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Interview: Change Can Only Come To Cameroon Through Force 

Interviewed by Yerima Kini Nsom

CameroonPostline.com
— Hon. Serge Noumba, MP Mifi in the West Region, has observed that the change the SDF had hoped to bring to Cameroon through the National Assembly and the ballot box has yielded little fruits. With such limited successes, he said there is need to explore other means to ensure that Cameroon actually changes. He proposed the use of strong methods including force, to effect the needed change in the country. He made the declaration in an interview granted The Post recently in Yaounde. Noumba, who referred to himself as “Junior Fru Ndi,” also talked of his relationship with the party, his refusal to resign, achievements as an MP and so on.  Excerpts:


The Post: We did not see much of you during this parliamentary session. Where were you?
Hon. Noumba: I went to the Francophonie Parliamentary Assembly, because I am a member of the Education, Communication and Cultural Affairs Commission. After my mission there, I visited three European countries: Belgium, Germany and France, with the aim of comparing biometric systems that are applicable in these countries. Can you give us a concrete explanation of what you saw there?

The biometric system I saw there is already a perfect electoral system. In France, for example, the electorates have a biometric card which contains their face and finger prints. On Election Day, the card is introduced into a small machine. If you had been registered on the electoral list, the biometric machine will recognise you. But if you had not registered on the electoral list, it will reject your card.

How is it really done?

On the day of election, you come with your biometric card which you slot into a small machine which uses batteries. Once it recognises you as having registered, you then cast your vote. If it does not recognise you as such it rejects your card. And this is why when the last voter votes the results is published [displayed] in the biometric centre. This is what pertains in Belgium, Germany and France.

What is your reaction to the recent electoral code introducing a biometric registration system in Cameroon, which only distributes voters’ card between 25 to 40 days?

When they were talking of the biometric system I thought that upon registration one would have their card instantly. But I was disappointed. Even before the introduction of the biometric system was announced, I did say that I know the type of mess the CPDM government would bring because at the end we are going to be disappointed. I even told SDF parliamentarians not to start feasting because of the biometric system. They were already saying their fight had yielded fruits. I believe we are all disappointed.

Are you happy being an MP when you cannot bring about any change in the National Assembly as an opposition parliamentarian?

Before I joined the National Assembly in 1997, there was contemplation whether SDF should go or not to go to the assembly. We held a meeting with the National Chairman at the Yaounde Conference Centre to decide. When we finished, a CRTV journalist asked me, “Hon. MP, SDF wants to enter Parliament; on what are you hinging this entry?”

We had said that entering Parliament was to open another battle front for change in Cameroon. 15 years thereafter, nothing has changed. We are on the same spot. So, we need to explore other means to ensure that Cameroon actually changes. And since this regime is deaf, I don’t think Cameroon is going to change through the ballot box. So, we need to use other methods especially strong methods to bring about this change.

Which methods are you thinking of?

I’m thinking of force. And when we talk of force, we talk of every forceful means to bring the regime to change things.

You are not excluding war?

It is a forceful method too. The essential is to effect change.

You have been an MP for two mandates, which event or date is most memorable to you?

I think it was the day I was entering the National Assembly as an MP, because, on that day, I saw myself as one who had changed status. I was no longer an ordinary man. This is what marked me most. Certain honours were given to me that I even asked myself if I really deserved them.

Is there anything that made you to regret being an MP?

I think the day I regretted being an MP is the day the Constitution of Cameroon was changed in March 2008. When the Constitution was changed I understood all hope was gone, and nothing could be obtained through peaceful means in Cameroon.

You have often been described as a rebellious SDF MP, what or who are you rebelling against?

I don’t think I am a rebellious MP. I am an MP who has always made constructive remarks and criticisms for the party. I believe when you have a dirty house you will not leave it and go to that of your neighbour which is neat. You need to tidy yours so as to continue living there.

I was described as a rebellious MP because I insisted that the statutes of our party should be applied; that the ideologies fixed by the party to conquer power should operate without any weakness. This has been my fight. Because, if in the political party there is democracy that is all what we want and I think we are going to have it. And being the first opposition party, we have the duty to show an example by the way we operate. That is what I have been asking my comrades to do for us to continue the fight.

You wanted to resign from the SDF at one point. What stopped you?

I have never had intentions of resigning from the SDF. I think my position or criticisms brought many to believe I wanted to resign from the SDF, but that is not the case. Why should I resign? I joined the SDF out of conviction. And it is not someone else who is going to cause me to leave the party. Until now, the ideology of the party is the same. I have said even if it is not moving well in the party, it is not by abandoning it that one provides a solution to the problem. Over the years that people have been resigning what has changed? So, I prefer to change my country within my party.

You have already served two mandates, what have you brought to the people of your constituency?

I have done a lot. During my first mandate, I realised a school building at Bafoussam I; two classrooms equipped with tables, desks and boards. There is a bridge constructed still at Bafoussam I. There is also a bridge constructed at Bafoussam III, in Bamougoum.

I have also constructed and equipped health centres of ‘Grand en Demi’. I have supported Racing Football Club many times by buying jerseys, boots and even offering bonuses. Last time it was FCFA 1 million. Right inside my party, I cloth mothers and youths with wrappers and T-shirts of the SDF party so as to enable them march on May 20 and May 26. Recently, before the eyes of the Secretary General, Dr. Elizabeth Tamajong, I assisted the Socialist Women when she gave them improved maize seedlings. I gave FCFA 300.000 to enable them transport the seeds to their homes. I can boast of at least 80 micro-projects during my mandates.

Are you satisfied with the prolongation of your mandate?

No! Despite the prolongation I was ready to go in for elections. My mandate was five years, and so it is not a satisfaction that my mandate is prolonged. It is rather an additional task that is being given to me. But since it was meant to introduce biometric election system, I supported the prolongation. But unfortunately, the biometric system has turned out to be a fake, not the real thing I saw in Europe. We should rather not have adopted the law so that Cameroonians would evaluate each MP based on the work he or she has done.

Do you now agree with the hierarchy of the party because at times you do the contrary of what NEC decides? For example, SDF militants were asked not to march in T-shirts but you printed SDF T-shirts in Bafoussam…

This problem has always come up. Let me remind you that by the month of April I buy wrappers and print T-shirts to prepare for the feast of May 20 and May 26. This means that when I will get to Bafoussam next weekend, it is to distribute these wrappers and T-shirts. So, if I get to NEC on Saturday and it is said that militants should not participate in the marching, should I go back and collect the T-shirts? It is impossible. Everybody is free to go and march or not to go. In 2009 I was not in Cameroon. I was on mission in Senegal when I had already given the wrappers and T-shirts to SDF militants to go and march. The contrary order from the party came after I had already given them out.

You said you make constructive criticisms to your party. Do you think the hierarchy of your party understands what you are doing?

There can be misunderstandings. But with time I am beginning to be understood because, for example, when the party ordered that we should not partake in the march-past of 2009 while my militants had already prepared to go, I was dismissed from the party in Bafoussam but when we got to Bamenda, I explained the issue to the hierarchy which they understood and reversed the Bafoussam exclusion.

I believe the party will understand me be it in the short run or long run. If I were not behaving in a normal way, the Chairman would have been disappointed not to have a Fru Ndi junior. I make sure that if he leaves the political scene today, he would not have left only those who say ‘yes sir’. At least, he knows that he has a little Fru Ndi in the person of Noumba who does not only answer ‘yes sir’, one who can help change this Cameroon tomorrow. So in this respect I believe he understands me.

Do you have any appeal to make to the people?

The appeal I have to make is first of all to our militants. All SDF militants in Cameroon should stay calm and live in hope. I want particularly militants of Mifi to continue to have confidence in the SDF, especially our National Chairman and through him their MPs.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01338

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