Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cameroon :"It’s time for the implantation of the third pillar of the national triangle" - George Nyamndi, SLC Presidential Candidate

Professor  Nyamndi George
After contesting the 2004 presidential elections on the platform of the Social Liberal Congress (SLC) party, Professor Nyamndi George Dobgima is one of 23 qualified candidates to run for the coming October 9 presidential race.
 Professor Nyamndi, of the University of Buea, sat down for an exclusive interview with Recorder Associate Editor, Princewill Mukwelle ahead of October 9 presidential polls.
 In the following interview Presidential candidate, Professor Nyamndi, who is also President of the SLC, emphasizes on the need for the implantation of the third pillar in the Cameroonian nation. To him, the first of the three pillars to uphold the triangle of the Cameroon was planted in the Grand North on October 1, 1961 when Amadou Ahidjo was made President, the second in the South with Paul Biya as President. He says is time all Cameroonians rallied behind the implantation of the third pillar, which should naturally come from the   Grand West. 
  The SLC candidate is not warm about getting into an alliance in the course of the race. Read on:

Professor Nyamndi, congratulation on your qualification as one of the 23 candidates to run for the October 9 presidential elections 

  Professor Nyamndi:Thank you. Indeed the initial submissions rose to 53 and we are happy to say that we were among the 23 candidates who were selected to run the presidential race come October 9, 2011. 
Now there is a school of thought that holds that we only meet Professor Nyamndi George Dobgima and the Social Liberal Congress on the eve of election in this country, do you agree with that?

That school of thought has a right to its thoughts, but I want to say that those thoughts do not in any way reflect the reality on the ground. Without being overly positive I want to say that the Social Liberal Congress has always expressed its dynamism on the ground each time events have called for it. You may want to know that between 2004 -the last presidential elections and today the political ground in Cameroon has been very, very shaky -very fertile and the SLC has played a frontline role in shaping ideas and events in Cameroon; in making contributions to national debates; so I think it is not exactly reflexive of our role in Cameroonian politics to say that one is only meeting us now. 

 Last presidential elections in 2004 you were a participant- I mean you and your party .Did the impression you made motivating enough to have pushed you to  put up your candidature again this time around?. 
Hmm…going by common evaluation, I think we gave a very good account of ourselves in 2004 and it is on the strength of that record that we thought we could this time around build on our 2004 experience and make further progress. You know that after the elections in 2004, journalists, the society and other observers returned to the performances of all the candidates and I’m glad to observe that when general opinion centered on our performance there was agreement; one on the quality of our general composure and two on the depth of our message. I think the combination of these two factors give our overall performance a very, very good evaluation indeed. We do hope that in the coming elections we will return to what we did in 2004 to recue those positive things that society observed and appreciated and build on them;you know that the presidential race is a sustained effort in time, the final goal may loom in sight but it takes some effort to get there and that effort can only be the cumulative effect of constant thriving, constant engagement and commitment. And these are the moods if you like, in which the Social Liberal Congress and myself intend to face the upcoming elections. 
We may want to stay with the word performance given that numbers may not be of the essence in our discussion here; but let me ask you: Mr. President ,can you say exactly where the SLC is found in terms of its representation in the country today? 

That’s a very pertinent interrogation, I would not tell you that we cover the length, breadth and depth of the Cameroon We are a young party, growing and our journey into the country is gradual;from now we think that we are to be found in a very active way in regions like the Center, the Littoral, the South West, the West the North West and surprisingly the South. We are also making efforts to create inroads and exploit them into the northern territories. We already have skeletal representation in those areas and we do intend -thanks to the sustained nature of our own efforts- to beef up that skeletal representation; it is something more significant and we think that this will happen no later than during the upcoming presidential elections. 

Twenty-three candidates are running for the presidency in a country like Cameroon. Some people think that they are many given that 20 of them are in the opposition to challenge the incumbent. There seems not to be a match. Is the Social Liberal Congress going into this election with this thinking?
     Far from it; contrary to what people think I am convinced that the number of candidates is certainly not of essence as far as these elections go. What is as stake is the structure of the elections? Don’t forget that we are in a democratic situation or we are supposed to be in a democratic situation; and what does democratic practice require? That you give the candidates all the chances of fair evaluation; this doesn’t seem to be the case now, you cannot objectively in a democratic situation conduct elections and limit them to one round. If our elections were two rounds, the question of numbers just wouldn’t surface. The first round would enable a line-up of candidates according to performance and in the event where no candidate obtains the 51 or 50 plus majority as democratic practice requires there would be a run-off between the first two candidates and then the rest of them will fall behind these two candidates in coalitions; that’s the way things are done. But we have a situation where on the one hand we say we are in a democratic election and on the other we carry out very undemocratic practices. We are going to have elections with 21 candidates and let me note in passing that contrary to what you think it is not twenty versus one as you think it is 23 versus 23. We are in a race and normally if the playing field were level the chances would be the same for everybody. And so let me repeat: the problem is not the number of candidates, but rather the structure of the elections and the sooner we address this structure to clean it, to remove some of these huddles which mar our own democratic image the better .And how are we going to clean it? we are going to clean it- one, by giving it the conditions, the primary conditions that make for good democratic practice, by this we mean an independent electoral commission which we don’t have and a two- round election which alone can guarantee fair choice which alone can give a country the right leader that it chooses for itself. 
Sir, I am meeting you in the company of your supporters just a few days to the start of campaigns. If one were to hear from you -in three sentences, what concerns will the SLC seek to address in this country?
I am glad you observe that I am in the company of my very close associates; one of the key things that we have addressed our minds to within the context of the upcoming elections has been the campaign message that we want to deliver to Cameroon. And this campaign message I say and you are privy to it. It is together for the third pillar. We have a constructive attitude, a constructive method to politics in Cameroon. Over and above the common realities of road building, building of hospitals ports, airports and what else have you, we have the fundamental problem. If there is no country there will be no place in which to build the hospitals and roads and airports. Cameroon is still awaiting its delivery in geometric terms. You may want to know what we mean by together for the third pillar. You know that the country is also called the national triangle and a triangle has three parts right. Now, if you go down memory lane, you would discover that between the 1st October, 1961 and today two of the country’s three pillars have been planted: one in the Grand North when Ahidjo was the President of this country, the other one in the Grand South with Biya as president of the country. The third pillar is awaiting its implantation and when we say together for the third pillar we mean that all Cameroonians should pull their resources put hands on deck and together as one indivisible nation plant this third pillar without which the Cameroonian reality will not see the light of day. This is the message we are taking to Cameroonians and our whole political endeavor will be built around the need for this third pillar to be planted ;the need for Cameroon to obtain its full solid basis and rise to the name nature has given it, that of a national triangle. 
 How do you assess the activities of ELECAM this far? Are you one of those who doubt that ELECAM will live up to its expectations?
Well, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. I will not asses ELECAM before it has done its job. Let ELECAM prove to us its worth. For the time being we give ELECAM the benefit of the doubt, we want to believe that ELECAM is made up of Cameroonians who hold their country dearly to heart and who are able to rise above certain considerations which may detract from nation building. I know quite a few of them who are men and women of metal. I have confidence in them and I will continue to have that confidence until they prove me wrong.
 You said a while ago that all 23 candidates involved in the coming presidential elections are equal. If at some point any of these parties solicits the SLC for an alliance, what will be your reaction given your lofty idea of building the nation in a vision of completeness?
 I do not know what we will stand to gain in a group strategy. As I have said, you become a group when you are sure that the group  will create an impact, but under the prevailing circumstances, groups will be formed to combat other groups and I am not sure I want to be part of that kind …let me not use a negative word. I am not sure I want to be part of that kind of scenario. Let us rather fight for the emergence of true democratic practice in Cameroon. And most of these questions will find their answers quite naturally in the democratic game itself. They come up time and again precisely because our intentions are not matched by our actions. 

 Thank you very much for talking to us.But is there anything you may want to add before we part company?
If there is anything I want to say it will be to tell Cameroonians that these elections place us in a significant moment in the history of our country and that we should rise to the challenge and do things that will make our country proud. There is only one such thing for now, the implanting of the third pillar, that will give birth to a truly united, integrated and prosperous Cameroon. 
(First Published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon,of September 23,2011)

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