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2011 presidential : UPC still undecided three months to poll

It is unclearwhether the Union of Cameroon’s peoples (UPC) would go in for October’spresidential showdown given the rigmarole in the outfit barely three months tothe election.

Notorious for its several factions, the party of “the crab,” has left its handful supporters in the cold as the latter do not know what step to take next as far as the upcoming electoral faceoff is concerned. Since 2003, the political outfit is in two factions. While one which some observers have termed the dissident faction is led by Samuel Mack-it, the other is headed by Augustine Frederick Kodock. Last April 30 the latter faction held its political bureau meeting at Mom, a small locality in the Nyong and Kellé division of the Centre region.

During the conclave the political bureau “reaffirmed its commitment to ensure that the party partakes in all elections in the country because no concrete thing can be built in Cameroon without the UPC.” The communiqué into which the assembly culminated into stated that “according to the texts of the party, the secretary general (current secretary general is Augustin Frederick Kodock) is our candidate for every presidential election.” Paradoxically, Kodock is
battling between life and death. Recently evacuated to South Africa on the impulse of the Head of state, Paul Biya, Kodock is suffering from diabetes, asthma, hypertension and paralysis on the right shoulder, said sources close to the family. He has already clocked 81. In the words of UPC’s organisation scribe, maitre Thomas Biyik “Kodock has been unwell for long.”
We also learnt that due to Kodock’s ailing situation, a bureau meeting that had been planned for June was aborted. Quizzed on whether the strategy commission of the party has received clearance from the scribe to designate another candidate in case the latter’s health situation worsens, Biyik said “there is no fire since we still have three months before the election. We would unveil our candidate at anytime we judge convenient for us.”
Meanwhile, Henri Hogbe Nlend on April 26, 2011 addressed a letter to all UPC supporters and sympathisers calling on them to plebiscite him as their candidate for October’s presidential showdown. Among the trio (Kodock, Mack-it and Hogbe Nlend) he is the youngest. While he is 66, Kodock has already hit 81 and Mack-it, 70. If Hogbe Nlend wins the confidence of his comrades to vy for presidency at the upcoming presidential, it would be the third time he is doing so. He ran for the 1992 and 1997 polls. In the latter he was second behind the re-elected president, Paul Biya.
Then he was appointed minister scientific research and technology in the post presidential government. In order to safe his “bread,” Kodock who replaced Hogbe Nlend few years later but this time at the helm ofthe agriculture ministry, formed an alliance with the Cameroon people’sdemocratic movement (CPDM) ahead of the 2004 presidential election.
For his part, Samuel Mack-it during a press conference he held in Douala last February re-echoed the Social democratic front’s rhetoric that “we would not go for any election with ELECAM in its current configuration.” It is worth recalling that though in factions, the Territorial administration ministry which is charged with receiving candidacies would accept only one from the UPC as per the law. As it stands now, Kodock’s ill health is playing in favour of Hogbe Nlend.
With a little popularity within the party and owing to the experience he has at presidential elections, he may be made candidate. The tact and political savvy which he tapped from Mr Biya his years in government greatly distinguish him from Mack-it who is more of an activist than a politician. Like some politicist who preferred not to be named said, “Mack-it still thinks we are in the maquisard years.”

Benedict Ndinwa

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