Some two weeks ago, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) held its third ordinary congress in Yaounde. During the congress, Maurice Kamto announced the creation of an opposition coalition to support his candidacy in the 2025 presidential election. He later invited MP Joshua Osih’s Social Democratic Front (SDF) and other parties in the Cameroonian political landscape to join him to provide a foundation for this alliance. However, the proposal does not sit well with the SDF, as confirmed by Louis-Marie Kakdeu, one of the SDF's vice-presidents, during his interview on Canal Presse (Canal 2 international) on December 17, 2023.
For Kakdeu, Maurice Kamto took a wrong start with the coalition project. The first step of a political alliance is not media appearance like Maurice Kamto did, he believes. "A political alliance is a technical issue and media coverage is not the first step. [...] We all agree that we need to coalesce forces, except that it doesn't start with the designation of the person who will carry the coalition. It starts with a shared vision. Then we discuss the axes of collaboration. Then we need an orientation document…," he listed.
To get the message across to the MRC, SDF sent a representative to the congress, we learned. However, this representative was denied speaking time while other political leaders, such as Jean Michel Nintcheu, leader of the Front pour le changement du Cameroun (FCC), took to the stage to praise the coalition Maurice Kamto plans to baptize Alliance politique pour le changement (APC).
The SDF, which claims a center-left stance, has, for months now, spearheaded a coalition project to rally "progressive forces" across Cameroon. In SDF jargon, “progressive forces” means organizations advocating for deep-seated societal reforms. The project gained momentum a few days ago with the SDF joining hands with six major trade unions.
However, this progressive label masks a recent ideological shift spearheaded by new SDF leader Joshua Osih. He aims to shed the party's image of militant, war-mongering rhetoric. This ambition shines through Louis-Marie Kakdeu's public statement preferring alliances built across political families, not simply within individual parties. The message is clear: the SDF seeks collaboration with moderates, leaving extremist fringe groups out of the picture. This effectively casts a cold shoulder on the MRC, already branded an extremist party due to protests that landed several of its members in jail.
The Nintcheu effect
The strained relationship between Joshua Osih and Jean Michel Nintcheu, a key figure in the APC alliance, further complicates matters. Reconciliation between these two individuals is challenging, and they openly acknowledge their animosity, which dates back to their rivalry for leadership within the SDF just before Chairman John Fru Ndi's departure. Joshua Osih emerged victorious in that leadership contest, resulting in Jean Michel Nintcheu's expulsion from the party.
The alliance faces skepticism not only from the SDF but also from the ruling CPDM. CPDM officials raise concerns that the APC is merely a "backdoor" for Kamto to bypass his party's lack of elected representatives and run for president in 2025. As his party has no elected representatives to invest in him, proponents of this view believe that the MRC leader is looking for a party capable of doing so.
Michel Ange Nga