237 Pages
English
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Civil Society and the Search for Development Alternatives in Cameroon

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237 Pages
English

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This book is a call to reform the framework of civil society and assess its components and roles in shaping the future of Africa.

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Published 15 March 2008
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EAN13 9782869783911
Language English
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Civil Society and the Search for Development
Alternatives in CameroonCivil Society and the Search
for Development Alternatives in Cameroon
Edited by
Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo
Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa© Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, 2008
Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop Angle Canal IV, B.P. 3304 Dakar, 18524, Senegal
http://www.codesria.org
All rights reserved
ISBN: 978-286978-220-4
Typeset by Sériane Camara Ajavon
Cover image designed by Florent Loso Tonado
Printed by Imprimerie Graphiplus, Dakar, Senegal
CODESRIA publishes a quarterly journal, Africa Development, the longest standing
Africa-based social science journal; Afrika Zamani, a journal of history; the African
Sociological Review; African Journal of International Affairs (AJIA); Africa Review of Books;
and the Journal of Higher Education in Africa. It copublishes the Africa Media Review and
Identity, Culture and Politics: An Afro-Asian Dialogue. Research results and other activities
of the institution are disseminated through ‘Working Papers’, ‘Monograph Series’,
‘CODESRIA Book Series’, and the CODESRIA Bulletin.
CODESRIA would like to express its gratitude to the Swedish International
Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA/SAREC), the International Development
Research Centre (IDRC), Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie
Corporation, NORAD, the Danish Agency for International Development
(DANIDA), the French Ministry of Cooperation, the United Nations Dev
Programme (UNDP), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rockefeller
Foundation, FINIDA, CIDA, IIEP/ADEA, OECD, OXFAM America, UNICEF
and the Government of Senegal for supporting its research, training and publication
programmes.Contents
Contributors ................................................................................................................. vii
Introduction
Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo ..........................................................................................1
I: Policy Background
1. A Balance Sheet of Economic Development Experience since
Independence
Ntangsi Max Memfih ........................................................................................... 35
2. The Legal Framework of Civil Society and Social Movements
Temngah Joseph Nyambo ....................................................................................... 46
II: Traditional Social Movements
3. The Evolution of Trade Unionism and the Prospects for Alternatives
to the Labour Question
Temngah Joseph Nyambo 61
4. Religious Organisations and Differential Responses to the Economic
Crisis: The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and Full Gospel Mission
(FGM)
Akoko Robert Mbe ............................................................................................... 72
III: Associational Life between Traditional and Modern Society
on the Path to Autonomy and Self-Reliant Development
5. On the Viability of Associational Life in Traditional Society and
Home-Based Associations
Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo ....................................................................................... 95
6. Traditions of Women's Social Protest Movements and Collective
Mobilisation: Lessons from Aghem and Kedjom Women
Charles C. Fonchingong, Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo and Maurice Ufon Beseng ... 125
7. Micro-credit, Financial Sector Reform and Welfare
Wilfred J. Awung ................................................................................................ 142Civil Society and the Search for Development Alternatives in Cameroonvi
IV: Non-Governmental Organisations
8. Focus and Quality of NGOs as Partners in Development
Enoh Tanjong ...................................................................................................... 157
9. NGO Involvement in Environmental Protection in the North West
Province
Ndenecho Emmanuel Neba ................................................................................. 180
V: State-Civil Society Relations
10. Political Leadership, State-Civil Society Relations and
the Search for Development Alternatives
John W. Forje ...................................................................................................... 191
11. The Youth, the Challenge of the New Educational Order and
Development Alternatives
A. V. Kini-Yen Fongot-Kinni.............................................................................. 206
12. Towards a Synthesis
Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo ..................................................................................... 218Contributors
Robert Mbe Akoko holds an MA in Anthropology from the University of
Ibadan and is currently pursuing a PhD at the African Studies Centre of the
University of Leiden. He is a lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Buea
and has published a wide range of articles in the domain of the anthropology of
new religious movements. His research interests are in the domain of the
pentecostalisation of mainline Christianity.
Wilfred Jingwa Awung holds an MA in Agricultural Economics from the
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and is currently pursuing a PhD in
Economics at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He was a laureate of
the 1998 cycle of Robert McNamara fellowship at the Economic Development
Institute of the World Bank and a grantee of the African Economic Research
Consortium.
Samah Abang-Mugwa holds a BSc in Sociology and Anthropology from the
University of Buea, a post-graduate diploma in the teaching of philosophy from
the Advanced Teacher Training College, Yaoundé and a Postgraduate Diploma
in Political Science and Strategic Studies from the University of Yaoundé II.
Maurice Ufon Besseng holds a post-graduate diploma and an MSc in Gender
Studies from the University of Buea.
John W. Forje holds a PhD in Political development from the University of
Lund and another PhD in Technology and Science Policy from the Unive
Salford, England. He is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science of the
University of Yaoundé II after having served for a long time at the Institute of
Social Sciences and is the author of several books and scholarly articles. He has
been Archie Mafeje Fellow at the African Institute of South Africa, Pretoria.
Charles C. Fonchingong holds an MSW (Community Development) from the
University of Ibadan (1997) and has been lecturing in the Department of Women’s
Studies at the University of Buea. He has a wide range of scholarly publications
to his credit and is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Policy Studies at the university
of Canterbury.Civil Society and the Search for Development Alternatives in Cameroonviii
A.V. Kini-Yen Fongot-Kinni studied a wide range of the humanities and the
social sciences in Rome and at the Universities of Paris I, V and VII of the
Sorbonne and obtained several qualifications among which the Doctorat d’Etat
in Political Science. He worked with the United States Information Service (ISIS)
of the United States Embassy in Yaoundé and the Peace Corps Service of the
same country attached to Cameroon before setting up the Afhemi Museum of
Anthropology and Art Gallery in Yaoundé where he serves as curator.
Emmanuel Ndenecho obtained a PhD in Geography from the University of
Buea in 2003 and is a Lecturer at the Annex of the Higher Teacher Training
College of the University of Yaoundé I at Bambili. Before then he was Director
of the Bambili Regional School of Agriculture of the University of Dschang.
Research interests: land use and problems of the ecosystem.
Max Memfi Ntangsi holds an MSc in Economics from Ahmadu Bello
University. He is a Senior Lecturer in Economics and Coordinator of the Short Courses
programme of the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences of the University
of Buea. He is the author of several scholarly publications.
Enoh Tanjong obtained a PhD in Mass Communication from the University
of Wisconsin – Madison, USA in 1986. He served in several senior capacities at
the Ministry of Information and Culture which later became the Ministry of
Communication, Yaoundé, Cameroon and the University of Buea. He is a
consultant with several national international organisations and has published extensively
in the domain of mass communication and grassroots organisations.
Joseph Nyambo Temngah obtained a Doctorate from the University of
Yaoundé in 1996. He was recruited to teach in the Department of English Law
of the University of Yaoundé II in 1996 and was appointed as Head of
Department, Department of Common Law at the University of Douala since
1999. He has published in several scholarly journals.
Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology. He obtained his
Doctorate from the University of Yaoundé in 1991 and has served in several
senior capacities at the University of Buea. He is a member of several scholarly
societies and has published several scholarly journal articles plus book chapters in
the domain of sociology and social anthropology.Introduction
Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo
Introduction
The most crucial and endemic problem that Africa has faced since independence
has been its inability to embark on a meaningful path of development and to
achieve a level of well-being deemed satisfactory for a sizeable proportion of its
population (Ndulu et al. 1998:4, McNamara 1991:2-4). Traditional indicators
(GNP per capita) and, of recent, indicators taking into consideration general
social conditions (human development index) have not been very encouraging
and have at times degenerated into real misery. It has become widely accepted
that some of these failures have largely been due to the insertion of the attempts
at development within the confines of the state as it exists in Africa (Ake 1992:10).
However, the alternatives proposed within the context of conventional liberal
thinking have not only failed but have led to misery for large segments of society
as structural adjustment has often resulted in de-structuring (Ben Hammouda
1998:18, Dembele 1998:10). This is happening, as there is general pressure to
liberalise and to open up both political and economic space for transnational
political and economic interests (Sachs 1995:2), which Dembele (op cit.:10) refers
to as ‘Africa’s... recolonisation’. These developments are taking place in a context
where people are little informed (and even misinformed) of key issues and where
they can neither influence nor participate in determining what is best for them.
The liberal-democratic experiment forced through during the 1990s has met with
the most glaring failures and reversals to the extent that the hopes offered by the
project are likely to lead to deep frustration. One needs to remark that this is
occurring in a context where Africans are led to perceive this project as the only
viable one, a fact which is likely to deepen the frustration when all else comes to
a halt. The present context is dominated by the ‘grip of ideology and doctrine,
including the doctrines crafted to induce hopelessness, resignation and despair’
(Chomsky 1997:243).
The euphoria that accompanied independence in Africa is thus giving way to
despair as efforts at development and nation building have failed (Amin 1998:169).Civil Society and the Search for Development Alternatives in Cameroon2
Despite recent indicators of a timid progress in the economy no African country
is spared the present crisis (Amin ibid., McNamara 1991:2-4). The end of the
Cold War was characterised by optimism as the pressures of alignment characteristic
of that era gave way to the possibility for the search for new solutions to the
crisis. This was however short-lived as it was perceived by the capitalist centre as
an opportunity to complete its project of creating a one-dimensional world in its
own image. This explains the pressure exerted on poorer countries, which had
not yet adopted market driven strategies to do so. For example, when Cameroon
adopted the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) it did so reluctantly and
has been equally reluctant in its implementation. Recourse to the Washington
Consensus has meant compliance with pre-conditions, some of which are of a
non-economic nature. It is in this context that political pluralism was born. In
other words, the growth of political parties and the effervescence of social
movements are concomitant with this process of economic adjustment. When
political parties were legalised in Cameroon in the early 1990s there was optimism,
as expressed in the slogans of change, as they came to be aligned with other social
movements proposing a new vision for society. More than a decade after it is
necessary to reflect on the balance sheet of these developments. The aim of this
project is to evaluate the potential of civil society social movements in providing
alternative solutions to the present development crisis that affects Cameroon as
an African case study.
A multidimensional crisis rocks the very basis of the state and the nation
building project in Cameroon as elsewhere in Africa. In the political domain the
legitimacy of the state has been called into question with the rise of regional (cf.
Nkwi and Nyamnjoh 1997) and counter-hegemonic movements (Yenshu Vubo
1998a, Burnham 1996), a crisis of democratic participation manifested in increasing
voter apathy, the transformation of the single-party structure into a hegemonic
party and the growth of political violence in both subtle legitimate and overt
illegitimate forms. In the economic sphere the crisis manifests itself in the inability
of the modern state to generate a viable strategy, project or programme for
building a sustainable economy with a level of autonomy and meaningful
integration into the world economy.
We can identify the following characteristics of the crisis situation. The
Structural Adjustment Programme proposed by the Washington Consensus has been
unable to usher in the building blocks of a viable economy without generating
mass suffering. Most economic policies and programmes are dependent on
external dictates and therefore are cut off from local realities or unresponsive to
local needs, resulting in dependency. There is a disproportionate stress on the
achievement of macro-economic indicators in total disregard of relations between
these indicators and micro-level facts. The insistence on conforming to standards
of performance set by the Washington Consensus, be it in the domain of politics
(good governance) or the economy (the achievement of macro-economic