Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cameroon: President Biya & Arch Rival Fru Ndi meet for the first time in 20 years

         A new chapter in Cameroon‘s political history

 By Christopher Ambe Shu
For those who have monitored the political history of Cameroon since the rebirth of multi-party politics in 1990, with the launching, on May 26, 1990, of the Social Democratic Party (SDF), Cameroon’s Leading opposition party, headed by Ni John Fru Ndi, it had never happened- until December 10, 2010 in Bamenda:

President Paul Biya, who is chairman of the ruling CPDM since its creation in 1985, and who has ruled Cameroon for about 28 years had his first handshake and face-to- face chat with opposition leader, Ni john Fru Ndi,20 years after the launching of the SDF.

Fru Ndi  & President Biya:face-to-face for the frist time

Many political pundits have described the Fru Ndi-Biya handshake and their over 30- minute meeting and discussion as a landmark event and the opening of a new political chapter in Cameroon's struggling democratization.

The two political leaders, probably suspicious of each other or due to sheer arrogance exhibited by one or both of them stayed apart against public opinion that they should meet and dialogue for the of  country’s socio-economic and political growth.

Although apart for decades, both leaders would claim that they were all fighting for the interest of Cameroon.

Both accused each other of not wanting to engage in meaningful dialogue.

But Fru  Ndi took advantage of President Biya's planned visit to Bamenda(headquarters of the SDF) last week for celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Cameroon's Armed Forces to announce that his intention to meet the Cameroonian President(and even to offer him lunch).

And it finally happened, to the surprise of the entire Cameroon and foreign observers, that on December 10, 2010(Human Rights Day), both men met, shook hands, discussed, and cracked jokes at the Presidential Residence Up -Station in Bamenda.

"The Chairman of the Social Democratic Front, who was accompanied by a very important delegation...  met the Head of State. Ni John FRU NDI and President Paul BIYA had their first ever face- to -face encounter and handshake after nearly twenty years of confrontation on the political scene of the country. After they had intimate discussions for over thirty minutes, the delegation accompanying him was ushered in to greet the Head of State”, according to a report posted on the website of the Presidency of the Republic.
John FRU NDI was quoted as saying after the meeting: "It was a nice meeting and a good opportunity to dialogue. We have come together and started the dialogue, but because of constraint of time, we will continue the dialogue. We discussed frankly and he repeated the statement he made on France 24, so the discussions will continue."

 Fru Ndi and Biya met outside Yaoundé, political capital of Cameroon but many political pundits say there is need for another encounter in Etoudi, the official residence and office of the president of Cameroon, which positions the SDF has been fighting all this while to occupy  


George Bamu said...

To the Publisher and Editor of the Recorder Newsline. Thank you for this wonderful story. A picture says a thousand words, goes the familiar line and this picture of John Fru Nidi and paul Biya speaks more than a thousand words.
George Bamu, Aurora, Colorado-USA

Fred Ferim, UK. said...

A meeting after 20 years is a start, if and only if it's a start at all. People might have good intentions but other issues might derail this goodwill.
Its about time they get along but that remains to be seen. We trust they will keep this up but as Ronald Reagan said, "trust but verify". We are waiting to verify the sequel.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Ambe for such a good briefing on that happening. We hope that they truly seek the interest of all Cameroonians and raise our beloved Country oncemore to the lamp light. I'll never cease from praying that God carries us through these moments.