Enjoying the Booty and Compromising the Future: The Metaphor of Salt Voters in the Political Landscape of Mamfe during Elections in Cameroon Since 1990
Martin Sango Ndeh
The political landscape in Cameroon in the 1990s witnessed a transition to multiparty democracy from a single party system. This new era came with its own positive as well as negative virtues of political participation. The fragile nature of democracy which was characterized by the lack of good will to create institutions that will guarantee fair play and a level playing ground for all the political party contenders paved the way for electoral fraud and other vices that are repugnant to the democratic culture. Parties were not formed based on ideology but on regional, ethnic and other undemocratic principles. The government even played a major role in ensuring that some pro-government opposition parties were created so as to penetrate and weaken the strength of the opposition. This was just one of the awful mechanisms that were put in place by the government to offset the balance, jeopardize the foundation of democracy and to maintain the status quo in favour of the incumbent. Apart from granting sponsorship to some opposition leaders the government and the ruling party in some circumstances out rightly bought the people’s conscience in some areas. The government and the ruling party are used inter-changeably in this paper because it is difficult to separate the government from the ruling party particularly when it comes to distinguishing government funds from party funds. It is the use of money to buy voters in certain areas that have encouraged this researcher to come up with the metaphor of salt voters. This researcher heavily relied on the participant/observer approach and the collection of primary data through oral interviews. Random sampling was conducted across party lines to be able to gather data.
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