Democracy With Cameroon’s Characteristics

Cameroonians are certainly not oblivious of the fact that ever since multiparty politics got implanted in the country, no government has been formed without members of the opposition belonging.

The wind of change that swept through Africa in the 1990s forcing the governing class to open up for competition notably legalising political parties to vie for authority beside those in power,  didn’t leave Cameroon indifferent. In effect, since embracing multiparty politics some 30 years ago, the country has seen highs and lows, but is riding on steadily with the political pluralism.


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Political figures appear and disappear from the scenes but the resolve by the one who opted for the evolution; against all odds, remains resolute. This entails giving room for divergence of views; call it political ideology, provided Cameroon comes out stronger. In fact, getting all who can contribute to nation building to conveniently do so inasmuch as they have the mandate of the people appears to have been the guiding principle over the years.


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This is logical given that a people-driven governance system; or democracy, allows the choice of the governed to prevail through the person in whom they put their trust. 30 years down the line and Cameroon can at least boast of a democracy with its own characteristics. It is a truism that the multiparty political wave caught Cameroon, like other African countries, in the 1990s but the country is striving to domesticate the global change to suit its local realities.


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Alliances are being formed during or after each election either to strengthen the ruling class or to better oppose it. The Presidential Majority; referring to a group of political parties who have chosen to work along the same reasoning and action lines with the party in power, is commonplace in Cameroon. There are even some that are simply political allies who buy the ideology of the ruling class and go along with it in field implementation.


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Cameroonians are certainly not oblivious of the fact that ever since multiparty politics got implanted in the country, no government has been formed without members of the opposition belonging. Some critics have been crying loud that such politicians governing alongside the ruling class are simply visionless people who oppose for the sake of their stomachs. But for one thing, the freedom rooted in the democracy gives citizens the choice to decide what to do.


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After all, some opposition political parties might not have been formed with the underlying objective to get to power. Some might just be there to see the other side of the coin for things to be done better.


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Such school of thought believes opposing everything simply because it comes from the ruling class or seeing nothing wrong in what it does might not be people-friendly. All opinion counts, they say! That too is democracy with Cameroon’s characteristics. The political pluralism has no doubt changed the mind-sets of many a citizen and continually helps in varied reforms that normally should champion the course of good governance and better sustainable development for shared gains.


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People now question government action and the advent of every election gives competing parties the opportunity; on near level ground, to sell their manifestos to the public. The campaigning that equally comes with political elections are eye-opening on what the public could expect if this or that party or leader is in power; even if some promises are far-fetched. It is ostensibly on the basis of what they have in view for the population that they are either accepted or rejected through the ballot box.


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As the country strives to improve its democracy with innovative legal instruments; justifiably so given societal evolutions, political actors must not lose sight of the fact that the best democracy anywhere in the world is one which develops a country, gives the population the opportunity to participate in the conception and realisation of their development projects and makes citizens to want to belong.  The path is certainly still long but together, Cameroon can!


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