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AN EXAMINATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE POLITICAL ELITES AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT IN CAMEROON

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AN EXAMINATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE POLITICAL ELITES AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Political development is a complex phenomena that encompasses the progression of political institutions, processes, and behaviours within a given society. This process is impacted by a multitude of elements, among which the involvement of political elites has significance. The correlation between political elites and political evolution has been a topic of considerable academic investigation in many settings, given that elites often exert considerable control over the course and progression of political systems (Nguiffo, 2018). The comprehension of the interplay between political elites and political growth has significant relevance in the context of Cameroon, a nation located in Central Africa characterised by a multifaceted political history. The political terrain of Cameroon has been influenced by a range of historical, social, and economic elements, including colonialism, endeavours to establish a post-colonial state, ethnic heterogeneity, and regional inequalities. Cameroon has seen several kinds of government since achieving independence in 1960, including authoritarian control administered by President Ahmadou Ahidjo and his successor Paul Biya, who has been in office since 1982. The post-independence period in Cameroon has been marked by the prevalence of a singular political party, namely the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM), which has had significant influence on the country's political structures and processes (Tchakounte, 2015). The intricate and multidimensional nature of the interaction between political elites and political progress in Cameroon is evident. According to Chiluwa (2019), political elites, who include government officials, party leaders, military personnel, and significant corporate figures, have a pivotal position in the formulation of policies, allocation of resources, and establishment of power dynamics inside the state. The acts and choices made by individuals have substantial ramifications for the governance, consolidation of democracy, socio-economic progress, and stability of the nation.

There has been a scarcity of scholarly study on the political elites of Cameroon and their influence on political evolution, but it is becoming more pertinent. Various facets of elite behaviour, including as clientelism, patronage networks, corruption, and power conflicts within the governing party, have been examined in studies. Furthermore, scholarly examinations have concentrated on the correlation between privileged individuals and significant matters such as the establishment of democratic systems, protection of human rights, distribution of power, and settlement of conflicts (Kwankam, 2021). Nevertheless, there are still deficiencies in our understanding of the complex interplay between political elites and political progress in Cameroon. There are ongoing inquiries about the degree to which the conduct of the elite contributes to or impedes democratic government, socio-economic advancement, and political stability. Additionally, it is important to analyse the impact of external variables, such as international relations and global economic patterns, on the methods used by elites and the subsequent consequences for Cameroon's political trajectory. In order to fill these knowledge gaps, the present study seeks to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the correlation between political elites and political growth in Cameroon (Kwankam, 2021). This study aims to offer comprehensive insights into the roles, motivations, and impacts of political elites on the governance dynamics of the country by utilising a blend of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. These methodologies include elite interviews, content analysis of political discourse, and statistical modelling. The results are anticipated to provide a valuable contribution to academic conversations on political development in Africa. Additionally, they will provide practical insights for policymakers, civil society participants, and foreign stakeholders who are committed to advancing democratic governance and sustainable development in Cameroon..

1.2 Statement of the problem

In Cameroon, the political environment is characterised by an intricate interaction of power relations, in which political elites have substantial influence over the course of political progress. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of comprehensive understanding about the specific dynamics between political elites and political growth in Cameroon (Kwankam, 2021). Notwithstanding the nation's ambitions for democratic governance and socio-economic advancement, enduring obstacles like as corruption, institutional inefficiencies, and socio-political conflicts endure, prompting inquiries into the influence of political elites in moulding these results. The current body of scholarly work provides a restricted understanding of the intricate processes by which political elites exert influence or impede political progress in Cameroon. Although several studies have examined the conduct of the privileged and the hierarchical systems in place, there is still a lack of comprehension of the precise mechanisms via which they interact with political development processes, such as the establishment of democracy, the efficacy of government, and the involvement of citizens (Kwankam, 2021). Furthermore, the specific circumstances of Cameroon give rise to distinct difficulties and prospects, including its heterogeneous ethnic and linguistic makeup, historical inheritances, and regional inequalities. The aforementioned characteristics provide additional complexities to the examination of the correlation between political elites and political growth, necessitating a targeted investigation that takes into account the many aspects of power, interests, and incentives involved. Hence, the study  examine the relationship between the political elites and political development in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to  examine the relationship between the political elites and political development in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

Examine the extent at which political elites influences the political development of Cameroon

To assess the extent of influence wielded by political elites in shaping policies and their subsequent implementation in Cameroon.

To evaluate the impacts of political elites on the overall state of democratic governance and institutional stability in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to further guide the study

What is the extent at which political elites influences the political development of Cameroon?

What is  the extent of influence wielded by political elites in shaping policies and their subsequent implementation in Cameroon?

What is  the impacts of political elites on the overall state of democratic governance and institutional stability in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant in the following ways

Policymakers: The findings of this research can inform policy decisions aimed at fostering political development and democratic governance in Cameroon. By identifying the factors that either promote or inhibit political development, policymakers can devise targeted strategies to strengthen democratic institutions, enhance transparency, accountability, and promote inclusive governance practices.

Academic Contribution: This research fills a significant gap in the academic literature by focusing on the relationship between political elites and political development specifically within the context of Cameroon. By conducting a rigorous examination of this relationship, the study adds to the body of knowledge on political dynamics in African countries, particularly in the realm of governance and political processes.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on  the relationship between the political elites and political development in Cameroon.  Empirically, the study will examine the extent of political elites activities in the political development of Cameroon, assess the extent of influence wielded by political elites in shaping policies and their subsequent implementation in Cameroon and  evaluate the impacts of political elites on the overall state of democratic governance and institutional stability 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

Political Elites: Individuals or groups within a society who hold significant political power and influence, often occupying positions of authority within government institutions, political parties, or other influential organizations. Political elites may include elected officials, government bureaucrats, party leaders, business magnates, and other influential figures who shape political decision-making processes and outcomes.

Political Development: The process through which political institutions, systems, and practices evolve within a society, typically towards greater democratization, governance effectiveness, and political stability. Political development encompasses various aspects, including the establishment of democratic norms, the rule of law, political participation, transparency, accountability, and the protection of human rights.


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