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If CDU Didn 

Interviewed By Joe Dinga Pefok — The 1st Vice National Chairman of the SDF, Joshua Nabangi Osih, has declared that if Adamou Ndam Njoya’s CDU did not kill the platform of opposition parties commonly known as G7, the SDF would not have put up a list for the April 14 senatorial elections in the West Region.


Rather, according to Osih, the SDF would have, in line with the spirit of the platform, asked its councillors to vote for the CDU list. In this interview granted The Post, Osih responds the Vice National President of CDU, who said the SDF is in alliance with the CPDM. Osih also throws light on the alleged deal between the SDF and the CPDM. Read On:         
The Post: What is the relationship between the SDF and the CPDM?

Osih: There is no relationship. The CPDM is the problem of the Cameroonian people, and the SDF is the solution. The SDF was created in 1990 because the CPDM was a problem. We have been struggling for 23 years to deliver the Cameroonian people, because the CPDM is still a problem. So that is where we are, with the CPDM. The SDF and the CPDM are political adversaries.

After the meeting between the National Chairman of the SDF, Ni John Fru Ndi, and President Biya’s envoy, Martin Belinga Eboutou, on March 7, 2013, the position of the SDF, that was strongly against the holding of the senatorial elections, suddenly changed. What happened?

Now, as concern the senatorial elections, let me first of all state that the SDF at no one time, ever said that they were not going in for the elections. What happened was that the National Chairman of the SDF and the National Chairman of the CPDM had promised to meet. By the time the date of the senatorial election was announced, they had so far not met since the last promise was made.

Despite the fact that SDF and CPDM are political adversaries, dialogue is of imperative between the ruling party and the main opposition party, to advance the political agenda of Cameroon. There is nothing to do with Mr Fru Ndi or Mr Biya, or SDF, or CPDM. It is all about a better Cameroon for Cameroonians.

Meanwhile, what the SDF made clear through the mouth of the National Chairman when the election was convened was that we could not go into the senatorial elections with an illegitimate electoral college, if at least we did not discuss the issue on a one-to-one basis with Mr Biya.

The National Executive Committee, NEC, of the SDF met, and resolved that the National Chairman of the party must meet the National President of the CPDM, to discuss the way forward, so that we could as well know why they had to suddenly call the senatorial elections. Well, a couple of days later, the National President of the CPDM who is also the President of the Republic as it happen to be, called the meeting. Unfortunately, he could not be present himself, and delegated his closest aid to meet the Chairperson of the SDF. The meeting held. That is it.

You have not told us what transpired in the meeting. The SDF has over the years been shouting at roof tops about the importance of transparency. So why have you people been evasive on this issue?

We have no obligation whatsoever, to tell the media what we discuss in those meetings. The leadership of the SDF has an obligation towards the militants of the party, to tell them where we stand. We do not have an obligation to come to the media, to tell you guys what discussions we have with others behind close doors, otherwise we will never be able to meet anybody to discuss the advancement of the Cameroonian people.

There is this widespread allegation that a deal was struck between Fru Ndi and Biya through his close aid, at the March 7 meeting.

Take it or leave it, there was no deal. It is very unfortunate the media in this country have been fabricating and propagating rumours and lies, as to what purportedly happened at the meeting between the National Chairman of the SDF and Mr Biya’s closest aid.

There is also one ridiculous thing about the allegations that the media have been making. Today, you do not need to meet somebody to receive money. You can sit at Ntarikon in Bamenda, at Etoudi in Yaounde, or at Akwa in Douala where we are, and still receive money from anywhere in the world. There are many money transfer services out there.

People do not need to meet physically, hold a meeting for two long hours, for one to bribe the other. It is really ridiculous, for the media to insinuate or allege that the National Chairman of the SDF travelled the long distance from Bamenda to Yaounde, and met with Biya’s closest aid, and money exchanged hands.

This is really unfortunate. Where this really hurts is that what the SDF is doing is not for its interest, but rather for the interest of the Cameroonian people. Are you guys saying that there was a deal between the CPDM and the SDF, and the former went and pumped billions of francs of State money in the Northwest Region, to beat the SDF list at all cost in the senatorial elections, whereas the CPDM even has the majority of councillors? 

Do you guys think that the CPDM would have resorted to all the corruption and other electoral malpractices in the Northwest, if there was a deal between the two parties?  Are you guys saying that the SDF went into a deal to accept to lose an election through electoral malpractices?
When the CPDM list was rejected in the West Region, the party hierarchy instructed the party’s councillors in the region to vote the SDF list, to the detriment of Adamou Ndam Njoya’s CDU.

Let me clarify this issue that you guys of the media have been hanging on. The CPDM made a total of three different calls to its councillors in the West Region, during the campaign period for the senatorial elections. The first call was that the councillors should vote blank. The second call which was made by some business tycoons in the West was that the councillors should vote for the CDU list. Then the third call which came from the CPDM hierarchy was that the councillors should vote the SDF list.

It is interesting to note that the first two calls do not interest the media, only the third call. Whatever the case, the fact is that the CPDM hierarchy made the third call because the vote would have been that way, anyhow it would have happened. You can not have a list composed essentially of people from one Division as the CDU did, and you expect the seven other Divisions in the region to vote for you. The CPDM hierarchy came to realise this ugly fact about the CDU list.

They realised that what the SDF was saying about the CDU list, was true. Knowing the sociological composition of the West Region, the CPDM hierarchy knew that there was just no way the CDU list would make it at the elections. So they had to play a smart one in a bid to save face, by calling on their councillors to vote for the SDF list, whose composition truly represented the West Region, comprised of eight Divisions.  

The Vice National President of the CDU, Cyrille Georges Sam Mbaka, has insisted that there is an alliance between the CPDM and the SDF, and that it was this alliance that robbed the CDU of victory at the senatorial elections in the West Region. He said CDU is now the only genuine opposition party in the country. What is your reaction? 

If Mr Sam Mbaka was of the CPDM, I would have an issue with what you are saying. If he claims that there is an alliance between the CPDM and the SDF, then let him show us the alliance. An alliance is not something that exists in rumours. You can not hide an alliance. An alliance is formalised – there are signatories, there are acts, you see the results.

There is, for example, an alliance between the CPDM and the NUDP (Bello Bouba Maigari’s National Union of Democracy and Progress). Everybody knows about it, and everybody sees the results. There is nothing like a secret alliance, especially between political parties. It cannot work.

As regard what Mr Sam Mbaka is quoted to have said against the SDF, you see, frustration at times make some people say things they do not control. But as I explained earlier, the CDU guys have themselves to blame for what happened to them at the senatorial elections in the West Region.

It was not the SDF that made their list of candidates, without taking into consideration the sociological composition of the region. The West Region is made of eight Divisions, and not of one Division or one tribe. If the CDU had done their homework right, we wouldn’t be in this case. They did not do their homework right, and that is why they paid the price.

We invited this same CDU, after the 2011 Presidential elections, and a few others to our place in Yaounde, and we all put in place what became commonly known as G7. The group was on a positive move, and we started discussing among other things, future collaborations at elections. This same CDU turned around and killed the G 7. Honestly speaking, if the G7 was still alive, and with the spirit that was developing, the SDF would not have put a list for the senatorial elections in the West Region.

Since the CDU currently have more councillors than the SDF in the West Region, we would have asked our councillors in the West to vote the CDU list. That is the spirit we were all building, that they (CDU) turned around and destroyed. So, they have themselves to blame. We are not responsible for their frustration toady. They should take responsibility for their acts. To claim that CPDM councillors voted for the SDF list in the West Region, because there is purportedly an alliance between the CPDM and the SDF, is spurious.

Resorting to lies telling or smear campaign against the SDF, will not help the CDU.
Observers are worried about the quality of some SDF Senators from Adamawa. There is the fear that they might not have the intellectual capacity to face the huge challenges in the Senate.
Let me tell you this- I am extremely proud of our 14 Senators from the Adamawa and West Regions, and even so more proud of the very young, talented and dynamic Senators that got elected in Adamawa.

No Cameroonian is above the Constitution, and any body who tries to complain about the quality of an individual who is above the constitutional requirements, is offending the Republic. The Electoral Code that is drawn from the Constitution, tell us what the requirements are, to become a Senator. All our candidates for the senatorial elections in Adamawa, met those requirements, and that is why they are Senators today.

We hear one of them is a tailor…

And so what about that! We have a very young and dynamic militant in Adamawa, who is a tailor. To be a tailor is not something you just pick up. You have an apprenticeship to do. When you succeed, you have the task to set up a workshop. Sooner or later, you, too, have apprentices. You, thus, have an enterprise to manage. So, you are an entrepreneur.

This gentleman in question is also the Regional Chairman of the SDF in the Adamawa. He won an election to get there. This gentleman was also able to beat the NUDP candidate in his constituency in the Adamawa Region, in the senatorial elections. And if you want to challenge the political stamina of such an individual, then I have a big problem with you.

We have one of the youngest, if not the youngest Senator in Cameroon today.  He is barely 40. It is the message we are sending out. The image of our 14 senators, reflect what Cameroon is about. Cameroon is not about tycoons, private jet owners or billionaires. Cameroon is about the people who make it everyday, and those are the people we are sending to the senate.                

First published in The Post print edition no 01431

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