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The SDF at 25, The Path Ahead

Cameroon’s leading opposition party the Social Democratic Front (SDF) turned 25 on Tuesday May 26, 2015. The epicenter of the commemoration was the Bamenda Commercial Avenue ceremonial ground where thousands of party militants, sympathizers and onlookers and even political opponents turn out for a grand rally.

They had come from far and wide, from the three subdivisions that make up Bamenda, the seven subdivisions of Mezam, the seven divisions of the Northwest and from other regions of the country. As one political entity, they came out in their green and white uniforms with their folded fist raised to the air in tacit tradition of the party’s power symbol.

Yes the SDF has finally crossed the silver Rubicon, the party in human terms is ready to face another chapter of life, and like a child from birth to this age, is to come face to face with the reality of an independent life, fending for one’s self, securing a future, getting a partner and set your retirement goals amongst many tough choices to make.

And is the SDF ready? What next for this party after 25 years? is there a road plan, is there a future for the SDF?

These are some of the questions militants, observers, analysts and opponents are anxiously awaiting an answer. John Fru Ndi in his keynote address on the party’s anniversaries may have shaded some light on these worries.

The party he said had patiently watched the ruling party umpired elections from MINATD, NEO1 and NEO2 to ELECAM with the pious hope that we will finally reach an Independent electoral commission one day.  To Ni John, poorly organized elections could be the very undoing of all the peace we have consolidated in Cameroon all this years.

Mr Fru Ndi made mention of a second republic in his speech, one that will have the youths at a central place even if it was not clear whether it was one to be fought for and won from the ballot box or one that will be negotiated, don’t ask me with who?

The SDF has also opened the doors to those that slammed it on them and those that were shown the dreaded article 8.2.  This has been seen as a step towards reconciliation and a sign post on the part the party has embarked on for the future even if questions about its sincerity abound.

Another indication of the path ahead was the presence of sister political parties from home and the sub region. The CPDM, UNDP and UPC all made their impact felt and wish the SDF good luck. Could this be a sign of the mature man finally settling down and a harbinger of the second republic?

If not, then the SDF according to the chairman’s speech still stands and advocates for the federal system of government even if he acknowledged that the party’s craving for that has landed us into decentralization. May be, not a bad choice after all.

Whatever the case, the path ahead of the SDF may seem more rockier than the path already covered, but the good news here is that the SDF has learn a lot from the past that can guide it navigate its future even if mankind has continuously failed to learn from history. Maybe is time the party listen to the cries for it to reform from within, it’s time to take a look at the mirror and see what part needs to be adjusted, change, coloured or wiped off completely, if not one may be tempted to ask whether “the SDF would live to celebrate its Golden Jubilee