Cameroon: SDF’s Section 8.2 Sledgehammer Severs Party Core

By Boris Esono Nwenfor & Sonita Ngunyi Nwohtazie

SDF Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi says he plans to step down as the chairman of his party this year

BUEA, February 28 – The Social Democratic Front, SDF, Party, once hailed as the most dominant opposition party in Cameroon is in ‘turmoil” as the party’s Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi invoked section 8.2, dismissing some 34 members including the vibrant Nintcheu for what he described as “their assault on the part and its hierarchy, their anti-party activities with a clear indication to discredit party effectiveness, injure the reputation and the interests of the party.”

“Takes cognizance of four court cases brought against the National Chairman, the Secretary-General and the Party by a few members of the party. By seeking external legal redress to grievances that are internal, by-passing all the organs and statutory dispositions of the Party, such members are by this act, forfeiting their right to membership,” Ni John Fru Ndi said in the communiqué, following the National Executive Committee meeting of the party in Yaounde on the 25th of February 2023.

“Gives powers to the National Chairman to designate substitutes to fill up vacancies in the National Executive Committee by Section 18.5 of our constitution. Calls on all Party organs to participate, wherever possible, during the upcoming 20th May 2023 celebrations.”

Ever since the failed presidential bid from Joshua Osih, who had the blessing of Ni John Fru Ndi, the SDF Party has completely fallen down the pecking order as the main opposition party in the country, with the MRC taking the lead. The SDF ranked fourth in the 2018 presidential election and the ruling CPDM Party topped the chart in a landslide victory, with the MRC and CPNR gaining ground.

In 2020, during the legislative and municipal elections, the SDF Party was almost butted out of its stronghold in the English-speaking regions. In regions that used to be a bastion of the party, political pundits hold that the crisis has stroke a serious blow to the party’s capacity to mobilize.

The North West and South West Regions that were a bastion for the SDF party have almost completely gone with the SDF Party struggling in the South West. In the upcoming senatorial election, the party is not even on the list.

The SDF Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi hinted last year that he will be quitting the stage, ending the decade at the helm of the opposition political party. The Elective Convention of the party has been slated for July 25-27, 2023. Bedevilled with fighting, the former lead opposition political party in Cameroon for the last three decades has become a shadow of itself in the last few years.

On the Anglophone crisis that has been rocking the North West and South West Regions for the past six years, the SDF party strongly condemned the government’s inability to “bring a lasting solution to the ongoing crisis in the North West and South West regions and reiterates our urge for the government to take a bold political decision to bring the crisis to an end.”

“Condemns the continuous attacks by separatists on the SDF and its candidates which demonstrates an existing collusion between these separatists and some circles of the government,” while Instructing the Shadow Cabinet department of Foreign Affairs to seek further clarifications on the announced Canadian mediated peace talks,” the communique signed by Ni John Fru Ndi added.

In an amorphous conflict, estimates of exactly how many fighters are involved are equally slippery. A recent report from the International Crisis Group estimates that are somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 fighters attempting to take Ambazonia from concept to reality. However, separatist leaders themselves claim there are far more people who have taken up the fight—and an even greater number willing to do so.

Civilians are bearing the brunt of the ongoing crisis in Cameroon, with more than 6,000 people losing their lives since 2017. In addition, nearly 800,000 people have been displaced as a result of this crisis, and 600,000 children do not have full access to education.

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