Friday, May 23, 2014

National Day: SDF Reeked of Immature Political Antics in Nkambe

(NewsWatch Cameroon)--The ruling Cameroon Peoples’ Democratic Movement (CPDM) and frontline opposition party the Social Democratic Front (SDF) clashed in Nkambe on May 20 over which party was to conclude the National Day parade there. The CPDM now runs the municipality which the SDF had steered since the return to multiparty politics in the early 90s.
The conflict peeled off scars of an October 1, 2013 upheaval between the rivals following the twin elections the month before. It is tradition in Nkambe it is understood for the party that runs the municipality to march last.
A local National Day march past committee with representatives from all political parties in the zone had agreed as in previous years that the party in control of the municipality will end the march past of political parties. The Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung , Ngone Ndode Messappe Bernard also gave his nod to the agreement. The five political parties in area had to march in the following order; SDF, UNDP, UPC, FSNC, and CPDM, the SDO ordered.
But the SDF vehemently refused to commence the parade they have concluded for almost the last two decades halting the commemoration for about an hour.
SDF supporters insisted that by asking them to begin the march past, the SDO was colluding with the CPDM so that people who had already paraded could be talked into swelling the latter’s ranks.
The MP for Nkambe, Hon. Awudu Mbaya pleaded with the SDF militants headed by the party’s District Secretary to respect the march past order established by the committee. But they stood their ground once Mbaya returned to the grandstand.
The altercation between the CPDM and the SDF was followed by Issa Tchiroma’s FSNC’s march not in their official place; the latter’s first in that part of the country.
Yet getting a second political party to follow suit proved tough the SDF and the CPDM insisted on occupying the last position.
CPDM supporter Tamfu Jude called the SDF’s action a trick to foil his party’s demonstration of its political clout.
Stunned, the interim Section President of the CPDM for Donga Mantung I-Nkambe, Ngala Gerard described the situation as unfortunate and cautioned his militants to march before the SDF for peace to reign.
“You know I have always advocated against violent politics and politicians, for peace to reign, I asked my militants to march peacefully and happily too; irrespective of whether they are in the first or last position”, Ngala told this reporter.
The SDO for Donga Mantung ordered that security officers stop all other political parties from parading after the CPDM after the dispute persisted.
After a 58-minute parade by the CPDM which observers termed a show of political strength, security personnel stepped in to stop the march past as instructed. This resulted in another ‘war’ between the security forces and SDF supporters. Hon. Awudu then decided to lead the SDF in its march past. The MP was granted permission to do so but not with all the SDF’s militants. Some students from Christ the King Teachers’ Training College (CKTTC) Nkambe and bike riders suspected to have been recruited to march for the SDF were barred from doing so.
Political pundits have described the latest clash between the two political parties in Nkambe as a show of political immaturity, while condemning the action of the leading opposition party which claims it is a crusader for improved democracy.
Observers have since been questioning why the SDF’s representative in the local National Day parade committee reneged on an agreement he had endorsed.
By refusing to respect the SDO’s edict, the SDF showed gross disrespect for itself and the authorities, observers say.
Some blamed the MP for earlier asking the SDF militants to respect the march past edict and later leading the march in disobedience to the Head of State’s representative in Donga Mantung.
Some analysts say in arguing that the CPDM was planning to cause people to parade more than once only revealed what the SDF could have been doing when for the nearly two decades that it concluded National Day march pasts in Nkambe.
By Abanda Marcel in Nkambe and Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde

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