows how extraordinarily difficult the context of his fight was. Thank you for the prepared ground.”
Multiple news networks also published opinions reflecting on the life and legacy of Ni John Fru Ndi, including US news platform Bloomberg, and African journals such as Jeune Afrique, and The Africa Report. Some went as far as highlighting that Cameroon is so much better today because of Ni John Fru Ndi and projected what his funeral is likely to be:
“Cameroon would be a much darker place if Fru Ndi hadn’t taken on the regime in the 90s. Some of the freedoms Cameroonians enjoy were guaranteed by him. There is no venue in Cameroon big enough to host Ni John’s funeral. Everyone will want to go. If Bamenda wasn’t being invaded, everyone, children included, would have run to Ntarinkon,” opined Poise Social.