When Fru Ndi called on SDF militants to boycott the May 20 celebration this year, some French language papers came out to condemn the move. They cried out loud that such a call shouldn’t have been from the Bamenda—Ntarikon-based SDF chieftain alleging he has been feeding fat from the 35years old CPDM regime.
Independant a newspaper close to the regime in a headline story titled “Banditisme Politique: Fru Ndi et les 6,4 milliards du trésor public” published what it described as “exclusive decisions” of the Ministries of Finance and Territorial Administration disbursing tax payers’ money to the SDF.
While another leading French language newspaper, Le Soir, in front page article titled “Revelations: comment l’etat vole au secours du sdf” says Ni John Fru Ndi’s political party costs the state of Cameroon 6,465 million CFA francs every five years and “the chairman alone garners over one billion from multiple advantages.”
Sans Detour, another French language weekly insinuated that the billions from the state have discredited Fru Ndi, with the headline, “Appel au boycott de la fete de l’unité: c’est milliards de Fcfa qui décrédibilisent John Fru Ndi et le SDF.” Others including La Meteo and Info Matin carried similar stories.
SDF secretary general, Senator Jean Tsomelou turned down our request for comments. However, it is not the first time the media is accusing Ni John Fru Ndi of collecting millions from the state, but the SDF chairman had previously denied such allegations.
What remains news today is the fact that some SDF elected officials disobeyed Fru Ndi’s boycott call and participated in celebrations marking May 20. While some SDF militants and political pundits were expecting Fru Ndi to sanction them, he instead told militants during a NEC meeting that he absolves them from responsibility. Fru Ndi said he should be blamed for those who participated. Political critics have been quick to posit that Fru Ndi must have ‘licked salt’ from those defaulters. Another school of thought holds that the mayors who defied Fru Ndi did so because government dangled a sword of Damocles over their heads because of embezzlement if they dare boycott May 20 celebrations. It is alleged that the concerns told Fru Ndi about their imminent political demise and Fru Ndi granted their participation to save face. Reason, Fru Ndi did not sanction them when popular opinion wanted them given the famous article 8.2.
Besides, we could not succeed in our investigation attempts of knowing whether the French language newspapers did not confuse state funding of political parties as the regime’s money to the SDF chieftain.
We approached the Inspector General of Elections at the Ministry of Territorial Administration to learn more about state funding to political parties.
AbdoulKarimou started by explaining that there are two ways the state finances political parties in the country; annual subventions and during elections.
Annual subvention from the state is sent directly to the account of the political party which when legalised becomes a moral person, according to Inspector General Incharge of Electoral Affairs in the Ministry of Territorial Administration.
Each financial year, the ministries of Finance and Territorial Administration issue a joint communiqué for the parties to send attestation of bank account to which the money is wired.
“It cannot be given to an individual nor transferred to any account other than that of the political party in question,” the MINAT official said.
Same applies when it comes to municipal and legislative elections. But during presidential elections, the money can be given to a candidate—though a candidate could have been invested by a political party.
Newswatch’s Ndi Eugene Ndi who carried out the investigations, met stone walling attitudes in his attempts to learn more about SDF’s financial transactions with regards to state political party funding. However, the law abiding SDF we know cannot violate the rules.