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Cameroon’s Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi: Unforgettable democratic legacy

By Christopher Fomunyoh

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Posted on June 22, 2023 14:40

 © File photo of veteran Cameroonian politician John Fru Ndi. (REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)
File photo of veteran Cameroonian politician John Fru Ndi. (REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

Cameroon has been shaken since 12 June by the death of veteran political leader John Fru Ndi, who made great strides in furthering democracy in the West African country.

It’s hard to pinpoint how John Fru Ndi, or ‘Ni’ as he was known fondly since his youthful days, will be remembered, as his imprint on Cameroonian politics cannot be underestimated.

Perhaps more famously known as ‘Chairman’ since the return of multiparty politics in the 1990s – when his Social Democratic Front (SDF) became the main opposition party in the country – his political mannerisms included a steady fist in the air at every political rally.

With fist thrust out, the Chairman often chanted the powerful and empowering slogan of “power to the people”, his party’s slogan and vehicle to prominence.

Colourful linguist

He was a colourful character as well – literally. Ni adored dressing up in colorful traditional garb from his North West region of origin, just as he delivered public speeches in pidgin English which earned him the applause and acclamation of citizens, grassroots

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