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The Dilemma of Civil Society in Cameroon Since 1990: Which Way Forward?

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The role of civil society in societal transformation and nation building in Cameroon has been compromised by political and social structures created during three decades of autocratic rule that still underline the practical and moral workings of the state today. Civil society remains mired in societal cleavages that find expression in parochial tendencies ranging from ethnicism to regionalism. As a result civil society’s ability to mobilise all and sundry towards a meaningful democratic culture is limited. In this context the quest for good governance has remained, for the vast majority of Cameroonians, a platitudinous utopia. This paper argues that only a civil society that transcends narrow social and political boundaries and identifies with the daily and legitimate struggles of ordinary citizens can serve as a signpost pointing towards meaningful quantitative and qualitative development in Cameroon.


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