In an online interview yesterday June 28th 2020, the country’s chief opposition leader or should I say former among other things said his party won’t boycot any future elections even if he has just a single vote
Fru Ndi’s declaration comes amidst talks of constitutional changes which might usher in early elections in the country in the months ahead
A party with lost glory?
SDF has been Cameroon’s opposition party for the past generation. Ever since the introduction of multi party politics in the 90s, the party and its national chairman have been an alternative form of leadership for many Cameroonians to look up to and indeed they have delivered
Credited to have pressured the Biya government to carry out many reforms aimed at democratizing the state of Cameroon, SDF has certainly played its role in the young history of Cameroon’s democracy.
The party has consistently ranked second in almost all elections conducted in the country since inception and enjoyed deep support in Anglophone regions, West and considerable following in Littoral and pocket of supporters in other regions of the country
While the party continued to contest 1992 presidential elections which they claimed to have won, the party has seemingly been comfortable with its second position in the country until now
But the SDF of today is different from the SDF of the 90s
The Party has been losing steam across the country over the years as the ruling CPDM unapologetically marches across the national territory, using state and party resources at same breadth to broaden their reach and keep the national electoral map under their control
State laws by CPDM controlled parliament haven’t helped SDF’s cause to climb Cameroon’s political ladder and the Anglophone crisis has proven the SDF cannot survive without Anglophones despite it claim of being a national party, second only to CPDM.
SDF in Anglophone crisis
Ever since the start of the crisis in 2016, the social democratic front has been on the frontline, questioning and condemning government actions and siding with the Anglophones and activists most often than anyone else.
But the SDF seems to have failed to read the times, like government, they assumed the crisis was a political uprising which could easily be controlled by slogans and political promises of change through massive voting.
As the crisis worsen, so too was the gap between the SDF and it’s supporters, most of whom are Anglophones.
While former MP for Jakiri Hon. Jospeh Wirba broke ranks with the party to take an aggressive and rebellious stance against the state in support of the people, SDF opted to act politically nice and polite, angering the people more and pouring gasoline to an already disturbing and raging problems of the party which many supporters were nurturing
As Hon Wirba went far left, so too were SDF supporters. Many of them who were already looking beyond Yaounde clamored for the party to follow its radical MP who was making a name for himself in parliament and Fru Ndi and Co said No.
Wirba seized the occasion, defiled house rules, delivered forbidden address to Cameroon’s rubber stamp parliament about Anglophone problems and received a rock star reception out of Yaounde.
He momentarily became the face of Anglophone resistance and build a huge fan base as many looked up to him as heroe.
Wirba will soon criticize his party and left the country for self imposed exile in UK after he claimed without evidence that government was after him.
But as the crisis worsened , Anglophones, SDF’s political Base drifted even further away from the party, many started calling for it MPs to leave parliament in protest and join them to pressure Biya regime to dialogue
Despite the pressure for its MPs to resign, SDF bigwigs had other ideas, they refused to boycot parliament and double down their criticism of government on handling of Anglophone crisis, Fru Ndi said his MPs needed to be there so they could keep advocating for change but the people weren’t buying it
What followed was a series of humiliating defeat for the party in local and Presidential elections
Supporters abandoned SDF at the polls, Ambazonain activists invoked lockdowns during elections and government activated its “rigging machinery”
What followed after the elections were a series of Legal battles whose results were known before hand even by the litigants.
At the end of the day, SDF MPs were kicked out of parliament, mayors Send back home and its senators retired
Osih who speeheaded the SDF tickets in 2018 Presidential election came a distant 4th after Biya and rising star Kamto and Libii-forget the position, Ni John Fru Ndi’s party has less than 4% of total vote cast.
What followed was total disregard from separatists to the interest of the party. It fighters kidnapped its national chairman in Bamenda where he once reigned like a god and flashed his powerful picture all over social media.
Rampant Ambazonian kidnappings would later forced him (Fru Ndi) to leave is bastion and stronghold -Bamenda and take refuge in United States
SDF has moved from Cameroon’s Chief opposition party to a laughing name among political elites and the party now fails to resonate with the kind of energy and reverberations it once did before the crisis or worst still in the early 90s
SDF was already suffering from lost fortunes, but the Anglophone crisis killed and buried what was left of it
And that is what Fru Ndi might not have come to terms with