National Executive Committee

The Social Democratic Front (SDF) is the ONLY political party that has stoically stood the test of time since creation and launching on Saturday, May 26, 1990. It has been negatively tagged by the Biya tribal oligarchy through false and falsified accusations. Nonetheless, the SDF has not relented in its avowed struggle to implant true democracy and good governance in Cameroon. Throughout the years, the SDF has taught the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) and other political parties on how a political party is run. The structures hold regular meetings beginning from the Wards Executive Committees to the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Convention. The SDF has held 7 ordinary and 3 extra-ordinary conventions. During those Conventions, the SDF has put Cameroon’s political sovereignty first and avoided the temptation of using the argument of force to accede to power despite brutal cheating exhibited by the CPDM via massive electoral fraud and ever-increasing human rights abuses.
Despite all odds and also in view of the present political dispensation, the SDF is looking forward with fortitude. It has rescheduled its National Convention this year. It should be recalled that the National Convention should have long held in 2010, but for the prevailing political atmosphere at the time, and also couple with the ongoing fight to overhaul Elections Cameroon (ELECAM). Even though, not much has been achieved in that direction, the struggle is still continuing.

Thus, the long-awaited SDF 8th Ordinary Convention has been billed for October 2012. During the Convention, positions in the National Executive Committee will be up for grabbing, especially those whose members died or resigned during their mandate. Aspirants will have to present themselves through primaries from Ward Assemblies through Provincial Conferences before the National Convention. The upcoming National Convention is so propitious owing to the fact that a large majority of Cameroonians are looking forward to the SDF for quality leadership, now and at this time. Therefore, a lot has to be done to prepare the SDF assume their rightful place in leading the country so as to take Cameroon back to her people – who are the real owners of their own destiny.
If I were to hope for changes, they will be in the functioning of the various NEC Secretariats. The would-be NEC Secretaries should be field politicians. That is to say, they should be constantly on the field, at least, on quarterly basis. Like an innovation, the Secretariats of Organisation, Communication and Political Education & Training should liaise and work together or play complementary roles for the smooth functioning of the lower structures. This should be so, because the political wellbeing of the party relies heavily on the aforementioned Secretariats.
When the presence of the new NEC will be felt on the field, the grassroots leaders will be very comfortable with hierarchy. Fewer complaints of how hierarchy has abandoned the grassroots will be least frequent. Furthermore, a new Shadow Cabinet that will come out of the National Convention should be active, and seen to be doing so via regular press briefings, etc..

This notwithstanding, the Communication Desk should ascertain itself as the mouthpiece of the party. The success of any political organisation is in its capacity to act and react via effective and efficient communication. There should be more action than reaction. The Communication Desk should be active and proactive and above all, operate as an attack dog for the party. The new NEC should ensure that the SDF must be constantly in the news. There should be weekly “Meet the Press” from the Office of the National Chairperson. By and large, the SDF should make proper use of the information superhighway to its fullest. An Interactive website and facebook page be created and managed by the Communication Desk under the direct supervision of the party hierarchy. People should also be able to follow the SDF on twitter. SDF members worldwide should be able to follow an SDF Convention or any other SDF political activity live via the internet. The once vibrant SDF Echo should be revived. The SDF is also capable of owning and running radio and Television stations.

Meantime, the other Secretariats like the Treasury, Finance and so on, should come up with strategies to raise funds for the party. The notion of waiting for government funding for the proper functioning of the party should now be a thing of the past. The CPDM will NOT really accord the SDF its deserved financial dues as it will be financially strengthening the SDF for it to kill them. Proof to this: the CPDM singlehandedly decided to accord 30,000,000 (thirty million) francs CFA to everyone of the so-called presidential candidates as campaign funds for the ill-prepared, badly organised and massively rigged presidential poll of October 09, 2011. The irony about the financial assistance to the presidential candidates was that half of the money was to be paid before October 09 and the other half was going to be paid after. No one knows whether it was respected till date. Besides, the money was too small to even paid the over 24,000 polling officers for say 1,000 (one thousand) francs CFA, if one had to cover the whole national territory and abroad. In this wise and to avoid future embarrassment, party cards and other party paraphernalia should be available everywhere and all the time. They should be produced and ensured that they are transparently sold.
The provincial and Districts executive committees should be regularly funded. The new NEC should ensure that the funds are used for the purpose which they have been disbursed for.
In the past some individuals have used their internet savvies to create, run and manage websites for the party. The day these people disagree with hierarchy and become inactive or resign, the sites also becomes inactive or cease to exist. As we speak and to the best of my knowledge, the SDF hasn’t a site created and managed by hierarchy. As such, the new NEC has to correct this within the first 100 days in office.

A lot has happened and more are still going to happen in the near future. However, as we march towards the last phase of the struggle, we should keep in mind that the SDF Headquarter of Bamenda needs a befitting structure to house the National Secretariat. Consequently, the NEC that will emerge in October should think of building a super structure which will be an edifice of the stature of the SDF. It can be done. It should be done. This is a challenge to the next mandate of the new NEC members.
Similarly, the SDF needs to correct and adopt one official logo on a letterhead which has to be sent to ALL party structures from National to the Ward Executive Committees. What we have noticed is that each party structure or individual creates what they deem is an SDF logo and insert on a letterhead and start using it. During the last presidential election of 2011, a logo was and is still used which is at variance with Section 4 of the party constitution.
Oh, I was almost forgetting the target groups of our party. By that, I mean the Socialist Women and Youths. To prepare them assume tomorrow’s leadership, these groups should be accorded some legally limited autonomy to function within the party. They are the ones who can easily attract their peers to join the party. In other words, send the women and youths to fetch for more of theirs to join the party. In this wise, the October 2012 Convention should adopt constitutional amendments whereby the women and youths would have a “movement, league, platform or forum” of theirs.
Their activities should be controlled and guided so that they should not lose track of their assigned mission. Where some of them start behaving in a way that jeopardises the interest of the party, Section 8 of our party’s constitution will correct that. On this score, I should not forget to mention how the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa managed to contain the former Youth League leader, Mr. Julius Malema to no avail. When he became unbearable, he was simply expelled and that was all!

In other words, the new NEC should be prepared to lead at anytime as the CPDM is steadily and gradually collapsing thanks to Marafa’s letters and his rapprochement with the SDF. Finally, our accession to power now or tomorrow depends mostly on the choice, quality and truly committed NEC members who are going to be voted during the October 2012 National Convention.

Lastly, the SDF is a democratic party as can be seen in its past practices. Throughout all elections into party structures, democracy has won the day. It has practiced bottom – top politics, since creation. This notwithstanding, some people think rightly or wrongly that it is their time to take over the helms of the SDF. It is their inalienable right to be ambitious. However, I urge all and sundry to read meaning in what this Cameroonian BBC Network Africa listener [Jude Mbando Njimereki from Kumba] is saying. Here is his proverbial advice to all bosses who may not really know the covert or overt intentions of their subordinates: “Ambition is like a dog, when it is hungry – it can even bite its master.”

Celestin Atanga [is the SDF Centre Provincial Secretary for Political Education & Training]

Regional Executive Committee

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Divisional Coordinations

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Shadow Cabinet

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