ISBN 9789956763917
Pages 288
Dimensions 229 x 152mm
Published 2016
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Decentralisation and Community Participation

Local Development and Municipal Politics in Cameroon

by Numvi Gwaibi

This book explores how policies of decentralisation and community participation adopted in Cameroon in 1996 have played out on the ground since 2004. These reforms were carried out amid economic crisis, structural adjustment and political upheaval. At the time, popular sentiment was that change on the economic and political fronts was imperative. However, the ruling elite, some of whom had been shuttling around the state apparatus since independence, feared that succumbing to popular demands for change was tantamount to political suicide, as was the case elsewhere on the continent. These elites thwarted opposition demands for a ‘sovereign’ national conference to discuss constitutional reform. The Francophone-dominated elite fiercely objected to Anglophone demands for the restoration of the Federal state that was dissolved in 1972. Instead, decentralisation was presented as an authentic forum for grassroots autonomy and municipal councils as credible arenas for community participation in local development. This study adopts an interdisciplinary approach to unearth the permutations of decentralisation and community participation in Cameroon. It explores how local actors have responded to the implementation of state policy of decentralisation. Further, it documents how local issues observed in Bali in the North West Region and Mbankomo in the Central Region of Cameroon impact and are impacted by national policies and processes.

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“This is certainly one of the best books on the current decentralisation initiatives in Africa. What I appreciate most is that the author employs an interdisciplinary approach to his subject. This helps him to provide us with an exceptionally detailed and comparative picture of how these externally-inspired national policies interact with long-standing local political dynamcis in his home country, Cameroon.”

Dr Piet Konings, Sociologist, African Studies Centre Leiden

“The author combines his skills in political science theory and anthropological methodology to argue that the long term historical legacies of ethnic regionalism in Cameroon requires the researcher to move back and forth between a top down perspective on elites and a bottom up understanding of the worlds of ordinary lives and conditions of existence. The result is an exemplary study that has far reaching comparative lessons for African studies.”

Michael Rowlands, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University College London

“One of the strengths of Numvi Gwaibi’s book is that it involves comparative analysis of divergent responses to the implementation of decentralisation policy, drawing on field research in two locations in Cameroon.”

John Sharp, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and South Africa Director, the Human Economy Research Programme, University of Pretoria

About the Author

Numvi Gwaibi

Numvi Gwaibi was born in Bali in the North West Region of Cameroon. He holds a BA in International Relations and Media Communications from Regents University in London UK, an MSc in Global Studies at Roskilde University in Denmark, and a PhD in Humanities from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Dr Gwaibi is currently affiliated with the Human Economy research Programme at the University of Pretoria. His research interests include Politics, Governance, Public Policy and Political Economy.

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