Home » Political Science » THE ROLE OF OPPOSITION PARTIES IN DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESSES IN CAMEROON: A CASE ...

THE ROLE OF OPPOSITION PARTIES IN DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESSES IN CAMEROON: A CASE STUDY OF CAMEROON RENAISSANCE MOVEMENT (CRM)

Sold By: | Item Type: Project Material | Report this?  |  Attributes: 54 pages | 1-5 chapters | Amount: ₦5,000 | Marked useful: 737 times

Delivery: Within 24 hours

THE ROLE OF OPPOSITION PARTIES IN DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESSES IN CAMEROON: A CASE STUDY OF CAMEROON RENAISSANCE MOVEMENT (CRM)

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

The behaviour of political parties is crucial in functioning democracies but arguably even more so in democratizing countries. While the behaviour of parties can also be made the object to explain, the consequences of significant decisions such as to boycott elections and refusal to accept electoral outcomes, is the focus here. As noted by Huntington (2021) many accounts of democratization in Africa from the early 1990s were infused with revived Afro-optimism at the outbreak of competitive elections in country after country on the continent. According to Canton (2019), political parties in democracies are necessary to train, select and recruit candidates for governmental and parliamentary positions; to formulate government policies and programmes; to gather and implement demands from a society; and to supervise and check a government. As Mathisen and Svasand (2020) pointed out political parties as complex organizations have multiple levels (i.e. national, regional, and local) and multiple units (i.e. central party, youth and women branches etc.. Political parties promote vital competition on policy and ideological alternatives, and play essential roles in a representative democracy. They also give channels for citizen’s participation in government decision-making processes and are significant conduits and interpreters of information about a government .

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.

Without political opposition, there is no choice and when there is no choice the people cannot exercise their right to rule (Dahl 1971, 1989). Yet, elections during transitions may be flawed, irregular, orchestrated, or dominated by the incumbent party to the extent of making the outcome a foregone conclusion; old authoritarian rulers may participate and violence may mar the electoral campaign to an extent; electoral rules may be devised to disfavour the opposition’s chances of winning; elections may even be more or less free and fair while periods between them are characterized by denial of political rights and civil liberties with autocratic behaviour on the part of the incumbent regime, and so on. To understand processes of democratic transition better, it is therefore important to study the effects of various opposition strategies in such contexts.

Statement of Problem

Since the quest for political pluralism comes down to the installation of multipartyism, opposition parties are expected to be distinct from and autonomous of the ruling party (Olukoshi 1998:19). Some opposition parties in Cameroon on the other hand believed that the real problem confronting political change went beyond Biya the person (liberation theology) to a complete cleansing of the dictatorial system which Biya had come to incarnate. To them structured ideological philosophy hinged on constitutional reforms and the putting in place of vibrant democratic institutions. With no clear constitutional provision on the status of opposition parties in Cameroon (unlike a country like Mozambique where the Opposition is treated as a government in waiting), opposition parties in Cameroon have through various electoral processes given themselves a political identity.

While opposition parties exist, they face significant obstacles, including political repression, electoral irregularities, and restricted media access, which hinder their ability to effectively challenge the ruling party's hegemony (Takougang & Krieger, 2021). Moreover, opposition leaders and activists often encounter harassment, arrests, and legal persecution, further constraining their political activities and freedom of expression (Nkongho, 2020). Regardless of these challenges, opposition parties such as the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) have emerged as vocal critics of the government, advocating for political reforms, electoral transparency, and respect for human rights (Fonchingong, 2019). However, the fragmentation and internal divisions within the opposition, coupled with the state's repressive measures, pose significant challenges to the opposition's ability to mobilize popular support and effect meaningful political change in Cameroon (Taku, 2018).

Although studies abound on the presence of multiparty system in election in West Africa, little empirical evidence abound on the role of opposition parties in democratization processes in Cameroon: a case study of Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM)

Objectives of the study

The broad objective of the study is focused on the role of opposition parties in democratization processes in Cameroon: a case study of Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM). Specifically, the study seeks:

To analyze the strategies employed by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) in challenging the dominance of the ruling party and advocating for democratic reforms in Cameroon

To assess the impact of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) on civic engagement and mobilization 

To examine the challenges and opportunities faced by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) in promoting democratic governance

Research Question

What   the strategies employed by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) in challenging the dominance of the ruling party and advocating for democratic reforms in Cameroon?

What is the impact of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) on civic engagement and mobilization?

What are the challenges and opportunities faced by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) in promoting democratic governance?

Research Hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant role of opposition parties in democratization processes in Cameroon: a case study of Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM)

Hi: There is significant role of opposition parties in democratization processes in Cameroon: a case study of Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM)

Significance of the Study

The practical significance of the study offers valuable insights and implications for policymakers, civil society organizations, and international actors involved in promoting democracy and good governance in Cameroon. By understanding the challenges and opportunities facing opposition parties like the CRM in their efforts to drive political change, policymakers and practitioners can develop more effective strategies and interventions to support democratization efforts. This includes initiatives to strengthen civil society, promote electoral integrity, and foster dialogue and cooperation among political actors, with the aim of building more inclusive, accountable, and democratic political systems in Cameroon.

Theoretically, the significance of this study lies in its contribution to the broader understanding of democratization processes, particularly within the context of opposition politics in authoritarian regimes. By examining the role of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) as a case study, the research adds to theoretical debates on the dynamics of political change, grassroots mobilization, and civil society activism in non-democratic contexts. The findings of the study can inform theoretical frameworks and models for understanding the conditions, strategies, and outcomes of opposition politics, offering insights into the complexities of democratization processes in diverse political contexts. Empirically, the study added to the body of knowledge and serve as a reference material for scholars and student who wants to conduct studies in related field.

1.7Scope of the Study

The content scope of the study involves a comprehensive examination of various aspects related to the role of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) in democratization processes. This includes analyzing the CRM's strategies, organizational structure, leadership dynamics, communication methods, and engagement with civil society, media, and international actors. Additionally, the study will assess the CRM's impact on political pluralism, civic engagement, and grassroots mobilization, as well as examine the challenges and opportunities faced by the CRM in promoting democratic governance and challenging authoritarian practices. 

The geographical scope of the study focuses primarily on Cameroon, with particular emphasis on regions where the CRM is active and influential. This includes urban centers such as Yaoundé and Douala, as well as regions in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest where political tensions and opposition activities are pronounced.

Limitation 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 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

Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM): The Cameroon Renaissance Movement is a political opposition party in Cameroon founded by Maurice Kamto in 2012. The CRM advocates for political reforms, democratic governance, and respect for human rights within the country. It has emerged as a prominent voice challenging the dominance of the ruling party, particularly in advocating for electoral transparency and political pluralism.

Democratization Processes: Democratization processes refer to the transition from authoritarian or semi-authoritarian rule to democratic governance within a country. These processes involve a series of political, social, and institutional changes aimed at promoting democratic principles, such as free and fair elections, political pluralism, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

Political Opposition: Political opposition refers to individuals, groups, or parties that oppose or critique the policies, actions, or leadership of the ruling government. Opposition parties play a crucial role in democratic systems by providing alternative policies, representing diverse interests, and holding the government accountable through checks and balances mechanisms.


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: