Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Politics, Cameroonian Style -- Day 32

French Phrase of the Day: pratiquer la politique de l’autruche; this is the French equivalent of our phrase, “to stick one’s head in the sand.” Literally, it says, “to practice the politics of an ostrich!”

Face of the Day: Fru John Ndi, leader of political opposition to the ruling party in Cameroon: This is President Biya’s thorn-in-the-flesh, an Anglophone who leads the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF). Born in Bamenda, Ndi studied in Nigera until war broke out there, then returned to Cameroon and opened a bookshop until 1990, when he launched the SDF with eleven others. This was a brave move, since opposition parties were forbidden at the time. In fact, at the launch of the SDF in Bamenda, 80,000 people showed up to demonstrate support for the new party (according to independent observers). Ndi ran for president first, in 1992, and then again in 2004.

Cameroon Fact of the Day: Freedom ranks every country in the world in one of three categories: free, partly free, or not free, based on its human, economic, political, and religious freedoms. In 2006, Cameroon was ranked “not free” by the organization. They admit that religious freedom is generally respected in the country, but argue that “citizens of Cameroon cannot change their government democratically. Rampant intimidation, manipulation, and fraud have marked both presidential and legislative elections.”

Mission Challenge of the Day: I am happy to report that there is religious freedom in Cameroon; however, we ought to recognize that this is not true in every country in the world. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church doesn’t occur until November 11, but today would be a good day to pray for Christians who are not free to worship or work in their home countries.