“They treated me like a pig” these were some of the tear-provoking words issued by the recently released national chairman of the Social democratic Front party barely hours after he was released from captivity
Kidnaped at gunpoint inside his Bamenda residence on June 29th, 2019 by armed civilians fighting for the restoration of the state of Ambazoania, the SDF’s chieftain and one of the founding pillars of Cameroon’s “democracy” was being kidnaped for the second time in less than three months.
His kidnapping sparked outrage from Ambazonian activists abroad, some politicians at home and naturally, his party officials.
Ignored by Yaoundé and abandoned by people who once revered him, the country’s most famous politician (apart from Paul Biya) increasingly looks isolated and his illustrious political achievements on the brink of extinction
The Anglophone crisis has turn politics and politicking in the country over its head, especially in the restive Anglophone regions.
The regions’ suffering and dying population hold politicians responsible for their predicaments irrespective of their political leanings and as the crisis worsens, the people have lost the taste for any kind of political adulation.
Politicians like Fru Ndi who were once revered and considered the people’s politician have been humiliated and insulted by many, losing a significant chunk of his faithful followers with many accusing the Ntarikong landlord of dinning with the regime.
Many other political actors in the regions have simply been banned from stepping foot in their constituencies as they now call Yaoundé home.
The few who dare visit to so with a battalion of land and air forces accompanying their entourage as if to say they are in a war mission
That is how quick the realities on the ground has changed as the three years old crisis increasingly shows more cracks in international diplomacy and Yaoundé’s inability to govern effectively across the triangle.
Fru Ndi’s second kidnapping in broad daylight with his bodyguard shot on the leg highlighted the growing insecurity in the Anglophone regions and once again sends a very dangerous message about the safety of the ordinary man as the crisis continues to bite
That somebody in the ranks of Fru Ndi could so easily be kidnapped (It should be noted had denied government sanctioned bodyguards for political reasons) is telling how the men with guns have no respect of for his age or political achievements pre-Anglophone crisis.
Belgian-based activists Mark Bareta had described his kidnapping as embarrassing and shameful while calling for his immediate release and respect of his age
For an overachiever like Fru Ndi to be regularly kidnapped by some armed groups and interrogated routinely within Bamenda with his fate constantly hanging on the mercy of an overzealous diaspora is telling enough of the chaos in those regions and the country at large.
His critics had accused the politician of stage-managing his kidnappings even without providing any evidence, arguing that the opposition leader has failed to take clear stance vis a vis the crisis.
A staunch supporter of the federal system of governance, Fru Ndi’s 10 state federation’s model has failed to resonate across the board especially within the hawkish Anglophone diaspora who see Yaoundé as evil and are clamoring for total independence as the only option.
The government on its part has insisted that the territorial integrity of the country is not a subject for discussion and has rebuffed calls for any kind of federation including the popular post-colonial two state federations championed by the likes of barrister Agbor Balla, Cardinal Tumi, Edith Kah Wallah to be implemented to solve the crisis.
The complex political realities mean Fru Ndi’s peace plan is begging for meaningful support and recognition as the people continue to pay the price of a crisis orchestrated and plan far from the two region’s borders
As Fru Ndi’s vision for this fast-changing nation conspicuously looks unattainable in the immediate or long future, so too are his political fortunes and past achievements diminishing in the hearts of many, including those who once called him their own president