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A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION ON PATTERNS AND REPERCUSSIONS OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN POLITICAL SPHERE OF CAMEROON

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A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION ON PATTERNS AND REPERCUSSIONS OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN POLITICAL SPHERE OF CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Electoral violence poses a substantial obstacle to democratic procedures, often eroding the fundamental tenets of unfettered and equitable electoral processes. In the specific setting of Cameroon, a nation characterised by political instability and intricate social dynamics, the occurrence of election violence has gained significant prominence in recent times. The objective of this research is to thoroughly examine the strategies and consequences of electoral violence in the political domain of Cameroon (Collier & Vicente, 2015). 

Cameroon, situated in the region of Central Africa, has a notable ethnic makeup, linguistic variety, and a historical trajectory characterised by periods of colonialism and subsequent post-colonial challenges. Cameroon has seen many political changes since achieving independence from France and the United Kingdom in the 1960s. These changes include the creation of a unitary state in 1972 and the implementation of a multi-party system in the early 1990s (Krieger, 2017). Nevertheless, Cameroon has had difficulties pertaining to political stability, governance, and the safeguarding of human rights, notwithstanding these political changes. The allegations of authoritarianism, corruption, and election irregularities have arisen as a result of the prevailing influence of the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM), under the leadership of President Paul Biya since 1982. Electoral violence in Cameroon displays several patterns that occur before, during, and after elections (Ndang & Njoya, 2019). Prior to elections, instances of violence often include acts of intimidation, harassment, and physical assaults directed at political adversaries, activists, and voters. Instances of ballot box stuffing, voter suppression, and fights between opposing supporters are common occurrences throughout the electoral phase, which have a detrimental impact on the integrity and fairness of elections. According to Ndang and Njoya (2019), post-electoral violence refers to the occurrence of demonstrations, riots, and retaliatory acts that follow after disputed election results. This phenomenon serves to intensify social discontent and political instability. 

The occurrence of election violence in Cameroon may be attributed to a range of variables, including political polarisation, ethnic tensions, socio-economic inequities, poor institutional frameworks, and historical grievances. The use of ethnicity as a tool by political elites to garner support and strengthen authority intensifies disputes rooted in identity, hence increasing the likelihood of violence in election procedures (Ndang & Njoya, 2019). Moreover, the inequitable allocation of resources and opportunity intensifies rivalry and intensifies conflicts among political groups, increasing the probability of violence as a method of exercising authority and sway. 

Electoral violence has many and extensive consequences, including political, social, and economic aspects. From a political standpoint, the occurrence of electoral violence has detrimental effects on the credibility of election results, diminishes public confidence in democratic institutions, and hinders the smooth transition of power, thereby damaging the process of democracy. According to Nkwi (2016), election violence has a detrimental impact on social dynamics by intensifying intercommunal tensions, promoting distrust and division among individuals, and eroding social cohesiveness. Consequently, this perpetuates a cycle of violence and instability. Furthermore, election violence has significant economic ramifications, such as the interruption of economic activity, erosion of investor confidence, and enduring harm to the country's chances for progress. 

Although previous studies have examined different facets of electoral violence in Cameroon, there is still a significant knowledge vacuum about the intricate patterns and consequences of this issue inside the nation's political domain. Prior research has often concentrated on individual occurrences or broad examinations, neglecting the complex processes and specific expressions of electoral violence (Nkwi, 2016). Hence, it is imperative to conduct a thorough and all-encompassing inquiry that explores the fundamental causes, expressions, and consequences of electoral violence in Cameroon. This examination will provide significant perspectives for policymakers, civil society participants, and foreign stakeholders. Therefore, the study investigate the patterns and repercussions of electoral violence in political sphere of Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Electoral violence poses a significant threat to democratic processes, stability, and socio-political development in nations worldwide. In the context of Cameroon, the issue of electoral violence has garnered increasing attention due to its potential to undermine the legitimacy of elections, exacerbate social tensions, and impede progress towards democratic consolidation (Okonkwo & Okonkwo, 2015). Despite sporadic efforts to address this phenomenon, electoral violence continues to persist, manifesting in various forms and with diverse repercussions across the political landscape of the country.

The problem at hand necessitates a comprehensive examination of the patterns and repercussions of electoral violence within the political sphere of Cameroon. This critical investigation aims to elucidate the underlying factors contributing to electoral violence, analyze its manifestations during electoral processes, and evaluate the multifaceted repercussions it engenders for the political system, society, and the democratic fabric of Cameroon (Okonkwo & Okonkwo, 2015). The problem of electoral violence in the political sphere of Cameroon represents a critical challenge that demands urgent attention and concerted efforts from various stakeholders. By conducting a thorough investigation into the patterns and repercussions of electoral violence, this research aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the underlying dynamics driving this phenomenon and to inform evidence-based strategies for promoting peaceful, inclusive, and democratic electoral processes in Cameroon. Hence, the study investigate patterns and repercussions of electoral violence in political sphere of Cameroon. 

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate patterns and repercussions of electoral violence in political sphere of Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

Examine the level of electoral violence in Cameroon

Identify the  patterns of electoral violence in Cameroon political sphere 

Evaluate the precausion of electoral violence on governance in Cameroon

Propose strategies and interventions to mitigate electoral violence and promote peaceful electoral processes in Cameroon

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study

What is  the level of electoral violence in Cameroon?

What is the  patterns of electoral violence in Cameroon political sphere?

What are the precautions of electoral violence on governance in Cameroon?

What are the proposed strategies and interventions to mitigate electoral violence and promote peaceful electoral processes in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The study will be significant to the following

Informing Policymakers: By comprehensively analyzing electoral violence patterns and repercussions, the study can provide valuable insights for policymakers in Cameroon to develop evidence-based policies and strategies aimed at preventing and mitigating electoral violence. This can contribute to fostering a more peaceful and inclusive electoral process, enhancing democratic governance, and promoting political stability in the country.

Cameroon Electoral body: Understanding the underlying causes and dynamics of electoral violence can help electoral bodies in Cameroon identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses within the electoral system. By addressing these issues, electoral authorities can implement reforms and measures to enhance the integrity, transparency, and fairness of elections, thereby bolstering public trust in the electoral process.

Human Rights organizations: Electoral violence often undermines fundamental human rights, including the rights to life, freedom of expression, and political participation. By raising awareness about the human rights implications of electoral violence, the study can advocate for the protection of these rights and the upholding of democratic principles, thereby promoting a more inclusive and accountable political environment.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on investigate patterns and repercussions of electoral violence in political sphere of Cameroon. Empirically, the study will examine the level of electoral violence in Cameroon, identify the patterns of electoral violence in Cameroon political sphere, evaluate the precaution of electoral violence on governance in Cameroon and propose strategies and interventions to mitigate electoral violence and promote peaceful electoral processes 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

Repercussions: "Repercussions" denote the consequences, effects, or impacts of electoral violence on various aspects of Cameroonian society, including political stability, governance, socio-economic development, public trust in institutions, human rights, and security.

Electoral Violence: Electoral violence encompasses any form of violent or coercive behavior, including intimidation, harassment, physical assaults, vandalism, or other acts of violence, perpetrated during electoral processes such as elections, campaigns, rallies, or other political activities. This violence may target candidates, voters, electoral officials, political parties, or other stakeholders involved in the electoral process.

Political Sphere: The "political sphere" refers to the domain encompassing all political actors, institutions, processes, and activities within Cameroon. This includes political parties, government institutions, electoral bodies, civil society organizations, media, and citizens engaged in political discourse, decision-making, and governance.


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