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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cameroon - Senators Appointed: Investigating the "Refusal" of the SDF

In its delivery No. 2987 from April 8 to 14, the Pan-African weekly Jeune Afrique claimed that Ni John Fru Ndi, the chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), - the main formation of the opposition -, "was discreetly received at the palace of Etoudi, at the moment when the Constitutional Council proclaimed the results of the senatoriales of March 25th". Young Africa thought thus that a double proposal had been made to the leader of the SDF: that of being named senator by the president of the Republic then to occupy the perch of the Upper House at the end of the renewal of the office next April 24th.

Denial of the SDF through the minister of the "Shadow Cabinet", in charge of information and the media, Jean Robert Wafo for whom, Ni John Fru Ndi "did not meet anyone on this subject to the presidency of the Republic on 25 March 2018, let alone another day ". Other officials of the SDF will also continue to deny this information. The general secretary of the party, Jean Tsomelou, assures that no bridge between the Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian people (Rdpc) and the SDF has been used for negotiations for the nomination of militants of the "party of the balance".

The senator refutes this information by arguing that, as Secretary General, he would have been informed if such negotiations had taken place. "No SDF activist has been approached for these appointments," he concludes. Another party executive says, "we have never been a plaintiff." "If Mr. Biya asks us for names," he explains, "and he's appointing other people then we could have this debate. But we have never been approached for any appointment. He went on to recall that for the nomination of the members of the Constitutional Council, the SDF was asked to make a proposal.

Only the President of the Republic has appointed an SDF activist other than the one proposed by the party. For him, the leader of the SDF was actually in the capital at the time indicated by the newspaper, but it was for a series of contacts with the ambassadors of the United States, France, Germany and the High Commissioner of Great Britain ; on the Anglophone crisis and the elections to be held this year in Cameroon. "It happened once or twice that the presidency calls the chairman and that it is the President of the Republic at the end of the line, but in this case, there was no contact at any level whatsoever", he says.

Deal However, the SDF recognizes that informal exchanges have taken place: "Two senators from the Southern region have approached outgoing SDF senators by telling them that they want to continue working with them. These elected representatives of the South claimed to have access to the President of the Republic and could as such, have them appointed to the Senate for the sum of 5 million Fcfa. There are some who have been made ".

Our interlocutor will however refuse to reveal the identity of the people involved in this "deal". A senior cadre of the CPR, in power, confirms that the SDF has indeed received no proposal for appointment from the Presidency of the Republic. "There was no contact in this direction," said simply this member of the central committee of the "party of the burning torch". He recalls, however, that in 2013, to name the 30 senators of the first term, the governor of the North West "had received a mandate from the presidency of the Republic to collect the proposals of the SDF".

The talks, however, stumbled on the favorable opinion of the chairman: "the governor came back to see the chairman to tell him that the presidency wants his name to be at the top of the list of people proposed. Fru Ndi refused. "The SDF won 14 senators' seats. The power then threatened to put at 15, the number of elected officials necessary to form a parliamentary group so that we accept senators appointed by the head of the State. To our surprise, the number of elected representatives was increased to 10 to form the group ", explains, in addition, an official of the SDF.

Today, the configuration of the Upper House of Parliament gives 87 senators to the Rdpc against 07 to the SDF. The rest is divided between five allied parties of the Rdpc. But the SDF, we remain convinced that the rules of procedure of the Senate will be reviewed because the Rdpc does not want to be "the only party to have a parliamentary group".