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In Cameroon, SDF Party Leaders Hope to Reconcile the Two Factions


In Cameroon, parliamentary and municipal elections will be held in June 2007. Some Cameroonians hope the electoral process that resulted in the re-election of 72 year-old President Paul Biya in 2004 will improve. But there is also concern about a split in the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front. The split occurred earlier this year when the party held two distinct conventions to elect leaders. Now, one of Cameroon’s traditional leaders, known as Fon, wants to reconcile long-time SDF leaders John Fru Ndi and Professor Clement Ngwasiri. Voice of America English to Africa reporter James Butty spoke with Professor Ngwasiri about the conflict and possible reconciliation.

“I just told you a while ago that the obstacle to reconciliation is Mr. Fru Ndi. He doesn’t want to reconcile. Many people have tried and failed. The latest of them was one Devine Maucoso from the South West Province. He calls himself an international mediator.”

Professor Ngwasiri explains that the two SDF factions are dealing with multiple lawsuits.

“We are in court in the plural. I went to court to ask the court to interpret the SDF constitution. Full stop! That’s it. It means that the national advisory council of SDF of which I was chairman applied a provision of the constitution, and Mr. Fru Ndi told that we were wrong. So [we] went to court to settle the matter.”

John Fru Ndi says he has done more than anyone else in the SDF in attempts to resolve existing problems.

“At the junction where we are, if Ngwasiri wants to reconcile with me, he knows what to do. He’s the one who took us to court; he’s the one who took the convention to Yaounde; he’s the one who asked people to come disrupt my next meeting in Duala. And if he wants reconciliation, let him get the cases out of court then come and we confer. What he’s done he knows that they are anti-party and they are punishable by the constitution of the party. He’s been dismissed from the party, but if he’s prepared for reconciliation, he knows exactly the constitution of the party and what to do.”

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