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SDF set new standards at 8th Ordinary Elective Convention

 

       

                     

The 8th ordinary convention of the SDF has come and gone, but for most party members, supporters and observers the convention would be most remembered for the new changes that marked it.

For the first time the SDF officially invited the CPDM national president Paul Biya to attend the convention. Mr. Biya though more occupied with the la Francophonie Summit in Kinshasa did sent a 4 man delegation led by minister Gregoire owona deputy secretary General of the party.

Also present at the convention were the Social Democrats from Germany, Albert Dzongang, president of La Dynamique party, the Board Chair of Elections Cameroon Fokam Azu’u, Tita Samuel honorary chair of the CPP and Lele L’Afrique Adolphe governor of the Northwest Region.

The Bamenda convention would also be remembered for Albert Dzongang’s speech at the opening ceremony where he launched a scathing attack on Elecam, which he described as a subsection of the ruling CPDM party and on the other hand pledged to work together with the SDF to unseat the CPDM.

But the most outstanding difference between this convention and any of the previous 7 is the used of the single ballot paper in the elections. A novelty in the party and Cameroon at large, the single ballot paper and transparent ballot boxes greatly reduced fraud and cheating, and proved to be less expensive, simple and fast to use.

 “This proved that the SDF practices what it preaches” said Martin Fon Yembe a delegate from the Northwest Region. “We want to show Elecam that it can be done in Cameroon” he continued.

Despite the use of the single ballot paper, short comings were also noticed at the level of counting where supporters of Asapngu Ferdinand and Vaniganssen Mochigle accused each other of not counting their votes, an issue that the SDF is expected to look into and attempt to perfect the system before they can propose it to Elecam. Surprisingly Elecam sent a team of two senior officials from the Northwest and Mezam branch offices to watch and observe the process.

The Bamenda Convention also recorded an unprecedented number of delegates from the grand North off the country with the Adamawa sending in 48, the North 98 and the Far North 150 candidates of the 1692 that registered for the convention. The south and the East regions also registered 100 and 39 delegates each, a marked increase from previous conventions.

The 8th convention also goes down as the first to have started with a rally. Just before the convention was formerly opened, a mass rally held at the Bamenda Municipal Stadium to prelude the event.

Some of the resolutions arrived at the end of the convention may in another way mark a significant mile stone in the life of the party. The convention called for the status of the party’s vanguards to be elevated and place under the command of the party’s chairman as their commander in chief with powers to appoint vanguards to various positions of the corps.

At the same time it also took some of the powers of the grass root structures and confers them on the already too powerful NEC and its investiture committee which now has the power to designate mayors and parliamentarians.

Besides these changes, the Bamenda Convention called on the party to push hard for the voting age to be brought down from 20 to 18 years, for government to curb national expenditure by regrouping some ministries like Basic, secondary and higher education, for the caution fee for Cameroonians running for parliamentary and municipal elections to be reduced from 3 million to 500 000 Frs. and from 50 000 to 25 000 Frs. respectively. It also called for the head of state to appoint government delegates from parties that win the majority of councils in city councils around the country, promote regional integration and for Cameroon to join ECOWAS and for the SDF party itself to build and respect strong institutions rather than strong individuals.

 

By Abongwa Fozo

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