Home » Political Science » EVALUATION INTO THE CHALLENGES OF OPPOSITION MOBILIZATION IN CAMEROON: A CASE ST...

EVALUATION INTO THE CHALLENGES OF OPPOSITION MOBILIZATION IN CAMEROON: A CASE STUDY OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT (SDF)

Sold By: | Item Type: Project Material | Report this?  |  Attributes: 54 pages | 1-5 chapters | Amount: ₦5,000 | Marked useful: 246 times

Delivery: Within 24 hours

EVALUATION INTO THE CHALLENGES OF OPPOSITION MOBILIZATION IN CAMEROON: A CASE STUDY OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT (SDF)

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Opposition parties in Africa have extends beyond mere political competition to become a foundational to the functioning of democratic systems and the protection of civil liberties. Opposition parties serve as a vital check on the power of incumbent governments, holding them accountable for their actions and policies. By scrutinizing government decisions and offering alternative perspectives, opposition parties contribute to the pluralism and diversity of political discourse, ensuring that a range of viewpoints are represented in the public sphere. According Gyimah-Boadi (2018), this role is particularly crucial in contexts where ruling parties have historically monopolized power, as it fosters a culture of transparency and accountability. According to Uloma (2020) opposition parties play a crucial role in representing the interests of marginalized groups and advocating for social justice and equality. In many African countries, opposition parties have been at the forefront of movements for democratic reform, human rights, and the rule of law. By amplifying the voices of marginalized communities and challenging discriminatory practices, opposition parties contribute to the advancement of inclusive governance and the protection of fundamental rights (Bratton & Van de Walle, 1997). Their ability to articulate the grievances of disenfranchised populations often makes them catalysts for social change and progress.

Conversely, opposition parties as partisan political institutions that are intentionally designed to temper the ruling party’s excesses while still pursuing both legislative and presidential offices. According to Nduyeni (2020) Opposition parties are also defined as minority parties that do not wield executive power, but act as a check on governments. In democratic countries, opposition parties are free to criticize the ruling party and the government, and they are entrusted with offering policy alternatives. Opposition parties are also expected to recognize and respect the authority of the elected government . Dolo (2023) argues that “an authentic democracy is one where the ruling party has an effective opposition.” For Schmitz (2018) genuine political opposition is a necessary attribute of democracy, tolerance, and trust in the ability of citizens to resolve differences by peaceful means. The existence of an opposition, without which politics ceases and administration takes over, is indispensable to the functioning of parliamentary political systems.

Following independence and reunification in 1961, Cameroon moved quickly towards the establishment of a one-party state and the concentration of power in the president that was justified by the ruling regime in terms of essential prerequisites for national unity and development.5 This political system remained largely intact until 1990 when widespread popular discontent emerged with the deepening economic and political crisis, all the more marked because Cameroon had been one of the most prosperous and most stable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa until then. Fonteh, (2019) assert that the majority of the population held the corrupt, authoritarian Biya government responsible for the unprecedented economic crisis, resulting in the loss of its legitimacy. General discontent was fuelled by the increasing monopolisation of political and economic wer by the Beti, President Biya’s own ethnic group. This signified a striking departure from the policy of his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo (1961–82) who had attempted to achieve ‘ethnic balancing’ by co-opting representatives of the various ethnic groups into a hegemonic alliance.6 In addition, with the move towards democratization in Eastern Europe, Cameroonians, like Africans elsewhere on the continent, began to demand political reforms including the introduction of a multi-party system, rule of law, and freedom of association and of the press.

Undoubtedly, the re-introduction of multiparty politics in the 1990s following the ‘wind of change’ from Eastern Europe unleashed a venomous spate of conflicts which took on serious ethnic, regional and socio-economic and political dimensions in some African countries(Kah,2018). In many African Countries South of the Sahara, the leaders were reluctant to embrace multi-party politics when it was re-introduced in the 1990s.  According to Bayart (2009:20), in Cameroon for instance, President Paul Biya reluctantly embraced multi-party politics only after much pressure at home and from the international community. The town of Bamenda played a momentous role in the struggle for political liberalisation in the 1990s. Bamenda was regularly subjected to political violence and insecurity especially during periods of electoral consultations (Nyinchiah, 2016:42) largely because it was the fief of the main Opposition Party, the SDF. This violence seriously affected some young people in and around Bamenda (who actively took part in the political manoeuvres of the 1990s) but they chose to seize different opportunities to survive (Nyinchiah, 2016: 74) rather than resign to fate. Regardless, opposition parties in Cameroon persist in their efforts to mobilize support and challenge the dominance of the ruling party. They employ a range of tactics, including grassroots organizing, civil disobedience, and international advocacy, to advance their agenda and push for democratic reform (Ako, 2017). As Mamdani (2018) argues, mobilization from the ground up not only strengthens the legitimacy of opposition movements but also fosters a sense of ownership and participation among ordinary citizens. However, the road ahead remains fraught with obstacles, and the struggle for political pluralism and accountability in Cameroon continues to be a daunting endeavor.

Statement of Problem

In many African nations, opposition parties face significant obstacles in their efforts to mobilize support and challenge incumbent regimes. These challenges range from limited access to resources and media censorship to state repression and electoral irregularities. As scholars such as Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2018) highlight, the legacy of colonialism and post-colonial authoritarianism has deeply entrenched power structures that often marginalize opposition voices. In Cameroon, opposition parties face a complex political landscape marked by challenges to their mobilization efforts. The country has been dominated by the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) since its independence in 1960, resulting in limited political space for opposition parties (Mukong, 2019). 

Notably, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) in Cameroon has been one of the most prominent opposition parties in the country since its formation in 1990. Led by Ni John Fru Ndi, the SDF emerged in response to growing discontent with the autocratic rule of President Paul Biya and the dominance of the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM). The party's founding principles centered on promoting democracy, respect for human rights, and decentralization of power. The SDF initially gained widespread support, particularly in Anglophone regions, where grievances over political and economic marginalization were acute. The party's platform resonated with many Cameroonians who sought an alternative to the entrenched ruling party (Kah, 2001). In the 1992 multiparty elections, the SDF emerged as the main opposition force, winning a significant number of seats in the National Assembly and local councils.

However, the SDF has faced numerous challenges in its quest to challenge the dominance of the ruling party. Allegations of electoral fraud, intimidation, and violence have marred successive elections, undermining the party's electoral prospects and eroding public confidence in the political process (Gebeyehu, 2020). Moreover, internal divisions and leadership disputes have weakened the SDF's cohesion and effectiveness as an opposition force. The entrenched power of the ruling party, coupled with allegations of electoral fraud and repression, presents formidable obstacles to the effective functioning of opposition forces. Ndang, (2018) mentioned that one significant challenge for opposition parties in Cameroon is the uneven playing field during elections. Despite constitutional provisions for multi-party democracy, opposition parties often contend with electoral irregularities, including voter intimidation, ballot stuffing, and manipulation of electoral institutions. These tactics undermine the credibility of elections and diminish public trust in the democratic process, making it difficult for opposition parties to garner support and compete on equal footing with the ruling party. Furthermore, Human Rights Watch, (2020) assert that opposition parties in Cameroon face repression and harassment from state authorities, which further hampers their mobilization efforts ass there has been have documented instances of arbitrary arrests, censorship, and violent crackdowns on opposition figures and their supporters The government's use of legal and extralegal means to suppress dissent stifles political dissent and discourages participation in opposition movements.

Although studies abound on the role of opposition party in African democracies, there is dearth of recent empirical literature on challenges facing opposition parties in their mobilization for sustainable democracy. Against this backdrop, the study seeks to conduct  an evaluation into the challenges of  Opposition Mobilization in Cameroon: A case study of Social Democratic Front (SDF)

Objectives of the study

The broad objectives of the study is focused on evaluation into the challenges of  opposition mobilization in Cameroon: A case study of Social Democratic Front (SDF). Specifically, the study will 

Assess the extent of political space available for opposition mobilization in Cameroon

Analyze the strategies employed used by Social Democratic Front (SDF) in for democratic reforms in Cameroon

To examine the challenges faced by Social Democratic Front (SDF) in their grassroots mobilization efforts.

Research Question

What is the extent of political space available for opposition mobilization in Cameroon?

What are the strategies employed used by Social Democratic Front (SDF)  for democratic reforms in Cameroon?

What are the challenges faced by Social Democratic Front (SDF) in their grassroots mobilization efforts?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho: There is are significant challenges encountered Social Democratic Front (SDF) in their grassroots mobilization efforts?

Ha: There is are significant challenges encountered Social Democratic Front (SDF) in their grassroots mobilization efforts?

1.6 Significance of the Study

The practical significance of the study lies in its potential to inform policymakers, civil society organizations, and international actors about the challenges facing opposition mobilization in Cameroon, particularly focusing on the case study of the Social Democratic Front (SDF). By identifying obstacles such as electoral fraud, intimidation, and state repression, the study can contribute to a better understanding of the factors inhibiting democratic pluralism and political competition in Cameroon. This knowledge can guide efforts to promote electoral reform, strengthen democratic institutions, and safeguard the rights of opposition parties and their supporters. Additionally, insights into the organizational capacity and grassroots outreach of the SDF can inform strategies for enhancing opposition mobilization and fostering political participation among marginalized communities.

The theoretical significance of the study lies in its contribution to broader debates within the fields of political science, democratization, and African studies. By examining the dynamics of opposition mobilization in a context characterized by authoritarianism and political repression, the study can advance theoretical frameworks for understanding the resilience of autocratic regimes and the strategies employed by opposition forces to challenge entrenched power structures. Moreover, insights into the role of external actors, socio-political dynamics, and institutional constraints can inform theoretical discussions about the conditions under which opposition parties thrive or falter in their quest for democratic reform. Overall, the study offers valuable empirical evidence and theoretical insights that can enrich scholarly understanding of political mobilization and democratization processes in Africa and beyond.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study is focused on evaluation into the challenges of opposition party mobilization in Cameroon. Empirically the study will assess the extent of political space available for opposition mobilization in Cameroon, analyze the strategies employed used  opposition political parties  for democratic reforms in Cameroon and  examine the challenges faced by opposition political parties in their grassroots mobilization efforts. Georaphically, the study cover Social Democratic Front (SDF) in Bamenda Cameroon.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

Like every academic endeavor, the study’s constraint will center around difficulties in accessing reliable data due to security risks and logistical challenges in conflict-affected regions thus only limited sample will be used for the study dependent on accessibility and availability of participant. This implies that findings of the study will not serve as a basis for generalization outside the region of Bamenda Cameroon under study. More so, another constrain is in potential scarcity of comprehensive and up-to-date data sources, language and cultural barriers impacting communication with local communities, political sensitivities that may result in pressure or restrictions from authorities, and temporal limitations that might overlook historical context or recent developments. Despite these limitations, the researcher will carefully maintain ethical consideration which are essential for ensuring the study's integrity and providing valuable insights on the study.

Definition of Terms

Political Parties: Political parties are organized groups of individuals with shared political ideologies, goals, and interests who seek to influence government policies and gain control of government offices through electoral processes. These parties serve as essential components of democratic systems, providing a mechanism for political representation, citizen participation, and governance.

Opposition Party: An opposition party refers to a political organization that operates outside of the ruling government and offers alternative policies, viewpoints, and leadership to those in power. Opposition parties typically compete in elections against the incumbent government, aiming to win seats in legislative bodies or even to form the government themselves in the event of electoral success.

Mobilization: Mobilization refers to the process of organizing and rallying individuals or groups to participate in collective action, such as political campaigns, protests, or social movements. In the context of opposition parties, mobilization involves efforts to garner support from the electorate, recruit members, raise funds, and coordinate activities to advance their political objectives.


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



Delivery: Within 24 hours

  • Reference(s):

    Yes available

  • Methodology: Yes available


Advertise Here

For advertisement, call 08168958821

Not what you were looking for? Perform a search

What's your project topic?


Comment on Facebook: