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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CHALLENGES OF POLITICAL TRANSITION IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CHALLENGES OF POLITICAL TRANSITION IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

The nation of Cameroon, situated in the region of Central Africa, has seen notable political transformations subsequent to its attainment of independence from France in 1960 and the United Kingdom in 1961. According to Aryeetey and Baah-Boateng (2015), the aforementioned transitions have been characterised by alterations in leadership, modifications in governance institutions, and the development of socio-political dynamics. Nevertheless, the political transition in Cameroon has encountered several hurdles, which have hindered the process of establishing democratic ideals and fostering stability and growth. The legacy of a centralised and authoritarian form of government, which was founded under the presidency of Ahmadou Ahidjo and has been maintained under his successor, Paul Biya, who has held power since 1982, poses a significant impediment to political transitions in Cameroon (Aryeetey & Fenny, 2017). The deeply ingrained political culture has impeded the development of thorough political institutions, suppressed political diversity, and restricted the involvement of opposition organisations and civil society in the process of making decisions. Furthermore, the issue of ethno-regionalism has presented a substantial obstacle to the process of democratic transformation in Cameroon (Banon, 2016). The nation has a heterogeneous ethnic and linguistic composition, whereby Anglophone and Francophone areas have encountered historical conflicts stemming from colonial inheritances. The current Anglophone conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions has been driven by complaints and aspirations for secession, which may be attributed to the marginalisation of Anglophone people in political and economic realms (Berry & Wilcox, 2015).

Moreover, the absence of efficient institutional systems for overseeing political succession has intensified difficulties encountered during periods of power transfers. The legitimacy of successive elections has been undermined and political tensions have been exacerbated due to charges of fraud, anomalies, and lack of transparency. According to Citifmonline (2015), the lack of a comprehensive legislative framework for peaceful transitions of power has contributed to the continuation of instability and the escalation of political competition. Cameroon has economic obstacles pertaining to corruption, nepotism, and resource mismanagement, which have impeded endeavours to foster sustainable growth and mitigate poverty. The perpetuation of socio-economic inequality and restricted chances for broad-based economic development has been attributed to the concentration of power and resources within elite networks (Höglund, 2016). Given the aforementioned problems, it is imperative to undertake a thorough examination of the many variables that hinder the process of democratic transformation in Cameroon. Policymakers, civil society actors, and international stakeholders can develop focused interventions to promote inclusive governance, political stability, and address the aspirations of Cameroon's diverse population by identifying and analysing the underlying causes of these challenges (Fuseini & Kemp, 2015). These endeavours are crucial for promoting democratic ideals, protecting human rights, and establishing the groundwork for long-lasting growth in Cameroon. Therefore, the researcher sought to investigate  the challenges of Political Transition in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Political transition is a pivotal moment in the governance trajectory of any country, characterised by the transfer of power from one political leadership to another. Within the framework of Cameroon, a nation situated in Central Africa renowned for its abundant cultural variety and intricate political environment, the difficulties associated with political transition provide substantial barriers to the establishment of democracy, socio-economic progress, and overall national stability (Issifu, 2015). Nevertheless, despite its significant significance, the complexities and challenges linked to political transitions in Cameroon have received little attention and are inadequately understood. Political instability and fragility in Cameroon have been attributed to historical legacies, such as colonialism and the subsequent rise of post-colonial authoritarian governments. The transfer of authority from one leader to another often amplifies preexisting tensions, resulting in political disruptions, civic turmoil, and, in severe instances, acts of violence. A comprehensive comprehension of the intricacies surrounding political instability and fragility in the context of transitions is of utmost importance in promoting stability and facilitating democratic government (Höglund, 2016). The nation of Cameroon has significant ethnic and geographical diversity, with more than 200 unique ethnic groupings and linguistic communities. The political terrain of the nation is distinguished by ethnic and regional divisions, which often have an impact on power dynamics in times of political changes. Examining the manner in which these divisions connect with political changes is crucial in order to effectively tackle issues pertaining to inclusion, representation, and national cohesion. In a similar vein, the prolonged period of authoritarian governance under consecutive administrations has firmly established a prevailing environment characterised by political suppression, violations of human rights, and a dearth of institutional responsibility (Fuseini & Kemp, 2015). The process of shifting from autocracy to democracy encompasses a range of possibilities and obstacles. It is crucial to analyse the impact of the authoritarian legacy on the process of transition in order to promote democratic government and uphold human rights. Economic forces have a substantial influence on the formation and progression of political changes. Cameroon is confronted with a multitude of economic issues, including poverty, inequality, corruption, and misuse of resources. Economic instability often occurs during transition times due to political uncertainty, which serve as deterrents to investment and interrupt economic operations (Fuseini & Kemp, 2015). A comprehensive understanding of the economic aspects associated with political changes is necessary in order to advance sustainable development and mitigate poverty. Furthermore, Cameroon has a mostly young demographic, whereby a substantial number of the youth encounter challenges such as joblessness, marginalisation, and social isolation. The occurrence of political changes often aligns with an increase in youth activism and calls for socio-economic inclusivity and political representation. Gaining insight into the involvement of young people in political changes is essential for promoting intergenerational communication, societal unity, and long-lasting progress. Given the many complicated problems, it is crucial to examine the intricacies of political transition in Cameroon. This investigation is necessary to provide valuable insights for policy interventions, facilitate the establishment of democratic systems, and encourage inclusive and sustainable development (Fuseini & Kemp, 2015). To effectively tackle these issues, it is essential to possess a thorough understanding of the socio-political, economic, and institutional processes that are in operation during times of change. The primary objective of this research is to enhance the current information base about political transitions in Cameroon. Additionally, it seeks to provide valuable insights for policymakers, civil society agents, and foreign stakeholders that are dedicated to promoting democratic governance and stability within the nation.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate the challenges of political transition in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

Identify the various stakeholders involved in the political transition process in Cameroon.

Identify the factors that contribute to challenges of political transition processes.

Assess the institutional and structural obstacles that impede smooth political transitions in Cameroon

Propose strategies required for  smooth political transition in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What are the various stakeholders involved in the political transition process in Cameroon?

What are the factors that contribute to challenges of political transition processes?

What are the institutional and structural obstacles that impede smooth political transitions in Cameroon?

What are the strategies required for   smooth political transition in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

The findings of the study will be significant to the government as Cameroon is a central player in the stability of the Central African region. Its political dynamics can significantly impact neighboring countries. Understanding the prospects for democratization and stability in Cameroon can provide insights into the broader regional political landscape

Academia: the study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on investigating the challenges of political transition in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will  identify the various stakeholders involved in the political transition process in Cameroon, identify the factors that contribute to challenges of political transition processes, assess the institutional and structural obstacles that impede smooth political transitions in Cameroon and propose strategies that will aid  smooth political transition 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 Transitions: This implies that the poor cannot undertake a revolution immediately following a coup against democracy


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  • Reference(s):

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  • Methodology: Yes available


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