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AN INVESTIGATION INTO PARTY POLITICS AND ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO PARTY POLITICS AND ELECTORAL VIOLENCE IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Party politics plays a crucial role in the political process in Cameroon, as it does in several nations worldwide. Nevertheless, the dynamic relationship between party politics and election violence has attracted much scholarly interest in recent times. The republic's democratic integrity is significantly jeopardised by electoral violence, which encompasses many forms of misconduct including intimidation, harassment, physical attacks, and even loss of life (Cheeseman, Lynch & Willis, 2019). election violence not only undermines the core tenets of democracy but also erodes public confidence in the election process, eventually impeding the socio-political stability and progress of the nation. Cameroon, a country characterised by its diversity and a historical backdrop of political tensions, has seen occurrences of electoral violence in numerous manifestations during previous electoral cycles. Frequently, these occurrences emerge as a result of fierce rivalry among political factions striving for authority, with fundamental social, economic, and ethnic elements (Magalhúes & Machado, 2018). The ramifications of electoral violence transcend the electoral temporal sphere, exerting influence on community unity, economic equilibrium, and the general welfare of individuals. Notwithstanding the endeavours made by the government and electoral entities to tackle electoral violence, obstacles persist, underscoring the need for a more profound understanding of its fundamental origins, mechanisms, and possible remedies. This statement highlights the significance of doing empirical research in order to thoroughly examine the relationship between party politics and election violence in Cameroon (Carothers and Richard, 2017). 

The present study aims to investigate the several complex elements that contribute to election violence in Cameroon. These elements include political polarisation, socio-economic inequities, ethnic tensions, and institutional inadequacies. Through the identification of these elements, policymakers are able to develop specific initiatives aimed at reducing the likelihood of violence occurring during election processes. According to Anyanwu and Kehinde (2019), political parties have a significant impact on the election environment and exert influence over voter conduct. The objective of this research is to analyse the techniques used by various political parties in Cameroon that have the potential to either intensify or alleviate election violence. Comprehending the motivations and strategies used by political players is crucial in formulating efficacious approaches for conflict avoidance. election violence poses a significant challenge to the fundamental tenets of democracy and governance since it stifles political engagement, erodes the integrity of election results, and perpetuates recurring patterns of violence. This study seeks to provide insights into the wider consequences of political instability by examining the enduring effects of election violence on democratic institutions and governance structures (Anyanwu & Kehinde, 2019). 

This research aims to provide practical ideas for addressing election violence in Cameroon by using empirical facts and best practices from comparative studies. The proposals put out by Anyanwu and Kehinde (2019) may include many measures such as improvements in election rules, enhancement of law enforcement procedures, facilitation of discussion and reconciliation, and cultivation of a culture that encourages peaceful political activity. 

In summary, this study aims to provide a scholarly contribution to the current understanding of party politics and election violence in Cameroon. By elucidating the fundamental mechanisms and suggesting solutions supported by empirical facts, the aim is to enlighten policy conversations and enable stakeholders to cultivate a harmonious and all-encompassing electoral atmosphere that promotes the establishment of democracy and the progress of the country.

1.2 Statement of the problem

In recent times, Cameroon has seen a concerning escalation in election violence, which presents substantial risks to democratic procedures, societal equilibrium, and the welfare of its populace. In light of this context, the interaction between party politics and election violence becomes a vital subject that requires thorough examination (UNDP, 2019). Although there is increasing awareness about this issue, there is a significant lack of academic knowledge on the complex relationship between party politics and the occurrence of electoral violence in Cameroon. 

The objective of this study is to fill the existing knowledge vacuum by undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the complex correlation between party politics and election violence in Cameroon. The primary objective of this research is to investigate the fundamental elements, methods, and patterns that lead to the intensification of violence in election processes, with a specific emphasis on the influence exerted by political parties (Leaning & Arie, 2020). Through an in-depth exploration of the intricacies inherent in this association, the study aims to clarify the fundamental factors contributing to election violence in Cameroon and provide valuable perspectives on possible strategies for mitigating and resolving conflicts.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate party politics and electoral violence in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

To examine the evolution of party politics in Cameroon

To identify the  triggers of electoral violence in Cameroon

To evaluating the influence of political institutions in mitigating electoral violence in Cameroon.

To propose strategies for mitigating electoral violence in Cameroon

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What is the evolution of party politics in Cameroon?

What are  the  triggers of electoral violence in Cameroon?

What is the influence of political institutions in mitigating electoral violence in Cameroon?what are the proposed strategies for mitigating electoral violence in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

Informing Policymakers: Research findings on party politics and electoral violence can serve as valuable inputs for policymaking and electoral management. Insights gained from the study can inform the design and implementation of electoral laws, regulations, and institutional reforms aimed at reducing the incidence of violence and ensuring the integrity of the electoral process. Additionally, it can guide the development of capacity-building programs for electoral officials and law enforcement agencies to effectively manage electoral-related conflicts.

Advancing Scholarly Knowledge: This study contributes to the academic literature on electoral violence and political dynamics in Cameroon. By generating empirical evidence, theoretical insights, and methodological approaches, it enriches scholarly discourse and facilitates further research on related topics. This academic contribution is essential for advancing knowledge and understanding in the fields of political science, conflict studies, and democratization.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on  investigating party politics and electoral violence in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will  examine the evolution of party politics in Cameroon, identify the  triggers of electoral violence in Cameroon, evaluating the influence of political institutions in mitigating electoral violence in Cameroon and  propose strategies for mitigating electoral violence in Cameroon.

1.7 Research Methodology

Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data. There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. The type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research and the study will adopt descriptive method of data collection. This will involve the collection of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings, published and unpublished articles..

1.8 Definition of terms

Party Politics: Refers to the activities, strategies, and dynamics associated with political parties within the context of a democratic system. It encompasses the organization, ideologies, campaigns, and interactions among political parties competing for power or influence within a given political system.

Electoral Violence: Denotes any form of physical, verbal, or psychological aggression, coercion, or intimidation that occurs in the context of electoral processes.

Political Party: An organized group of individuals with shared political ideologies, objectives, and interests, seeking to influence public policy, attain political power, and govern within a specific geographical area


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