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AN INVESTIGATION OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE IN CAMEROON: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

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AN INVESTIGATION OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE IN CAMEROON: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

The primary cause for the poor condition of governance and development in Africa is the lack of effective leadership. The shortfall may be attributed to the harmful perception of politics as a high-stakes game, where leaders compete fiercely for the power to distribute resources, resulting in a winner-takes-all mentality that neglects the welfare of the general population (Adeniyi-Neil, 2015). In contrast to the situation in most industrialised countries, where politics is seen as the legitimate distribution of values used to promote public welfare and safeguard the lives and property of citizens.  The elites' comprehension of politics has to be analysed within the framework of the malicious rivalry amongst regional elites, which was intentionally nurtured by the colonialists. Tension arose between educated elites and traditional elites due to conflicting notions and ideals of leadership entrenched in African culture and the contemporary principles of leadership imposed by the colonialists. Undoubtedly, it is in the midst of these conflicting circumstances that nationalist elites embraced strategies and methods, including deceitful ones, to enhance their competitive edge, while abandoning long-established conventional ideas about the conduct expected from a leader (Adigun, 2017).

Nevertheless, prior to colonial intervention, it was difficult to completely eliminate the possibility of having ineffective leaders. However, the prevailing form of leadership that was frequently praised in oral history, folklore, and other popular traditions was characterised by qualities such as selflessness, responsiveness, responsibility, and a genuine understanding and connection with the governed. The leadership qualities inherent in Ubuntu in Southern Africa, Omoluabi in West Africa, and Maat in Egypt prioritise qualities such as diligence, integrity, benevolence, and moral uprightness. These attributes align with principles of effective governance, accountable and adaptable leadership, and long-lasting progress (Akingba, 2017).

Culture has significantly influenced leadership and governance systems. However, African leaders have failed to address and give fair consideration to the diverse cultural orientations and differences within their regions during the political process and systems. This failure has led to numerous crises in the continent. The persistent display and repetition of ethnic chauvinism and inter-cultural conflict and confrontation has, over time, resulted from cultural competitiveness. The interaction of cultural conflicts among various cultural communities in African nations often leads to a chaotic and lawless environment, which poses a significant obstacle to government and development in Africa. African leaders must urgently establish a suitable framework for cultural dialogue, promote fairness and equality among cultures, and embrace shared values across different cultures in order to address the current challenges of leadership and governance in the continent (Liedong, 2017).

Cameroon, situated in Central Africa, is a nation rich in cultural variety, natural resources, and historical importance. Nevertheless, despite its capacity for expansion and advancement, Cameroon has encountered several obstacles in the domain of political leadership and administration. The country's growth has been impeded by political instability, corruption, and poor administration, resulting in socioeconomic inequality and discontent among its population (Nkomo, 2017).

An examination of political leadership and governance in Cameroon is essential for comprehending the forces that influence the country's socio-political environment and for finding possible routes towards sustained growth and stability. This research seeks to enhance the existing information on governance in Cameroon by analysing the difficulties encountered by political leaders and institutions. It also attempts to identify potential areas for reform and improvement. The findings of this study may provide valuable insights to guide policy-making and advocacy initiatives. 

1.2 Statement of the problem

Cameroon, similar to many countries worldwide, has the crucial challenge of establishing proficient political leadership and administration to promote socio-economic progress, maintain peace, and safeguard democratic values (Northouse, 2018). Nevertheless, while striving for development, the country faces several obstacles that hinder the achievement of its whole capabilities. Hence, the objective of this study is to examine the intricate terrain of political leadership and governance in Cameroon, outlining the difficulties faced by its leaders and the potential for surmounting these barriers (Nyamnjoh, 2017). Cameroon is confronted with an ongoing problem of a shortage of effective leadership, which is marked by concerns such as corruption, nepotism, and a lack of political leaders' responsibility. This issue erodes public confidence in governmental institutions and impedes the efficiency of decision-making processes, therefore obstructing the progress of the country.

Cameroon still faces challenges with election integrity, human rights abuses, and restrictions on political liberties, while making progress towards democratisation. The presence of these shortcomings presents substantial barriers to the development of a strong democratic system and the achievement of inclusive government (Rogerson, 2018). The inequitable allocation of resources, restricted availability of essential services, and enduring poverty intensify social tensions and contribute to instability. Efficient political leadership and governance are crucial in tackling these socio-economic gaps and promoting comprehensive development for all people (Rotberg, 2016). The heterogeneous ethnic and geographical composition of Cameroon poses difficulties in attaining national unity and inclusive government. Political leaders must skillfully negotiate these differences in order to foster cohesion and guarantee fair distribution of resources and representation across the country. External players, such as international organisations and foreign countries, exert influence on Cameroon's political scene. Comprehending the mechanisms of foreign influences is essential for evaluating the independence of domestic political leadership and governance procedures (Tantoh & Simatele, 2018). This study aims to investigate alternative tactics and opportunities for improving political leadership and governance in Cameroon, considering the existing challenges. This research seeks to provide a valuable contribution to the progress of democratic government, social cohesion, and sustainable development in the country by offering practical proposals and emphasising exemplary methods.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate political leadership and governance in Cameroon: challenges and prospects. The specific objectives is as follows

To analyze the political leadership structures in Cameroon.

To assess the  impact of political leadership structures in Cameroon  on governance.

To identify the key challenges faced by political leaders in Cameroon in effectively governing the nation.

To explore potential strategies for enhancing political leadership in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What is  the political leadership structures in Cameroon?

What is  the  impact of political leadership structures in Cameroon  on governance?

What are the key challenges faced by political leaders in Cameroon in effectively governing the nation?

What are the potential strategies  for enhancing political leadership in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

By shedding light on the challenges faced in political leadership and governance, the study can help the Cameroon government foster a culture of accountability and transparency within the political system. This can lead to increased public trust and participation in the democratic process.

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

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on political leadership and governance in Cameroon: challenges and prospects. Empirically, the study will analyze the political leadership structures in Cameroon, assess the  impact of political leadership structures in Cameroon  on governance, identify the key challenges faced by political leaders in Cameroon in effectively governing the nation and explore potential strategies for enhancing political leadership in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitations of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Political leadership: a person who has political power in the government of a state, a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected office in government.

Governance:the act or process of governing or overseeing the control and direction of something. 


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



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