The Social Democratic Front (SDF) opens today an ordinary elective congress in Yaoundé. For two days, its regional delegates will discuss the state of the party and its future. The main theme of the congress is the renewal of the party's leadership. Tomorrow's big party gathering will see the renewal of the members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), the political bureau, as well as the election of the various national secretaries, the appointment of Shadow Cabinet members (the parallel government), and vice-presidents.
The highlight of the congress will be the election of the new president of the SDF. This will be the second since the party was founded on May 26, 1990, by Ni John Fru Ndi, who died last June. The electoral commission has selected three candidates for the post of national president: Godden Zama Ndengue, Shewa David, and current vice-president Joshua Osih, the frontrunner.
Joshua Osih was Ni John Fru Ni's chosen successor before his passing. In February 2021, Chairman Ni John Fru opted for retirement from the political sphere, allowing Joshua Osih to take the reins of the SDF as his appointed vice-president whose choices he endorsed. In the lead-up to the elective congress, Joshua Osih broadened his circle of influence by assigning key roles to trusted confidants, particularly within the NEC.
He also got rid of his opponents. Numerous leading figures and potential challengers were excluded from the party, including the 37 grassroots activists and other party executives excluded by Ni John Fru Ndi. One of those activists is the MP Jean Michel Nintcheu, who was then a potential candidate warring with Joshua Osih.
In the absence of major SDF figures, Joshua Osih will face two unknowns in this election: Godden Zama Ndengue, 38, an SDF leader in the Limbe I district for the past nine years; and Shewa David, SDF coordinator in the Donga Mantung department, North-West region.
Meanwhile, Joshua Osih is the vice-president of the SDF for the Littoral region and has been a member of parliament for two terms. He also appears to be the ultra-favorite in the race to succeed Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi.