Cameroon’s main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) has described as a sad day in the country’s democracy after President Paul Biya signed into law yesterday a constitutional change effectively removing a presidential two-term limit. The SDF says the move will make Biya the life president of the country, which the party claims is against the wishes of the people.
The constitutional amendment caused mass protest last month, which the government reportedly crushed with well-armed security forces. Several Cameroonians lost their lives after the security forces shot live bullets to disperse the demonstrators. President Biya came to power in 1992 and is regarded as one of the longest serving African presidents. John Fru-Ndi is the chairman of Cameroon’s main opposition SDF. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Yaoundé that President Biya’s move is reprehensible.
“It is truly a sad day for Cameroonians. It is the day today that democracy was murdered, and there are some people who are of the opinion that the SDF members of parliament couldn’t have sat in parliament at all to debate the bill. But we are taking a stand that if the bills are bad, you have to debate them and point out what is bad and what modification is needed because we do not want to just walk out and say the bill is bad. How were they bad? We have to tell the people they are on the floor of parliament because sometimes the government people are such tricksters that they will come out and say that you see the SDF if they had remained in to tell us what was wrong we could have corrected,” Fru-Ndi said.
He described as unfortunate President Paul Biya’s removal of the presidential term limits.
“Mr. Biya is going against the wishes of the people to enact this bill. This bill is terribly undemocratic. There is terrible embezzlement and corruption and the whole system is rotten, bad governance, which makes it difficult for investors to come into the country,” he said.
Fru-Ndi accused President Biya’s ruling party of rigging previous elections.
“From 1990, we knew this and that is why we came up with a second opinion. And in 1992 Cameroonians voted him out and from 1992 Mr. Biya has not won any clear elections in this country. He is either using the Napoleonic administrators and governors who are the people conducting elections. All the efforts that the Cameroon opposition has put in to have a best shot that we have laws that would guarantee free, fair transparent elections have been met with a very stiff resistance from Mr. Biya,” Fru-Ndi pointed out.
He accused other opposition groups in the country of being in bed with President Paul Biya.
“You cannot be a player in a match and you are the referee at the same time. So, you now have what you call in Cameroon the residential majority where most of the so-called opposition goes to join him (Biya), opposition that does not have follower ship at all and some that have follower ship are mainly the militants and they are there quietly,” he said.