Debate loiters over Southern Cameroons palaver
Loss of presidential elections, francophone militants feared (one pix) Fru Ndi
President Biya’s planned visit to Bamenda early this year to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Armed Forces has not gone down well the throats of SDF party hierarchy. It is feared it could be a political Waterloo for the Social Democratic Front party-SDF. This explains why the party’s hierarchy has, since the announcement, been making frantic efforts to stall the visit. Some of these gimmicks have been characterised by threats of life.
Unfortunately, the National Executive Committee of the party meeting that held on Saturday January 29, 2010 to elaborate strategies to combat the visit ended in a fiasco. Militants were split over the party’s worries over Biya’s visit to Bamenda. A good majority of the militants were for the visit, arguing that Paul Biya is the President of Cameroon and has the prerogative to decide where to visit at any time.
Some Anglophones argued that the French Cameroun and English Cameroons did not have independence on the same date, January 1, 1960. Re-echoing the protest words of the Southern Cameroons National Council – SCNC, some argued it was politically unfair for Biya to commemorate the independence of Cameroon in the Northwest Region (English-speaking part of Cameroon) as if they had independence on the same day and year.
Logically, they argued, the French-speaking part of Cameroon had their independence on January 1, 1960 while the English-speaking (British Cameroons) got theirs in 1961, albeit through ‘Unification’ with La République in a plebiscite organised under the auspices of the United Nations.
The Francophone militants argued that although history can never be manipulated, President Biya had earlier on made the distinction in his Address of the Nation on December 31, 2009. Commemoration of the day could well be earlier or later based on means available at the time. Apart from this, militants should rather focus on the social and economic importance of the visit to the region rather than on the political ramifications. Politics void of development was baseless, they argued. Besides SDF’s worries would not stop Biya from visiting the region.
“All is hot air owing to the fact that majority of the Northwest population are for the visit,” a Francophone militant, names withheld, told The Vanguard after the meeting. It was therefore going to be a hideous political blunder for SDF to call for a boycott that would not be respected by the population, the Francophone militant continued.
Other sources hinted The Vanguard that it might be because of Fru Ndi’s alleged being a member of the Southern Cameroons’ Advisory Council (SCAC) an organ of the SCNC. Although it was resolved that militants could attend the visit without SDF uniform the place of the mayors was yet to be decided as no statement as to whether they should constitute members of the constituted corps or not. This, to the militants, was papers over cracks and yet another political turn around that would only help to jeopardise the future of the party owing to the fact mayors by virtue of their administrative status were not for SDF militants but the entire population of their municipalities.
This same Francophone militant dared that the SDF was politically naive. He buttressed his point with the fact that apart from Mayors being arms of the administration of Biya’s government, once elected mayor the political portfolio of the militant changed as he, by virtue of that social standing, was an indispensable arm of the government and his rights could not be tempered with by the party to which he belonged. He added that it was equally undemocratic for the party to refuse, not only Mayors, but militants from welcoming the President of the Republic.
Although Fru sees Biya as a usurper of his political glory, he Fru Ndi knows very well that the world knows that Paul Biya is the president of The Republic of Cameroon even if his victory was stolen.
Questioned why SDF was scared of Biya’s visit, the militants hinted that SDF might lose its integrity if Biya responded to the cries of the people of the region, especially by declaring a State University, construction of the Ring Road and other social services that could improve on the lives of the people of the region.
This, they said, would cause the population to see no need supporting the opposition SDF in up-coming presidential elections. He regretted that dictatorship and thoughtless political decisions of the party with regards to Biya’s visit could mark the end of the party or active Francophone militancy as the party hierarchy do not want to live according to changing times.
By Nyassa Julius
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