At the launch of the SDF on May 26, 1990, lots of polemics and insinuations were raised. There was talk of the singing of the Nigerian National Anthem at the University of Yaoundé; there was talk of Biafran’s having joined in the queue in Yaoundé; there was talk of the chief launcher, Ni Ebibi having fled to neighboring Nigeria. Then there were diatribes being heaved on the adherents as they were tagged “Les ennemis dans la Maison”! and told to “ va aillleurs”! When the SDF program of Federalism was put forward, the regime’s cohorts termed it secessionist! Given that lots of Bamilikes identified with the philosophy and ideologies of the SDF, the CPDM regime rebaptized it an Anglo-Bami party!
It is a given that the SDF was created by an entire Anglophone corps, given the background traced right to the 1985 CNU/CPDM Congress in Bamenda where the New Social Order was blocked from being forwarded as a proposal for the peaceful coexistence of the “failing union”! Semengue himself had favored that proposal which was frustrated by a certain Pa Muna, we are reliably informed by Fon Gorji Dinka. This was all in an attempt to rescue a collapsing situation that was imminent, especially given the return to the pre-independence/reunification appellation of La Republique du Cameroun!
Who will deny the fact that the massive endorsement of an Anglophone candidate, Ni John Fru Ndi, as Cameroon’s President at the October 11 1992 polls frightened France and her allies in Yaoundé? The story has been written that the French President at the time had declared that “No Anglophone can be President in La Republique du Cameroun”!-
We all know that before the 1992 Presidential elections, there was no talk of an independent Southern Cameroons. In fact, there was just the Cameroon Anglophone Movement and the Free West Cameroon Movement by 1988. At the November 1991 Tripartite, the silhouette of a more formidable bloc was emerging that culminated in the All Anglophone Conference. Elad, Munzu, Itoe and Anyangwe were to seek ways of addressing the Anglophone problems in La Republique du Cameroun. Recall that SDF walked out of the Yaoundé talks and tension rose . So, all the while it was about how to neutralize the rising tension caused by the SDF!
The Emergence of SCNC: Befuddled SDF Militants
At Presidential polls of October 11, 1992, the SDF candidate won overwhelmingly in the South West and North West, as well as the West and Littoral…plus Yaoundé in the Centre. His victory, history has it, was stolen because he was a Southern Cameroonian. So, at AAC 1 in April of 1993, this issue was as well put on the table and the result was the Buea Peace Initiative. This was a peaceful translation of their frustration with the manner these Republicains were treating the Anglo-Saxons. No one paid heed and by 1994, the Bamenda Proclamation warned of an imminent shift of position radically if by a given time, their demands had not been addressed. As if to add pepper to injury, the regime, through the Ownon Commission slammed a hard one on Anglophones when it instead went ahead solo to come up with a Republican Constitution in 1996, throwing the proposals from AAC 1&2 to the dogs.
That is when the AAC was transformed into the SCNC and its new structures swept away most of the top SDF cadres and personalities like Nfor Ngala Nfor, Carlson Anyangwe, Ndoki Mukete etc. Behind the scene, hundreds of thousands became so frustrated, compounded by their failure to grasp seats in the 1996 Municipal elections or the 1997 Parliamentary elections! The SCNC became a safe haven for those who were seeking psychological sanctuary. Many kept swimming towards the independence bid and thus away from the main stream SDF. The SCNC leadership intoned a new song called Boycott of La Republique Elections! This led to a huge rise to political apathy in the Anglophone Regions, and so CPDm regained lost territory in especially Manyu, Bui, Donga Mantung, Menchum, Fako, and Ngoketunjia.
We know of top notches like Dr. Gumne Kevin Ngwang, Dr. Nfor Susungi; Dr. Luma Ngeka Martin Dr. Nfor Nfor; Barrister Sendze; Justice Nyo’ Wakai; and above all the great Albert Wumah Mukong who were all top NEC members who either slowed down their activities in the SDF or simply picked up more radical positions in the SCNC. Imagine how many militants followed them along!
We recall that each time the SDF Chieftain makes a positive statement in favor of Anglophones, the SDF graph rises, and this is the same thing when a top NEC member like Joshua Osih , Mbah Ndam Joseph and Awudu Mbya are heard openly making statements in defense of Anglophones!
Can SDF Still Exploit these SCNC-ed SDF Militants?
These pre-1993 SDF militants are still there, silently waiting for Godot and hoping! They are being told by Android Activists that Heaven is at hand and any participation in elections organized by La Republique du Cameroun tantamount to treachery, perfidy and therefore treason. They have been made to see their fellow combatants against a diabolic Yaoundé mimbo regime as “accomplices”! They have suddenly forgotten that it was the SDF that pulled down the wall of Jericho for the AAC1 and 2 to see the light of day! They have been intoxicated to forget so quickly that the BPI of AAC1 had called for a return to the Two State Federation.
With all these cacophonies and mystifications, these hundreds of thousands of SDF militants hardly register; rarely put on any SDF regalia and seldom attend SDF rallies, except the agenda has something to do with their Anglophone Problem. We recall that in 2004, when an Anglophone top journalist, Dr. Bob Forbin of The Herald newspaper came up with the idea of a Justice and Development Party to articulate the Anglophone problem openly and publicly, many SDF militants supported him (including this analyst and Christian Cardinal Tumi; Arch-Bishop Verdzekof etc), but when he declared he was gunning for La Republique’s Etoudi Palace, he was deserted like a plague! He has never recovered since then.
While blaming the SCNC for this organized disorder, we must also accuse some overzealous SDF officials who had made insinuations that gave the impression that the SDF is on the same side like the RDPC colonial cult group. How can one explain why an SDF MP of Momo, Batibo had to go on the air and tag the SCNC a secessionist group trying to destabilize the Republque? We recall that a one time Provincial Chairmaan of SDF for SW, Joshua Osih Nambangi had convened a Provincial meeting in Kumba on September 30, 2011 where he condemned the SCNC tagging them secessionist. He is quoted to have said that though the SDF recognizes the marginalization of the English speaking part of Cameroon, the party does not align with the secession of Anglophones. He ended up comparing the situation of marginalization of Anglophones with that of the East!
The point is that until SCNC adherents understand that it is only an SDF-led government that can soften the soil for the cultivation of the desired crops of freedom, the situation will keep growing bleaker. Someone has to be courageous enough to regalvanize these SCNC-ed SDF militants to rally forces with the people and knock down the wall of Jericho. They must start accepting the adage that the enemy of your enemy is your friend…even if just temporary! Because the biggest slap to your enemy is your success! We must not behave as if we do not know our enemy, for if you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles…and the outcome will be certain.
*Martin-Luther Fon Yembe ( Shey Lontum) is a writer and he is working to publish these articles in a book soon. The views expressed here s his personal analyses.
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