Created this day, 29 years ago, the Social Democratic Front party has remained the principal opposition party in Cameroon since multi-party politics was launched, until Maurice Kamto’s Cameroon Renaissance Movement Party for the first time occupied second position in the 2018 presidential election.
Since the party led by Ni John Fru failed to claim what it called stolen victory after the 1992 presidential election, the opposition in Cameroon has gradually declined in strength, and Paul Biya, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders has continued to consolidate power. Poor electoral manoeuvres and election boycotts have led to dwindling fortunes in elections.
The SDF Party presently has seven seats at the Senate, 18 seats in parliament and came fourth in the 2018 presidential election with 3.35percent.
The SDF Party’s strength was again tested when the socio-political upheavals in the North West and South West regions escalated in 2016.
The party orchestrated protests in parliament calling for parliament to include the anglophone crisis on the agenda of discussions.
“I held Biya’s hands and told him that if he fails to act fast, the problems will slip under our fingers to uncontrollable levels, and here we are today” Ni John Fru Ndi said.
After criticizing government’s poor management of the armed conflict, killing of civilians and destruction of properties, the SDF Chair said “If I was young, I will be in the bush fighting.”
But the SDF has limited itself to a whistle blower, alerting the government on the dangers of not taking concrete measures to resolve the biting crisis. It’s stand on federation has earned the movement a bitter enmity from Separatists who say, John Fru Ndi has failed to protect Anglophone ideals which was instrumental in bringing the party to the limelight. It’s officials including the chairman has suffered reprisals from the Ambazonians for failing to call off its legislators from Yaounde. Fru Ndi had repeated revealed that doing so will be tatamount to having no pressure on Biya.
Internal shocks have adversely weakened the political movement. Those considered recalcitrant have often had the axe of the dreaded Article 8.2 chopping their necks. Kah Walla, late Prof Tazoacha Asonganyi, Ben Muna, Elimbi Lobe and recently Celestin Djamen are household names to have either left or been ousted from the political movement. These personalities have often criticized the leadership of long serving chairman who appears to have adopted a passive dictatorial approach in handling issues.
In the midst of the chaos lies the rising suspicion amongst some Cameroonians who believe that, the SDF is having an unholy political romance with the ruling CPDM. Though it’s yet to be fully confirmed, back door entente between both parties during elections and the presence of officials the governing party in major events have fueled this suspicion. It’s an open secret that, other opposition parties have exploited these weaknesses to weaken the party.
As the party clocks 29 this May 26th 2019, officials are now battling to gain it’s past glory and maintain the leading position in the country’s political landscape.
The respect of democratic principles, rule of law, good electoral laws, an independent electoral commission have been some of the party’s battle for close to three decades.
How can you assess strides made by the party so far?
Mimi Mefo Info