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ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DECENTRALIZATION IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE IN CAMEROON

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ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DECENTRALIZATION IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE:

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Decentralisation, which involves the movement of governmental power, resources, and people from the national level to sub-national jurisdictions, has been a common occurrence in African nations since gaining independence. The concept of decentralisation has become more important as a stated objective or as an actual programmatic pursuit in response to two significant developments that have impacted the African state over the last thirty years (Cheka, 2017). The implementation of aggressive structural adjustment programmes in the 1980s aimed at reforming the public sector, together with the continuous shift towards more democratic and competitive politics, continue to play a crucial role in the decentralisation process in Africa. Indeed, several African nations have local administrative institutions in place, but these structures are often subservient to the central state in terms of their legal establishment, authority, and functioning, particularly under the executive branch (Chia, 2020). Similar to other emerging nations, the introduction of political and economic liberalisation has created opportunities or rekindled demands for more decentralisation. Cameroon, like to other African nations, is now undergoing the process of decentralising important responsibilities that were formerly carried out by the central administration, and transferring them to local governments. This aligns with the provisions of the 1996 Constitution, which restructured the country into a "decentralised unitary state" consisting of a central government and many independent sub-national administrations. Extensive literature exists about the decentralisation trend in Cameroon (Yombi & Lucie, 2019).

The legal foundation for decentralisation in Cameroon comprises the Constitution, the Local Government Code, and other associated legislation. These legal documents delineate the functions, obligations, and authority of municipal government. The government implemented a system of institutional arrangements that included regional councils, departmental and municipal councils, and traditional councils (Yumo, 2016). These institutions were designed to fulfil vital functions in the administration of local affairs, the process of making decisions, and the formulation of plans for development. Therefore, the study will analyze the effectiveness of decentralization in local governance in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Decentralisation, which refers to the delegation of governmental power, resources, and people from the national level to lower-level jurisdictions, has been a recurring trend in African nations since gaining independence. Nevertheless, decentralisation in local government has several problems that may impede its efficacy. One such issue is the frequent shortage of financial resources among local authorities, which hampers their capacity to execute development projects and provide vital services (Yumo, 2016). Furthermore, local councils may have difficulties in regards to their human and technological capabilities, which restrict their capability to efficiently strategize and oversee local matters (Chofor-Che & ChristianAime, 2019). Furthermore, there have been occurrences of political intervention by the central government, which has impacted the self-governance and freedom of local authorities. Critics contend that the process of decentralisation has not always led to fair and balanced growth, since some areas have gained more advantages than others. Hence, the need to analyze the effectiveness of decentralization in local governance in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study will analyze the effectiveness of decentralization in local governance in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

i.          Assess the extent to which decentralization has empowered local authorities.

ii.        Evaluate the impact of decentralization on local development and service delivery.

iii.      Examine the challenges and constraints faced by local councils in implementing decentralization.

iv.      Analyze the level of citizen participation and engagement in local governance.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

i.          What is the extent to which decentralization has empowered local authorities?

ii.        What is the impact of decentralization on local development and service delivery?

iii.      What is the challenges and constraints faced by local councils in implementing decentralization?

iv.      What is the level of citizen participation and engagement in local governance?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to Cameroonian local government authority as decentralization can lead to increased trust among participants. In centralized systems, there is a reliance on a single entity to act fairly. In decentralized systems, trust is distributed across multiple entities or participants, reducing the risk of abuse of power.

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

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on the effectiveness of decentralization in local governance in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will assess the extent to which decentralization has empowered local authorities, evaluate the impact of decentralization on local development and service delivery, examine the challenges and constraints faced by local councils in implementing decentralization and analyze the level of citizen participation and engagement in local governance.

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

Decentralization: Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group and given to smaller factions within it.

Local governance: an authority that decides or. determines certain measures within a given territory


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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