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Why the SDF Boycotted the 1992 Legislative Elections and the Build-up to the 1992 Presidential Election

Posted by SDF Party Cameroon/ Le Partie SDF Cameroun on May 6, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Why the SDF Boycotted the 1992 Legislative Elections and the Build-up to the 1992 Presidential Election

Some of the fundamental and driving forces that led the founders of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) to form another political Party in 1990 were the urge to break the yoke of the monolithic system that had been installed in Cameroon since 1996 and usher in a multiparty democracy. During this period elections were a pure formality as the one ruling party would just present a list and the whole country would be considered to have voted 99.99%. The SDF having broken the grounds and the formation of political parties having been liberalised by the passing of law no 90/053 of 19 December 1990, political parties started flourishing. They soon came together to form what came to be known as the coordination of political parties and the civil societies. Indeed, with the acquired new freedom, civil society organisations regained their liberty. Those that laid in abeyance were reawakened and many more were formed.

The coordination quickly gained momentum, saw a restructuring and put a the head of it an executive called “Directoire” in French head by Samuel Eboua of NUDP and assisted by the SDF National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi. This movement called for a total re-haul of the nation through the holding of a Sovereign National Conference. The government was adamant and this movement radicalised and called for ghost towns and ghost country and by 1991 the government convened what it called “tripartite” and through its manoeuvres succeeded to bring into it many civil society organisations and political parties, especially Samuel Eboua of the NUDP and President of the Directoire because Belo Bouba had gone into the Tripartite and occupied the seat as president of NUDP.

The Tripartite came out with nothing concrete, apart from putting in place a committee for the eventual revision of the constitution. The progressive wing of the CPDM led by Samuel Eboua broke off and joined all the political parties that disagreed with the tripartite talks which, had failed to address the burning political issues, together with the civil society organisations formed what came to be known as the : “Alliance For The Reconstruction of Cameroon through the Sovereign National Conference” abbreviated “ARC-CNS”.

In the midst of all this. Biya calls for the holding of the 1992 legislative elections under the monolithic electoral laws. Now, having accepted the creation of political parties, it was evident that the creation of conditions for free, fair and transparent elections in a multiparty setting was a condition sine qua non for the holding of any election. The political parties demanded the abrogation of the existing archaic electoral laws and the creation of an Independent Elections Commission. Biya turned down this demand and invited Guy Penn from France to come and convince the SDF and other meaningful parties to run for the elections under the existing situation. When the SDF delegation met him he was so provocative as to state that he only wanted us to participate, not that we posed any threat for we could only win some few seats in the North-West and South-West Provinces. He propagated this kind of language throughout his meetings with the leaders of political parties and all the parties of the opposition including the NUDP and the UPC agreed on a boycott. As the days went by and no party was showing up Mr Biya decided to buy consciences by offering 500million Francs cfa to any political party that would accept to participate in the election. And so NUDP now led by Bouba Belo, the UPC now led by Kodock and MDR of Dakole Dahaissala rushed in to take the money. In the circumstances and with CPDM ill-prepared for multiparty elections, these three parties of the opposition obtained a majority in parliament but soon fell prey to money and sold to the CPDM. And so the Biya regime was able to destroy them as they joined government to the extent that during the 1997 legislative elections, the NUDP which had 61 members in parliament dropped to 13members. The UPC which had 16 members dropped to 3 and MDR also dropped to 3. The SDF that came in at this point, five years later gained 43 seats and remains the main opposition today. From this analysis and explanation, and having regard to the actors at the helm of the SDF at the time, who could have gone into parliament in 1992, there is no doubt that they would have fallen prey to money and the urge to become ministers. The fate of the SDF would have gone the way of the others.

But the SDF, having boycotted, together with all the other political parties of the opposition, the civil society organisations and the break-away progressive wing of the CPDM under the banner of ARC-CNS continued to press for change. This movement was so strong that when Mr. Biya made some cosmetic changes to the Presidential election law, we decided to go into the election. ARC-CNS chose the SDF leader, Ni John Fru Ndi as their presidential candidate and transformed itself into what came to be known as the “Union For Change” under which banner we ran the election and won, but our victory was stolen.

Thus, if the SDF had gone to Parliament, it would not have been member of ARC-CNS, and if it were not a member of this organisation, its leader could not have been designated as its presidential candidate. More so, being in parliament at that point in time, we today can guess what would have happened to SDF and its leader, having regard to the experience we have had with the prominent personalities who would have become parliamentarians then.

Joseph Mbah-Ndam

 

 

Categories: Historic Documents

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1 Comment

Reply AlbertNow
8:01 AM on January 24, 2017 
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