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THE IMPACT OF THE MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM ON POLITICAL STABILITY IN CAMEROON

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THE IMPACT OF THE MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM ON POLITICAL STABILITY IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. Background of the study

Cameroon gained independence from French and British colonial rule in 1960 and 1961, respectively. For a considerable duration, the country operated as a one-party system under the leadership of President Ahmadou Ahidjo, who held authority from 1960 until 1982 (Biezen, 2017). Ahidjo's government was characterised by a very concentrated power structure and little political pluralism. Paul Biya became the president in 1982 after Ahidjo's resignation and upheld the system of one-party governance. However, the growing domestic and global push for political reforms led to the reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1990. This incident marked a substantial shift in the political structure of Cameroon (Bogaards, 2020).

Over time, Cameroon has seen a significant change in its political landscape. In the early 1990s, the country shifted from a single-party system, which had been in place since its independence in 1960, to a multi-party one. The transition to a multi-party system was prompted by a convergence of internal and external factors, which included demands for political liberalisation and democratisation (Burke, 2018).

Anticipated benefits of implementing a multi-party system in Cameroon include more political competition, improved representation, and greater governance. The introduction of a multi-party system promoted the growth of political diversity, allowing the formation of opposition parties. This notion enhanced political representation and provided individuals with other choices. Multiparty systems are often associated with democratic governance because they enable the peaceful transfer of power via election procedures (Carothers, 2016). In a functioning democracy, the presence of several political parties is believed to cultivate competition, which is an essential component. Furthermore, the existence of opposition parties weakens the dominance of the ruling party, fostering a greater degree of rivalry within the political arena. This may serve as a means to limit the power of the incumbent officeholder and promote accountability (Eme and Anyadike, 2016).

Cameroon is characterised by its diverse population, including several ethnic and regional groups. The multi-party system has the capacity to either assist or exacerbate these discrepancies. Political parties have the opportunity to establish coalitions that are centred around specific ethnic or regional concerns. The longevity of these alliances will rely on how well these differences are managed. While multiparty systems provide voters choices, they also present challenges such as electoral disputes, accusations of fraud, and doubts about the fairness of the election process. These factors might lead to political instability in some cases (Gambo, 2016).

Political stability is closely intertwined with economic stability. The effectiveness of governance, policy, and decision-making within a multi-party system may influence economic development and investment, hence impacting overall stability. Political volatility can have a direct effect on security. Political tensions or disagreements of great importance possess the capability to escalate into broader societal unrest, therefore affecting the general stability of the country (Huntington, 2017).

The impact of a multi-party system on political stability is intricate and contingent upon factors such as the conduct of political actors, electoral processes, and governance structures (Ihonvbere, 2018). It is recommended to constantly monitor the current developments in Cameroon in order to have a more current understanding of the situation. Therefore, the study will assess the impact of the multi-party system on political stability in Cameroon.

    1. Statement of the problem

While multi-party systems may foster political diversity and inclusivity, they can also pose challenges in ensuring political stability. An important concern about the multi-party system in Cameroon is the potential emergence of several political parties, which might lead to fragmentation (Jinadu, 2018). This may give rise to a challenging scenario where no one party is capable of securing a majority, often resulting in the establishment of coalition governments. Establishing coalitions may be complex, and disparities among coalition members can lead to instability. Moreover, the existence of many factions with contrasting ideologies and policy preferences might impede the process of attaining consensus on critical issues. Policy congestion may arise, resulting to the deferral or dilution of critical choices, therefore hindering the country's ability to confront pressing challenges (Joseph, 2017). The impact of a multi-party system on political stability depends on certain factors, including the nation's historical context, cultural norms, institutional structure, and leadership. It is crucial to highlight that these variables play a key role in determining the effect of a multi-party system. Additionally, it is essential to be informed about the latest political developments in Cameroon in order to get the most current information. Hence, the study assess the impact of the multi-party system on political stability in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to assess the impact of the multi-party system on political stability in Cameroon. The specific obectives is as follows

  1. Examine the historical evolution of Cameroon's political landscape to understand the emergence and development of the multi-party system

  2. Evaluate the extent to which the multi-party system contributes to inclusivity, representation, and political participation among diverse segments of the population.

  3. Identify and analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with the multi-party system in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to further guide the study

  1. What is the historical evolution of Cameroon's political landscape to understand the emergence and development of the multi-party system?

  2. What is the extent to which the multi-party system contributes to inclusivity, representation, and political participation among diverse segments of the population?

  3. What are the challenges and opportunities associated with the multi-party system in Cameroon?

1.6 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to political parties as it's important to note that the effectiveness and positive outcomes of a multiparty system depend on various factors, including the strength of democratic institutions, the level of political culture, and the commitment to fair and transparent electoral processes.

The findings of the study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study focuses on the impact of the multi-party system on political stability in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will examine the historical evolution of Cameroon's political landscape to understand the emergence and development of the multi-party system, evaluate the extent to which the multi-party system contributes to inclusivity, representation, and political participation among diverse segments of the population and identify and analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with the multi-party system in Cameroon.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to Cameroon.

1.7 Research Methodology

Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data. There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. The type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research. This will involve the making of oral interviews and collections of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings, published and unpublished articles.

1.9 Definition of terms

Multi party system: A multi-party system is a system where multiple political parties take part in national elections


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Reference(s):

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  • Methodology: Yes available


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