Inside out of SDF’s 10th Convention:
Team Osih wins clear mandate to lead party
- Osih: We are a serious party and you have decided to give us a serious leadership. You can trust me that we will get to where we have to go.
- Mochiggle Vanigansen , the 1st Vice President: We will continue to work as a team especially as we approach the electoral cycle.
- Mayor Njong Donatus, Chairman Convention Organising Committee: Joshua Osih is a square peg in a square hole
- Ntumfor Barrister Ndangoh Tah Calvin, National Legal Adviser: Ni John Fru Ndi’s Legacy lives on
- Henry Kejang, National Communication Secretary: We are going to implement a buffalo communication strategy
- Muma Bih Yvonne: National Secretary for Political Education and Training: It is a new Dawn for the SDF
- Tizzi Pierette, National Socialist Youth Coordinator: With team work we shall get there
By Ikome Christie-Noella Eposi on special assignment to Yaounde and Doh James Sonkey, Yaounde Bureau chief
“I hereby pledge to respect the constitution of the party and to serve the party to the best of my ability so help me God” These were the words echoed by the 2nd National Chairman of the Social Democratic Front, Chief Hon. Osih Joshua Nabangi as he got a landslide victory at the just ended 10th ordinary convention of the SDF.
After a tense election process which lasted over 48 hours, Hon. Joshua Osih emerged victorious with 985 votes defeating his two oppositions, Shewa Jestel with 363 votes and Godden Zama with 217 votes.
Being the first of its kind holding in the absence of the pioneer National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi who took his last breath on June 12, 2023, the convention took place at the Yaoundé Multipurpose sports complex this Friday October 27 and Saturday, October 28, 2023 and brought together over 2,050 SDF delegates from the 10 regions of the country who were present to make their votes count; an event which marked a turning point in the history of the SDF party.
Mochiggle Vanigansen emerged as 1st national vice president, Louis Marie Kakdeu as 2nd national vice president, Fadimatou epse Mohamadou Dewa as 3rd N.V.P, Ware David as 4th N. vice president, Mbia Alain Roger as 5th national vice president, Langsi Abel as national treasurer, Kenfack Volvian de l’or as assistant national treasurer, Tagne Ngeko Emmanuel as national financial secretary, Ngounou Jacob as assistant national financial secretary, Kejang Henry as National communication secretary and a host of others were installed as the new NEC team.
1st Vice National Chairman, Hon. Joshua Osih’s Speech on Day 1 of the SDF Convention
“We are gathered here today not only as a political party but as a community bound together by a common purpose and shared values to take stock of the journey we have covered for the last 33 years and to recommit ourselves for the pursuit of the future we can be proud of.
“Social democracy is indeed the way forward as it brings peace, prosperity and development. We should be very proud of our achievements as it as fostered not only general dialogue but has shown Cameroonians our true character of equal opportunities”.
“Federalism doesn’t mean division; it means unity in diversity. Our challenges in the country are enormous from the high rate of unemployment, to a breakdown in the health facilities, inadequate doctors, high level of poverty, no portable water in most cities/towns in Cameroon, electricity shortages, absence of good road networks etc. These worrying situations must be our major preoccupations. Cameroon is waiting for us to emerge with solutions to these challenges and we will have to get to work almost immediately.
Our leaders must therefore be individuals of integrity with a profound understanding of the issues facing our nation. They must possess the knowledge and vision to address these challenges effectively. Moreover, they should be individuals who can unify our party bringing together diverse voices and perspectives to work towards making our party stronger. The future of our party and by extension our nation rest on the leaders we choose. Therefore, I urge you all to consider the decision carefully and thoughtfully. Let us select leaders who can lead us forward with wisdom and strength.
“Fellow comrades, as we set out on a journey to change this country, I know that we are once again reaffirming our commitment to that noble process. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to the challenge of bringing about changes.
“Democracy is the bedrock of our society and it is through a democratic process that we can bring about meaningful positive change. Our resolute commitment to peace and democratic change sets us apart from those who advocate violence and discord. Let our campaigns serve as a testament to the strength of our ideas and the power of the people’s voice. We are fundamentally pan- Africanists and also, I wish to underscore the paramount importance of federalism as the only possible form of governance for Cameroon. One of the corner stones of our late chairman’s vision was the establishment of federalism as the form of government.
“He believed that a more decentralized federal system will empower regions and respect the diversity of our nation while maintaining unity. Federalism is not just a political system, it refrains our commitment to justice, equity and respect for our cultural diversities. It is the path to ensuring that each region of Cameroon has a voice reshaping its destiny and it enables local communities to make decisions that are best to their unique needs and aspirations. It fosters a sense of ownership and accountability that can lead to a more effective and responsive governance. Federalism doesn’t mean division. It means unity in diversity; it is a model that has been successful in many countries promoting harmony, economic development and a stronger sense of national identity”.
Hon. Joshua Osih is a square peg in a square hole – Mayor Njong Donatus- Chairman of the Organizing Committee
“I am very happy and extremely satisfied because the last assignment that the National Chairman gave someone was appointing me as chairman of the organizing committee of the 10th ordinary convention of the SDF. This was a convention that was so important because it is the first convention that has been held without the founder of the party, such an emblematic figure who willed a lot of authority and people listened to him. This was a convention that had to elect a new leader and come out with the replacement of a chairman. I am so happy that finally I succeeded. The convention moved on hitch free and we had 2050 delegates; a figure we have never registered. We have always fallen below 2000. I am very happy because I was able to transport this crowd to Yaoundé, house and fed them without complains. The SDF must come out of this convention more united, strong and more determined to be at the helm of this country. We have to maintain the legacy of our founder and father, Ni John. His memories should enable us forge ahead, forward ever, backward never”.
I am glad that finally a new team has been put in place to replace the National Chairman. I think that the National Chairman wherever he is a happy man. To the new team, the committee chair said “The right people have been elected. Hon Osih Joshua is a great man. Very intelligent young person who lived his life for over 20 years as 1st vice besides Ni John Fru Ndi and the SDF thought that such a person must have learnt the values imbedded in this hero. The value imbedded in the founder of democracy in Cameroon and therefore we think that a square peg is being put in a square hole and gracious God it happened in a convention where I was organizer. I am very blessed and I thank God Almighty” Mayor Donatus.
Ni John Fru Ndi’s Legacy lives on- Ntumfor Barrister Ndangoh Tah Calvin, National Legal Adviser for SDF
“What we expect from this convention is the new spirit of unity, the renewed spirit of progress, togetherness with a new leadership of the party. Late Ni John Fru Ndi that we respect so much has set the pace. The standards have been so high. So many people have been fighting to take over from him due to the standards he set. We are happy to work together with Hon. Osih and his newly elected NEC team. No one person can wear Fru Ndi’s shoes. We need to put all hands on deck, become more united, stronger and determined to win more battles for the people of Cameroon. The SDF is the people’s party and we know that the people are strongly behind us. Many people are shocked because they thought that with the death of John Fru Ndi, the party has died but they have now seen that Fru Ndi was only planted and he is germinating and his legacy lives on.
We are going to implement a buffalo communication strategy – Henry Kejang, National Communication Secretary
“We have to give our new orientation on our communication plan, strategy. In my campaign message I talked of redefining our Communication strategy. The world has changed and is now digital and with the new dynamism I think that we’re going to implement a buffalo communication strategy; we have to explore all the avenues of communication to make sure the image of the party is polished. The party has witnessed a lot of blackmail but then you have seen for yourselves how strong the SDF is. This convention has taught us a few lessons and we are transferring them to other political parties to see how things should be done in a country if we take power. “The National Chairman his Excellency Joshua Osih in his policy speech talked about conquering some of those virgin lands that we lost and so it is incumbent on us to make sure we use our communication strategies to conquer those territories at the municipal, legislative, senatorial and presidential elections by 2025.
A new dynamic has been put in place- Kungaba Fongoh Leonel, outgoing deputy national coordinator and incoming secretary for bilingualism and translation
“My expectations is for us the delegates from all the 10 regions to brainstorm on the way forward on how to put in place the new dynamic team that will continue with the legacy of the late National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi and also to brainstorm on issues concerning the 2025 elections which is very important for change in our country. We also want to use this opportunity to redefine strategies on how to partner with other political parties and other movements. I am glad because a dynamic has been put in place to carry the party to higher heights.
It is a new Dawn for the SDF – Muma Bih Yvonne, National Secretary for Political Education and Training
“Just for the fact that the elections went right to the logical end is a sigh of maturity. Those who came to disrupt the elections or with the intentions to name the SDF a party that always has confrontations, we proved to them that we’re matured enough to manage litigations. A new NEC is put in place and it’s a new dawn for the SDF. Just the attendance at the convention is a testament to the fact that the SDF is back and is back to stay. People came from 10 regions of Cameroon even the restive regions of the North West and the South West we had delegates. Our people are proven that they defied fear and we know that it is only through political participation that we can change the narrative and bring about the change that for 33 years, the SDF has been working for”.
Mochiggle Vanigansen , the 1st Vice President-
“We will continue to work as a team especially as we approach the electoral cycle. So, we shall be focused on mobilizing the populations to face the elections successfully.
With team work we shall get there- Tizzi Pierette, National Socialist Youth Coordinator
“This is a good honour for me at the same time it is scary because it is a very great challenge knowing fully well that the elections are around the corner. Work starts now by trying to sensitize communities and by working in collaboration with the different presidents at the regional level and now going locally to have more militants that will be ready to take a bold step of being mayors etc. So this is huge challenge for me but I believe in team work and I know we shall attain our goals. We will do our best by working hard to take the party forward”.
Zamo Sandrine a delegate from the East region said “we have voted a leader who listens and puts into consideration the problems of everyone right to the base. We want to be part of major decisions in the country. We don’t want the East region to be marginalized. We want things to change. We want the new leader and his team to be able to look into the problems of everyone”.
According to Mbah Ndam Oliver, SDF Regional secretary for human rights for the Centre region, an experienced candidate has been voted. “We have voted for one who has gained experience in the party, one who can unite people”.
“I am happy that delegates have been here massively to make sure that the SDF regains it fortitude as it used to be in 1990 and to make sure that the dream of Ni John Fru Ndi should be realized even if he‘s not alive. We have voted a leader who has urged to respect the manifesto of the party, its constitution and standing orders. We also have a leader who has the ability to reconcile some national issues especially those affecting the country. We voted for a leader who can gain national acceptability to be able to win elections at all levels. Finally we voted for a leader who is able to reconcile different factions and embrace unity.” Nyamsekwe another delegate opined.
Hon. Joshua Osih’s Inaugural Speech
“Your presence here till this time is a testimony of our democratic values. The SDF is back. We are a serious party and you have decided to give us a serious leadership. You can trust me that we will get to where we have to go. We will win those councils, parliamentary seats, senatorial seats and the regional seats to make sure that we win the presidential sit to govern this country and take Cameroonians out of poverty, out of suffering, underdevelopment and for the good of all of us. This is an emotional moment for me but I want to tell you all that ‘together we are stronger’.
Appreciating the organizing committee, the new National Chairman said “The convention was planned for two days but it took three. Njong Donatus and your team, all my gratitude goes to you for making our gathering here a possibility. The task to get to work starts right now. I want to thank you all for your spirit of democracy, fair play and your engagement to make Cameroon a better place”.
Over 2,500 militants of the leading opposition, Social Democratic Front, SDF party converged on the Yaounde Warda Multipurpose Sports Complex last October 27, 28 and 29 morning 2023 for their 10th ordinary convention to elect their new National Chairman and other National Executive Committee, NEC members.
Before that could happen, the son of the late SDF National Chairman, Benjamin Fru Ndi took the floor and thanked SDF militants for their special tribute paid to their late father who laid a solid foundation for the Social Democratic Front, SDF. He reassured them that their family will forever be with the SDF. ‘‘We are fighting for the Cameroon of tomorrow. A good leader needs people who are alive and that is why my father refused to shed blood.’’ He urged delegates to the 10th ordinary convention to choose wisely for the father’s succession.
Holding under the theme “Together, Transformed and More Determined,” the 10th ordinary convention saw the coming in of national bureau. Senator Vangansen Mochiggle raised a motion and said if SDF wants to adopt the report that of the legal affairs should be left out.
The electoral sub commission was sworn in led by Senator Ngam Honore.
Three canddates were running for the post of the First Vice National President, Senator Vangansen Mochiggle, Senator Haman Paul and Mayor Njong Donatus.
‘‘SDF is a serious party that needs serious leadership. We are here to win.” Declared Hon Joshua Osih during the campaign.
The voting process was interrupted before it could even start by candidate Shewa Jestel who was complaining that names of the electorate were not being and forces of law and order were called in to intervene.
The convention was attended by some 8 political parties answered namely, the ruling CPDM represented by the Secretary General of the Central Committee, Jean Nkuete the NUDP of Bello Bouba Maigari the PCRN of Cabral Libii, MRC of Prof Maurice Kamto, and foreign delegations from Laurent G’bagbo. Taking the floor Hon Cabral Libii said his PCRN Party is ready to enter into a coalition with SDF for better results.
A Brief Background of the SDF
Born on May 26 1990, in Bamenda, Cameroon, the Social Democratic Front has the fundamental principles of; DEMOCRACY; the protection and the defense of individual freedoms and human rights, social justice and the necessary effective participation of all citizens in the political space. The SDF a political party with an ideology dominated by social democracy has since its creation been resolutely committed to the conquest of power and actively campaigns for the construction of a federal state in Cameroon.
The just ended convention was geared towards consolidating the revitalization of the party, driven by the top hierarchy and translated on the ground by the mobilization of militants observed during the renewal process of the basic structures of the party.