The Social Democratic Front (SDF), which was a near religion in most parts of the Northwest Region, is fast becoming a mere shadow of its own self. The indicators are there. Political blunders committed in the past are now playing against the party as the population no longer adheres to the doctrine of the party. Strange for a Bamenda man to have defied instructions of the SDF party!
The doom of the party dates back to 1992 when the party refused to partake in the legislative elections at a time the regime had not mastered the rigging machinery. It was then that Bello Bouba, the old fox, zoomed in and grabbed 68 seats, UPC grabbed 15 and Dakole Daisala's MDR grabbed five. In a cataclysmic U-turn they went in for the Presidentials the same year, without explaining whether their reasons for boycotting the March elections had been satisfied.
That not withstanding, the wanton use of article 8.2 aggravated their woes, denigrated the party and precipitated the departure of antagonized and agonized intellectual pillars of the party, leaving the party with only bootlickers.
The intransigence of the National Chair and his inability to live according changing times has made matters worse. Many believe he has out lived his usefulness and it is time for him to quit the scene. ‘The old order must change, yielding place to the new’ else the party will continue to fall from the sublime to the ridiculous.
For years now turn out at SDF political rallies has tremendously reduced. The population is most often swelled by hired dance groups. Gone are the days when a day for the SDF Rally was a public holiday in Bamenda.
Many significant actions by individuals and many significant events in the life of the party have often been watered down - a staunch militant resigns, it is a non-event; the private secretary resigns, to Fru Ndi, it is a non-event; Biya's visit to Bamenda, it is a non event and should be called off. What a situational irony! Fru Ndi must be ill-advised! If he is tired, he should retire. Of course the population has understood the political gimmicks of most Cameroonian politicians and will hardly fall victim to their mischievous machinations.
This lends credence to the daily emaciation and emasculation of the SDF party. During the heydays of the party lives and limbs were sacrificed. Some of those who lost their limbs are beggars in the streets today. Supreme sacrifice indeed, while the big wigs of the party would hardly allow them even to forage in their dustbins.
Kudos could be given to the chief executive officer of the Region, Governor Abakar Ahamat who in his first official address of the region exhorted the population to live in accordance with the changing times, using the Chameleon for illustration. The mentality of the people with regards to politics has changed. They might have learned from past errors but the SDF seems to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
As if enough is not enough, the party introduced another unpopular structure called "The Investiture Committee" which only paved the way for key players to settle scores with their enemies (mayors). The appointment of Mayors smacked of barbarism and dictatorship. Mayors were hand picked. The stubborn ones who refused to quit were expelled from the party under the (in)famous article 8.2. The slap in the face was that the local administrators, acting within the ambit of the law, backed the affected councils.
Nkambe, Ndu, Njinikom and Babessi were the affected councils in the Northwest. All attempts by the party to flush the dissident mayors flopped. They should have understood that they are strong but the administration is stronger. We expected SDF to learn and right its wrongs. To make a bad situation worse they instructed the councillors to boycott all the council sessions. To oust the mayors they should instructed their councillors to attend the council sessions and in one of them pass a vote of no confidence on the mayors.
The administrators knew how bad these mayors were, and would easily use this weapon to unseat them. They could not work against the democratic wishes of the people. But without the level-headed intellectuals, who had all been chased away by Article 8.2, they flopped again.
In the most recent case, the Party, on Friday January 16, 2009, at Mankon Municipal Stadium made another attempt to cause the population rise against the Government Delegate's plan to remove all containers along major streets of the town. This of course put the popularity of the party to the test. The call suffered a serious blow as no body adhered.
Before the commencement of the removal of containers on Sunday January 18, 2009 many economic operators had emptied their containers removed the zinc and transported their goods to their homes. Will the party now know its position in the political landscape of Bamenda? Most of the economic operators who were forced to close shop and attend the Friday rally turned a deaf ear to the solicitations of the party through their Provincial Chairman, Mr Kum Henry. Will they (SDF) ever learn?
Who would have believed that a Bamenda man could defy the orders of the SDF to yield to the Government Delegate looked upon as a political hoodoo and usurper of SDF's political glory. Even when the council's heavy equipment moved through the town to clear off empty containers, there was no agitation from the general public. This was a clear indication of political maturity and the impending doom of the SDF.
Although removal of containers still remain a bitter pill for the afflicted as this might mark the end of their business career, some of these containers gave the town an ugly appearance. Some served as hideout for men of the underworld. SDF's call for agitation was out of place and irrational. Can they rise above the administration? The administration remains supreme and people should not be misled to face the wrath of the uniform men while the main actors who reap the political harvest stay behind. People are no longer fools.
Concerning the campaign against Biya's visit to Bamenda it is embarrassing to hear those who have been lambasting Biya for not visiting the North West start campaigning against his imminent visit to the region. Common sense would have expected the National Chairman of the party SDF, John Fru Ndi, to mobilize the population and party militants in particular to turn out in their numbers and receive Biya. They could use this opportunity to express their grievances with placards carrying inscriptions expressing their political worries. This could equally be the opportunity for the SDF National Chair to meet Biya as a sign of political maturity.
If the SDF feels that Biya is not the supreme authority in this country let all the MPs resign from the parliament and all mayors resign from the councils. This would have been the opportunity for the mayors of the town to commune with the Head of state. How will it look like if the SDF mayors boycott Biya's Visit yet operate in councils operating under Biya's government? These are some of the wrong decisions of the party that has caused the recession of the party. How will look like if SDF MP's boycott the visit?
These are some of the ill-advised decisions of the party which, when ignored by intelligent militants like Mayor Njong of Kumbo Council and and the Mayor of Bafoussam Council only help to soil the party. It will be recalled that SDF boycotted May 20 celebrations and exhorted all militants to stay aloof. Bafoussam ignored the order and participated. Of late Mayor Njong was advised to Boycott PM Yangs"s Visit toKumbo but he waved it all because it was irrational for him to stay at home. Will SDF never learn?
2007 twin election still remains a premonition of the doom of the party if the wrongs of the party are not righted before pending election. Fru Ndi will end up watching Biya but on screen in his bed room like a Mickey Mouse when Biya comes visiting.
At their Friday January 16 rally one of their MPs blew hot air warning Biya to call off the trip to Bamenda because it wasn't necessary. Questioned if he was aware of the social- economic importance of the visit, he responded in the affirmative but ended with "but" as he ran short of words and ideas. SDF should not again be on the wrong side of History.
From our opinions desk