Did SDF betray Hon. Wirba?

EDITORIAL 10 Apr 2017
Did SDF betray Hon. Wirba?

History has already absorbed the event. That a certain SDF Member of Parliament for Jakiri, Hon. Joseph Wirba, when given the floor of the National Assembly to address the House, played the whistle blower and blew the whistle much louder, so much that it tended to have disturbed the neighbourhood inhabited by gentlemen and ladies, who felt uncomfortable with the intention behind it. Hon. Wirba must have felt that enough was enough because the Anglophone problem was beginning to bite too hard and that the only way to make this understood by the regime in place, was to put it as bluntly as he did on that fateful day.
It is possible to assume that he must have equally imagined that as an SDF parliamentarian, a party widely acknowledged as the country’s most vibrant opposition party, which also believes that there is an Anglophone problem, he was speaking the minds of those who elected him. It therefore never downed on him that he had gone ‘off track’; neither does he seem convinced that he at any point betrayed the party. The fact remains however that, his presentation on the floor of the House was a little too harsh and kept many, even some of his peers, and particularly the regime in place, very uncomfortable. Did SDF betray Hon. Wirba?
The outcome of this was that Hon. Wirba later sensed danger that could lead to the lifting of his parliamentary immunity, which of course did signal an imminent arrest and so he went into hiding. We however strongly believe that his decision to go into hiding without informing the hierarchy of his party was a gross mistake which certainly kept the party worried in a situation in which he had convinced himself that he was acting as an SDF parliamentarian. This can be supported by lamentations by the National Chairman of the party, Ni John Fru Ndi during one of the party’s NEC meetings, that he has actually lost contacts with the MP. This of course, is an unfortunate break down of communication, which most often causes problems at the end. The evident problem here is that those who may not have known the facts of the matter, will certain lay the blame on the SDF for abandoning their M.P in his hour of tribulation.
It is well on record that after Hon. Wirba’s presentation in the National Assembly, he was given a hero’s welcome in his native Jakiri constituency by both his party militants and the general population as well. It will be pertinent to note that the stand taken by the Social Democratic Front, SDF on the issue of the form of the state, does not differ from what Wirba is preaching. It was a common position of both the party as a movement and Wirba as a representative of the movement as such and we want to believe that Hon. Wirba’s situation ought not to have been handled the way the party has decided to handle it in public, which detractors now tend to interpret as a betrayal.
In the first place after the National Assembly drama, if the party felt embarrassed by Hon. Wirba’s display, it was an opportunity for hierarchy to have called him to order. We had already mentioned that Hon. Wirba held a mass rally in Kumbo. His hero’s welcome certainly must have added some impetus in his perception of the situation, knowing that he was acting within the general thinking of the party. We think the party failed in its responsibility to have shown concern for Hon. Wirba at this particular time and for this particular course, instead of treating him as an outcast and someone who must have sold out the party.
We are saying this because the SDF has raised its voice of concern for several militants who have been arrested and detained in Yaounde for the same course that Hon. Wirba is fighting for. Why then must his case be given such a double standard assessment? On the other hand, Cameroonians still look at the SDF as a party that can turn things around, in the same way as it is expected to use every opportunity to win political points. It is also possible for it to lose points if and when it blunders. We believe this is one such opportunities, where Wirba’s growing popularity in his native constituency of Jakiri, particularly under the present circumstance, is likely to enhance the political standing of the party and spread it nationwide.
After all, if the SDF believes in the form of state that adheres to the principle of federalism, as a political party it should hold fast on this and bring on board any other argument that fall on the same line of thinking. We do not altogether want to share the notion that the SDF as a party has betrayed Hon. Wirba. All we want to believe is that the Wirba issue should instead make the position of the party stronger.  He should be considered as one of theirs in the whole course of the struggle.

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