By Dibussi Tande
In an article written shortly after the October 1997 Presidential elections (when Bello Bouba’s UNDP broke away from an alliance with the SDF to join the Biya Government), political analyst, Dibussi Tande, deciphered the problem of opposition disunity in Cameroon and the systemic inability of the said opposition to come up with either a common platform or single candidate to challenge Paul Biya. He argued that the search for a single opposition candidate had so far failed because of an inability to understand the ideological motivations of Cameroon’s political actors. As he put it:
Cameroonian politics is not just about an unending war of attrition between pro-government and pro-opposition forces. It is primarily about a political fault line that cuts across the opposition/CPDM dichotomy, and pits progressive parties on the one hand against conservative forces on the other.
Seven years later, the ongoing drama around the selection of a single candidate by the CNRR seems to confirm Tande’s analysis which first appeared on the CAMNET forum in November 1997. It is said that those who do not learn their history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. We reprint Dibussi Tande’s 1997 article so that readers can understand how the opposition failed to learn from history.