Cameroon: Dissension in SDF over anti-terrorism bill
December 25, 2014

While the legal adviser of the party Hon. Joseph Mbah-Ndam says the bill does not impede on liberties, party's Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi considers it a mockery of democracy.

The recently adopted bill on terrorism is still causing scare and raising goose pimples on the bodies of most Cameroonians. But in as much as they try to defuse this confusion, their determination to after all, master its contents have met a rock wall from a strange quarter; the leadership of Cameroons' number one opposition party, or so the claim, the Social Democratic Front SDF.

While other more refined legal minds have been reading a hidden agenda behind the crafting of this Bill by acolytes of the Biya Regime, considering it worst than the 1962 and 1972 ordinances that was used to crush Cameroonian nationalist in the Bamileke and Bassa lands, then considered as terrorists, rebels or maquisards, in a rare once, they have received support from a strange personality; the former parliamentary Group leader of the SDF, current vice president of the National Assembly and all-time lead counsel of the SDF party; I am referring here to Hon, Joseph Mbah Ndam, member of parliament from Batibo.

Let me give you some arguments in defence that our learned lawyer advanced to plead for the bill during an interview on News Watch. According to Hon. Mbah Ndam, I quote " ... this law has not deprived Cameroonians of their right to public manifestation, it has not deprived political parties of holding public rallies and manifestation against evils committed by the government.... the law will serve Cameroonians greatly." So confident is the Hon. Mbah Ndam in his arguments that he refers to other Cameroonians who attempt to hold a contrary opinion as "cowards". Whether this was deliberate or not, this is an insult on a people. Bad-mouth language coming from such a personality and as such needs to be withdrawn and apologies tendered.

Anyway, while we wait for that apology if at all, my worry here is the opposite position taken by the hierarchy of the SDF on this same controversial Bill. During a press conference in Yaounde, the SDF National Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi considered the Bill a "mockery of democracy". While assuring that the party he has been headed for close to 25 years was strongly against terrorism, Fru Ndi argued that it was "counter-productive to think that liberties must be stifled to combat terrorism..." He saw in this law a political gimmick to perpetuate the stay of a staled regime in power. He made to attempt to comment on the different view held by his chief legal adviser, Hon. Joseph Mbah Ndam.

Well, it is frightening that such a deep divide and incoherence is coming from the SDF that claims still represents the aspirations of Cameroonians. Are these signs of a smouldering crack rumoured to be in that party's backyard? Only time will tell. But Cameroonians you have the choice, the yam and the knife; you cannot eat you cake and have it. You would not lose anything, if you start scouting for a third alternative now. The choice is yours.

Mokun Njouny Nelson