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AN ASSESSMENT OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP CRISIS AS A BANE TO THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CAMEROON

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AN ASSESSMENT OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP CRISIS AS A BANE TO THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Cameroon is a nation that is rich in natural resources, cultural variety, and historical importance. It is located in the African region known as Central Africa. Cameroon has been navigating a complicated socio-political environment ever since it gained its independence from colonial domination in 1960. This terrain is characterised by a significant number of different ethnic groups, language divides, and regional imbalances. Cameroon has been confronted with ongoing issues in governance, political leadership, and nation-building, which have impeded its progress towards reaching sustainable development objectives (ADB, 2021). This is despite the fact that Cameroon has an immense capacity for economic growth and development. Cameroon's growth trajectory is being plagued by a number of challenges, one of the most significant of which being the ongoing crisis in political leadership. According to Freedom House's research from 2020, the nation has been subjected to periods of authoritarian leadership, defective election procedures, and a consolidation of power in the hands of a small number of political elites over the course of several many decades. This centralised governance system has often resulted in governance inefficiencies, a lack of accountability, and rampant corruption, which has undermined public faith in state institutions and impeded measures to promote equitable development. Following the colonial history of Cameroon, which was characterised by periods of German and French colonisation, a legacy of ethnic and linguistic differences has been left behind, which continue to have an impact on the dynamics of the political system. conflicts have arisen between Anglophone and Francophone areas as a result of the construction of artificial boundaries during the colonial period. These conflicts have exacerbated sentiments of marginalisation and fostered separatist movements, particularly in the Anglophone portions of the nation. The governing systems of Cameroon have been plagued by a lack of openness and accountability, as well as weak institutional capability and bureaucratic inefficiency (International Crisis Group, 2021). According to Transparency International's research from 2020, the concentration of power in the hands of a small number of political elites has often resulted in the suppression of democratic participation, the marginalisation of opposing voices, and the perpetuation of a culture of patronage and clientelism. In spite of the abundance of natural resources that Cameroon has, such as oil, gas, and agricultural goods, the country has had a difficult time transforming these riches into economic growth that is inclusive. Continued poverty, high unemployment rates, and income disparities have all contributed to the escalation of political tensions and the fueling of social unrest, especially among populations who are marginalised economically. The complicated social dynamics and identity politics in Cameroon may be attributed, in part, to the country's broad ethnic makeup, which includes more than 200 different ethnic groups. The political environment has become even more unstable, and attempts to achieve national unity and cohesion have been undermined as a result of the periodic outbreak of violence that has resulted from tensions between various ethnic and linguistic groups (Transparency International, 2020). 

Due to Cameroon's geographical centrality within the Central African area, it has drawn both regional and international interests. This has resulted in geopolitical rivalry and foreign interventions, which have occasionally made internal conflicts and political instability even worse. In light of this, it is of the utmost importance to get a knowledge of the fundamental factors and processes that have led to the political leadership crisis in Cameroon. This is necessary in order to design effective policies that will address the issues of governance, encourage inclusive development, and promote peace and stability. The purpose of this study is to generate evidence-based insights and policy recommendations that contribute to the promotion of accountable governance, democratic consolidation, and sustainable development in Cameroon (UNDP, 2018). This will be accomplished by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the political leadership crisis and its implications for national development. The purpose of this project is to provide a comprehensive knowledge of the complexity underlying the current leadership crisis in Cameroon and to provide avenues towards positive change. This will be accomplished via the use of multidisciplinary techniques that combine political, economic, social, and historical views.

The political leadership crisis in Cameroon is a complex problem that overlaps with wider themes of governance, democracy, socio-economic development, and identity politics. It is a dilemma that has many facets. A comprehensive strategy that addresses the underlying causes of this crisis while simultaneously strengthening inclusive governance, societal cohesion, and participatory decision-making processes is required in order to effectively address this problem. The purpose of this research is to contribute to academic debates, policy discussions, and practical interventions that seek to encourage sustainable development and democratic governance in Cameroon and beyond. This will be accomplished by providing light on the intricacies of the problem at hand.

1.2 Statement of the problem

There is a big obstacle in the way of Cameroon's development efforts in a variety of fields, and that obstacle is the political leadership crisis that the country is experiencing. Cameroon has been plagued by persistent governance challenges, such as corruption, power struggles, and a lack of accountability, which undermine effective leadership and hinder socioeconomic progress (Transparency International, 2020; World Bank, 2019). This is despite the fact that Cameroon possesses a rich resource endowment and has the potential for growth. The lack of consistent and visionary leadership has led to policy inconsistencies, inadequate institutional capacity, and low public confidence, which has contributed to the worsening of existing disparities and the stifling of measures for inclusive development (African Development Bank, 2021; Freedom House, 2020). Moreover, the recurring cycle of political instability and unrest further exacerbates the fragility of Cameroon's democratic institutions, threatening social cohesion and undermining the prospects for sustainable development (International Crisis Group, 2021; United Nations Development Programme, 2018). 

This study is to provide an in-depth analysis of the political leadership problem in Cameroon as a hindrance to the country's overall growth. Specifically, the research will investigate the crisis's underlying origins, manifestations, and ramifications across many critical sectors. The purpose of this research is to shed light on the many different aspects of this crisis in order to drive evidence-based interventions and policy changes that would promote effective governance, build responsible leadership, and provide a catalyst for inclusive growth in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to assess  political leadership crisis as a bane to the national development of Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

Analyze the prevalence of political leadership crisis in Cameroon

Examine the factors responsible for political leadership crisis in Cameroon

Assess the effect of political leadership crisis on the national development of Cameroon.

Propose strategies aimed at mitigating political leadership crises in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to further guide the study

What is the prevalence of political leadership crisis in Cameroon?

What are the factors responsible for political leadership crisis in Cameroon?

What is the effect of political leadership crisis on the national development of Cameroon?

What are the propose strategies aimed at mitigating political leadership crises in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

Policymakers: Findings from the study can inform policymakers about the specific challenges and deficiencies in political leadership that hinder national development efforts. This knowledge can guide the formulation and implementation of policies aimed at addressing governance issues, promoting transparency, accountability, and fostering inclusive leadership practices.

Academic Research: The study contributes to academic scholarship by adding to the body of knowledge on political leadership, governance, and development in Cameroon. It provides a basis for further research, analysis, and debate on related topics, fostering intellectual discourse and advancing understanding in the field.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on  political leadership crisis as a bane to the national development of Cameroon. Empirically, the study will analyze the prevalence of political leadership crisis in Cameroon, examine the factors responsible for political leadership crisis in Cameroon , assess the effect of political leadership crisis on the national development of Cameroon and propose strategies aimed at mitigating political leadership crises in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitation 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: Political leadership refers to the individuals or groups within a political system who hold positions of authority and responsibility for making decisions, formulating policies, and guiding the direction of a nation or political entity. It encompasses elected officials, government executives, party leaders, and other influential figures involved in shaping political processes and governance.

Crisis: A crisis denotes a critical or unstable situation characterized by a breakdown of normal functioning, often involving challenges or threats that demand urgent attention and response. In the context of political leadership, a crisis may manifest as a period of instability, conflict, or governance failure that undermines the legitimacy and effectiveness of the leadership structure.

National Development: National development refers to the process of enhancing the economic, social, political, and environmental well-being of a country's population. It involves efforts to improve living standards, reduce poverty, promote sustainable development, and achieve equitable distribution of resources and opportunities across various sectors of society.

Bane: In this context, "bane" signifies a cause of persistent harm, detriment, or obstacle that impedes progress or prosperity. It suggests that the political leadership crisis has a detrimental impact on the national development of Cameroon, hindering the country's ability to achieve its developmental goals and aspirations.


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



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