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SDF
SDF
Struggling to catch up

10 août 2011

Three weeks to the close of voter registeration, Ni John Fru Ndi has called on his militants to enroll. The CPDM has done almost all of the ground work, but when it would win the SDF will cry foul.

The party of John Fru Ndi called on Cameroonians to register on the electoral roll in last week end’s decision in Bamenda during its National Executive Council(NEC) meeting held on the 6th and 7th of August, at the residence of the national president of the party, abandoning the more than one year decision which said its militants should not register. Council members in a special resolution voted on “Cameroonians of voting age, to go to registration centers and register massively on the electoral roll.”

In another statement the party promised to “make sure they (militants) are actually enrolled, and that receipts are given to them.”  The party claims the aim of this decision “is to contribute to peace and democracy in our country,” as Chantal Kambiwa, member of shadow cabinet in the SDF affirmed. This decision puts an end to the SDF old song of “there will be no presidential elections in Cameroon with Elecam in its current configuration.”


This new position of the leading opposition party “confirms” the opinion of Elections Cameroon,(ELECAM) that it can guarantee free and fair elections in the country. The elections organization body of the country had been criticized by the leading opposition party as “not independent.” The SDF, had vowed that there will be no presidential election in Cameroon unless the electoral governing body is overhauled to purge it of it’s overwhelmingly CPDM membership.


Reports say there was divided opinion among the council members. Our correspondent in Bamenda, Golbert Gwain said the heated debate drowned the jingle from the chairman’s bell which regularly called for order. According to sources within the NEC, some members of this body, found no reason for a change but the majority, did uphold the desire of militants to register.


 The Party had been pressured by its militants to adopt this new position. “We heard what they said and we took this into account,” said Chantal Kambiwa. The old position had not achieved desired effect as the electoral list figures continued to grow. The party’s popularity has considerably reduced hence the call fell on few ears. Out of the 9 million eligible voters in Cameroon following the latest census, over 7 million potential have been registered.  If the target is achieved it will give international credibility to the presidential elections.


The old position of the SDF was heavily criticized in the country especially by human rights activists in the civil society segment of the country. “The SDF is a violator of the human right to vote,” Emmanuel Chongsi of the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy Centre (CHRAPA) based in Bamenda.


The SDF is reputed for taking decisions that political analysts say have “greatly weakened the party.” In 1992 the party boycotted the parliamentary election and 1997 presidential elections. Many council members had used this event to push for a change in position.


It also emerged from the meeting that the party’s presidential candidate will be voted in the next NEC meeting, the party did not reveal the date and location of the meeting. Campaign for the candidate to represent the party will now take centre stage within the party. The current who had earlier expressed hopes to be candidate, Fru Ndi, is aware. “Those SDF militants, who took the risk of wanting to destroy the unity and the ideology of the party for their personal ambitions, can now sharpen their weapons,” he said in a statement referring to presidential hopefuls within the party.

JUDE VIBAN,

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