Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis continues to run hot, with ongoing conflict between separatists in the northwest and southwest territory of Southern Cameroons (along the border with Nigeria) and the rest of Cameroon. With local elections slated for February 9, 2020, the conflict has boiled over into electoral intimidation, creating doubts that the elections will be free and fair.
The Social Democratic Front (SDF), the principal opposition to President Paul Biya’s ruling People’s Democratic Movement, is facing internal turmoil over whether it should participate in the upcoming elections.
The SDF’s main base of support is in Southern Cameroons, but violence against its MPs by separatist militias has pressured some to drop out or leave the party entirely. SDF President John Fru Ndi was forced to leave his hometown of Bamenda and seek refuge in the capital of Yaoundé.
Besides the threat of violence, portions of the SDF fear that running for office would lead to another setback. In the 2013 elections, the SDF finished fourth, a historic low since the party’s formation in 1990. Fru Ndi, before departing Cameroon on January 11, 2020, to seek treatment for wounds sustained during his abduction by separatist militias, reaffirmed that the SDF would still participate in the elections.