Home » What Lessons For Cameroon’s Ruling CPDM, Allies From Gabon’s National Dialogue?

What Lessons For Cameroon’s Ruling CPDM, Allies From Gabon’s National Dialogue?

by Atlantic Chronicles

What is termed the conclusion of the Inclusive National Dialogue that held for one month in neighbouring Gabon, has dealt a heavy blow on the ‘Parti Democratique Gabonais’, PDG, (Gabonese Democratic Party) that ruled  the country for over 50 years. There is no doubt at the decisions or recommendations of the National Dialogue in Gabon especially as concerns PDG will be effectively implemented by the Government of Transition, which has repeatedly said that it was waiting for those decisions to move Gabon forward.

More so, the decisions taken against the PDG by the National Dialogue are not only very popular in the country, but also appear to be in line with the views of the Government of Transition.

Meanwhile, the conclusion of the Inclusive National Dialogue that was presented at a heavily attended ceremony in Libreville, Gabon, in the presence of the President of the Committee for Transition and Restoration of Institutions in Gabon, Brigadier General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, among things recommended that PDG be suspended with immediate effect for a period of three years.  Also, that all political parties that were allies of the PDG during the period 2016 – 2023, that is, the last mandate of ousted President Ali Bongo, should as well  be slammed the three year suspension with immediate effect. Worth noting, that the said allies of PDG are parties that belonged to a group officially known as ‘Majorite Republicaine et Sociale pour L’Emergence’ (Republican and Social Majority for Emergence). This was a group of political parties that supported President Ali Bongo. There is a similar group in Cameroon that supports President Biya, known as Presidential Majority.


Ineligible For Next Elections

Meanwhile, the conclusion of the National Dialogue has also demanded that investigations be open against all present and former senior officials as well as senior members of the PDG, and all those found wanting should face the Law. The National Dialogue has also demanded that all senior officials as well as senior members of the PDG should not be eligible to run in the next elections in the country. They include the National President of PDG, members of the Executive Secretariat of PDG, members of the Political Bureau of the PDG, members of the Permanent Committee of the PDG, among others.

They are banned from being candidates in the elections that will return Gabon to civilian rule. Worthy of note is that the President of the Transition in Gabon, General Oligui Nguema, has said that the country will return to civilian rule in two years. As can be seen, PDG will still be under suspension by the time of the elections to return Gabon to civilian rule, and, thus, will not be able to participate in the elections. Senior officials as well as senior members of parties that were allies of PDG from 2016–2023, have also been declared ineligible to participate in the next elections in Gabon.


A Clean Break With The Ugly Past

Political observers and analysts think that the reason why the conclusion of the National Dialogue in Gabon have inflicted the sanction of ineligibility for the next elections on senior officials and senior members of the PDG, is to bar the way for those who might try to play smart by jumping out of suspended PDG to some opposition parties to run in the next elections.

What now look certain, at least on paper, is that when Gabon will return to the civilian rule in two years as promised by the military strongman, General Clotaire Oligui Nguema, the new President of the Republic, all the Mayors, Councilors and MPs, will be people from parties that were of the opposition during the last mandate of the ousted President Ali Bongo. This will be a clean break with the ugly past, when PDG of the Bongos took Gabon hostage for over 50 years.


All Political Parties In Gabon Suspended

Meanwhile, the National Dialogue in Gabon has also demanded that all legalized political parties in the country should be suspended for an indefinite period, but which is very likely not going to be long. The suspension is for the political parties to wait for the putting in place of new rules and regulations for the creation and operation of political parties. The Government of Transition in Gabon wants appropriate measures to be put in place that will put order and seriousness in the creation and operation of political parties in the country, and put an end to the chaotic system where any Tom and Dick can become the Founding President of a political party like also happens in Cameroon. Worse is the fact that large majority of the so called political parties that are created, are never launched, and remain in the suitcases of the founders.

The real intention of the Founders is to transform these political parties into a business as we see in Cameroon, where some registered political parties are hired or even bought.  Cameroon today counts 369 registered political parties, and there are more in the pipeline, whereas the country does not need up to 10 political parties.


 PDG – Ruling Party From 1967 To 2023

Worth noting that the Gabonese Democratic Party, commonly known as PDG, was the ruling party of Gabon from December 2, 1967 to August 30, 2023. The PDG treated Gabon like a private property. With Omar Bongo Odimba as its founding President, PDG became the ruling party of Gabon when Omar Bongo became the second President of the Republic of Gabon on December 2, 1967. President Omar Bongo who was born on December 30, 1935, hung on to power in Gabon until death took him away on June 8, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain. He had groomed his son, Ali Bongo Odimba, who later became member of his Government to eventually take over the ‘throne’ or post of President of the Republic, when he would be no more. And that was what happened after his death. With the PDG firmly installed and in control in Gabon, Ali Bongo Odimba replaced his late father as President of Gabon following a highly controversial election that was organised a few months after Omar Bongo passed away. Ali Bongo also took over the leadership of the ruling PDG.

The first seven year mandate of President Ali Bongo ended in 2016, and of course he was ‘re-elected in another controversial presidential election. President Ali Bongo unfortunately suffered a severe stroke in 2018, which seriously affected his health. Despite that, Ali Bongo and PDG still tried to force their way for a third mandate in the August 25, 2023 presidential election that held in Gabon.

Suffice to say it ended with a military coup d’etat on August 30, 2023. President Ali Bongo was overthrown, and the PDG that has been the ruling party of Gabon since 1967, was kicked out of power. Curiously enough, the new Military Leader of Gabon, turned out to be Brigadier General Brice Clotaire  Oligui Nguema, the cousin of ousted President Ali Bongo, who was  the Commander of the Republican Guard that led the coup.

Meanwhile since then nothing particular happened to PDG and its top officials and senior members. However it has now turned out that the Military Leader of Gabon, General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, had his own strategy or plan to deal mercilessly with PDG, through the National Dialogue.


What Lessons For CPDM And Its Allies

The question that will definitely come to the minds of many Cameroonians as regard the sanctions slammed against the once powerful ‘Parti Democratique Gabonais’, PDG, that used all sorts of unorthodox means to cling on to power in neighbouring Gabon for over 50 years, is what lessons the ruling Cameroon People Democratic Movement, CPDM, and its allies in Cameroon, can learn from that. Worth noting, that CPDM and PDG in Gabon have almost the same modus operandi. Both are everything except a democratic party, and so their names don’t reflect their realities at all.

As aforementioned, the PDG ruled Gabon, which it treated as a private property, from 1967 to August 30, 2023, when the PDG Government was overthrown by a military coup. So the PDG ruled Gabon for over half a century. As for the CPDM, it should be noted that it has actually been in power in Cameroon since 1966, when it was created by the merger of legalized existing parties in the country. It was known then as the Cameroon National Union, CNU. At the CNU Congress in 1985 in Bamenda, President Biya who was then the National President of the CNU, as a political strategy caused the change of name of CNU to CPDM, even though CPDM officials claim that the party was created in 1985.


“Cameroon Is Not Gabon”


Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the highly popular decisions taken by the National Dialogue in neighbouring Gabon, against the PDG, are definitely a nightmare to the CPDM. It was the same thing that happened when the coup d’etat took place in Gabon on August 30, 2023. There was in fact panic in the CPDM Party and Government. But the desperate reactions or strategy of CPDM officials in the face of such situations as for example happened when the coup d’etat took place in Gabon last Year, is always to try to downplay the situation by saying that, “Le Cameroun n’est pas le Gabon” (Cameroon is not Gabon).

At the presidential election in Senegal last March, the opposition incarnated by Ousmane Sanko and Bassirou Diomaye Faye, defied all odds and swept their way to power, crushing the candidate of the ruling party. When the opposition in Cameroon started talking of the message from Senegal to Cameron as regard the 2025 presidential election to hold in Cameroon, CPDM officials said: “Cameroon is not Senegal”.

Whatever the case, there are a number of lessons to learn or to bear in mind  by the ruling CPDM and its allies, as regard the decisions taken against PDG  by the National  Dialogue that held in Gabon, even if the CPDM pretends as usual with its song that Cameroon is not Gabon. One of the principal lessons that the CPDM and its allies have to learn or remind themselves of, drawing from the decisions taken by the National Dialogue in Gabon against PDG is that: THERE IS AN END TO EVERYTHING. NO MATTER HOW LONG A PARTY CLINGS TO POWER, ONE DAY THAT PARTY WILL LEAVE POWER, AND THEN THE PARTY WILL REAP WHAT IT SOWED WHILE IN POWER.

By Joe Dinga Pefok (Uncle Joe)

Originally published by The Mentor

You may also like