Cameroon : SDF Presents more Failures than Victories in 33 years

On 26 May 2023, the Social Democratic Front will blow out its 33 candles, marking 33 years of existence and…

On 26 May 2023, the Social Democratic Front will blow out its 33 candles, marking 33 years of existence and political struggle.


Founded on May 26 1990 , SDF clocks 33 years off existence presenting a balance sheet of conflict and less wins. To mark this event, the party’s secretary general, Adeline Lord Djomgang, issued a press release on 23 May calling on all his comrades to mobilise  in all the 10 regions. Created in 1990 with the return of a multi-party system in Cameroon, the party has lost its virility to the point where its actions are producing less and less fruit.

The days when the SDF was an influential opposition party in Cameroon are long gone. For example, at the end of the senatorial elections on 12 March 2023, the party returned empty-handed from the polls. It took a presidential act to save its presence in the upper house of parliament for the next five years, by appointing Senator Vanigansen Mochiggle. This is unprecedented in the history of the Senate, which has been in office since 2013. In 2018, the Sdf won seven seats in the election held on 25 March, half the number it won in the poll held on 14 April 2013.

This downward trend can also be seen in the lower house of parliament. In the National Assembly, the party has five deputies following the legislative elections of 09 February 2020, far behind the 18 deputies it won in 2013, the 16 in 2007, the 22 in 2002 and the 48 in 1997; the party having opted for a boycott in 1992.

In successive presidential elections, Ni John Fru Ndi was Paul Biya’s best challenger until 2011 (36% in 1990; 17.40 in 2004; 10.71 in 2011). In 1997, the party boycotted the presidential election. In 2018, the Chairman handed over the baton and the militants chose the candidate Joshua Osih, for whom the Cameroonian people gave only 3.36% of the vote, behind Cabral Libii (6.28%), Maurice Kamto (14.23%) and Paul Biya (71.28).


At local level, the SDF’s influence is declining. The party has controlled four communes since 2020, a reduction of 19 mayors elected in 2013. In the regional councils in place since 2020, the SDF has no councillors out of 900, due to the boycott of the very first regional elections held on 06 December of the same year. This, combined with the separatist crisis in the North-West and South-West regions, the party’s main stronghold, is helping to reduce the SDF’s hold on power.

In addition to the numerous boycotts (legislative elections in 1992, presidential elections in 1997, regional elections in 2020) and the separatist crisis, the SDF has been weakened by internal conflicts. At a time when its founder and national chairman since its creation, Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi, is preparing to step down, the war of succession is in full swing within the Social Democratic Front.

The latest sign of this conflict is the exclusion of 27 party executives who took the Chairman to court. These excluded members have formed the G27 and are trying to set up another faction of the SDF because, in their view, the party is already moving away from its original ideology. While some see in these internal crises the hand of the ruling system to weaken the opposition party, others decry individual egotism and call on the founder to organise the basis for reconciliation between his sons and daughters before retiring as party leader.

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