SDF, Others, Ready For Dialogue With Biya

Par Kini Nsom & Nformi Sonde Kinsai | The Post
Nov. 1st - 01-Nov-2004 - 08h30   44767                      
In his message to the nation, October 28, Paul Biya, incumbent President and winner of the October 11 Presidential poll, called on various stakeholders to “rally around a broad consensus.” This move, he stated, would easily take Cameroon to the Promised Land of democracy, economic and social progress.
Beneath this appeal, political pundits in Yaounde have observed, lurks a call for a union government. Notwithstanding this message, the candidate of the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, SDF, Ni John Fru Ndi, recently scorned claims that Biya won the election. Despite this dichotomy, observers say the SDF could chart a new and exciting course, if it joins the Biya government with the aim of reinforcing true democratic change from within. ==>{{{=CIN-GOOGLE-ADSENSE=}}}<== Advocates of this idea hold that it is necessary for losers and winners to come together in the patriotic task of building the Cameroonian nation. Against this backdrop, the SDF says it has always been ready for dialogue with the Biya regime. “We maintain a culture of dialogue because we want our country to remain peaceful, for democracy to grow in such a way that leaders who emerge should be the real choice of the people and not through fraudulent elections,” stated the spokesman of the SDF candidate at the recent election, Martin Nkemngu. Reacting to Biya’s call for a national consensus, Nkemngu told The Post that: “the SDF has no reason to imagine that Biya was talking about a union government." Quoting Fru Ndi, Nkemngu said if they were invited to join the Biya government, it would be up to the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party to take a policy decision on the issue. Nkemngu, who is also the Chairman of the National Communication Commission of the party, debunked allegations that some SDF bigwigs were scheming and negotiating to get ministerial positions in the Biya government. "Even though the SDF is always ready for dialogue with the regime, no individual in the party can unilaterally take a decision to join the government. “Anybody who does that would be expelled from the party,” he stated. Maintaining the claim that Fru Ndi scored a total of 45 percent votes against 43 percent for Biya in the October 11 polls, he said SDF’s entry into government could only be predicated on the aspirations of the majority of Cameroonians who voted the SDF candidate. Nkmengu said the preoccupying issue is not joining the government, but how to overhaul the flawed electoral system in the country. He said it is such bad electoral procedures that are responsible for the democratic inertia ailing the country. Reiterating that his party has always been ready for dialogue, Nkemngu said dialogue, to the SDF, means overhauling the electoral system to ensure a level playing ground for all. In such a situation, he went on, an independent electoral commission would be indispensable. Hubert Kamgang Hubert Kamgang was the Presidential candidate of the Union Des Populations Africaines, UPA. Though he scored an insignificant 0.19 percent of the votes, he says he would not hesitate to join the Biya government if they accept to implement his ideas. “If I am invited to join the government, I would only accept if it allows me to prepare Cameroon’s withdrawal from the Bank of Central African States, BEAC,” he stated in a chat with The Post on October 30. Elaborating on what he calls an economic miracle, he said Cameroon could only bounce back to a viable economic growth, if it is liberated from neo-colonial tentacles of BEAC. According to him, what stands tall, as a matter of priority, is not the country’s stalled democratisation process, but the ailing economic situation. In this light, he said Cameroonians are more than anything concerned with how to have food on their tables, send their children to school and have medical care. “As compared to some African leaders, Biya can be called a democrat. But his economic balance sheet is negative,” Kamgnga told The Post, maintaining that he would not join the Biya government if he is not given a free hand to redress the ailing economy through his "economic miracle." “That is the only condition I want in terms of any governmental convention or accord,” he said. Garga Haman, Undecided “I think Mr. Biya, in his address to the Cameroonian people, spoke only about consensus. The meaning you are giving me is your own.” These are the words of the Presidential candidate for the Alliance for Democracy and Development, ADD, Garga Haman Adji. In a chat with The Post, Garga declined to say whether he would join the Biya government if invited. He said he could only give his word if he is invited. “I will not state my opinion on the basis of theory or hypothesis,” he said. According to him, it should be up to Biya to state the conditions for those whom he wants to form a union government with. Then the parties would either reject or accept it. As a post-electoral message, Garga called on Cameroonians to shun tribal politics. He said Cameroonians need to be united in the new democratic dispensation so that they can enhance the virtue of unity in diversity. Garga scorned the fact that the people of the South and Northwest Provinces voted largely for Biya and Fru Ndi, who are sons of the soil respectively. He said Cameroon cannot develop without democracy and unity. He said during elections, people should close tribal ranks and choose candidates who have ideas to develop the country and not only their brothers. Following the official ranking in the October 11 polls, Garga emerged as the fourth political party in the country. On the Anglophone problem, he cautioned the regime in place to look into the grievances of those who are threatening to secede, for they definitely have a case. He noted that all of them protesting cannot be considered as fools.
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