Civil society and democratization: the Cameroonian experience

  • Oben Timothy Mbuagbo
  • Celestina Neh


This paper attempts to identify a new orientation for civil society in a Cameroon dangling on the eaves of democratic transition. It points to civil society's current deficiencies in its efforts to assert itself successfully as an important and central player in effecting political and social change. This is blamed on government's unwillingness to introduce genuine democratic reforms because anti-democratic forces remain strong and on the lack of political organization and effective mobilization of civil society movements themselves, due in part to parochialism expressed in the form of ethnicism and regionalism. It outlines the potential of civil society by drawing inspiration from the activities of some civil society organizations like the Church and concludes that an integration of traditional social structures such as kinship associations and a revamping of the objectives of civil society could constitute a springboard for popular participation. This could usher in a sustainable democratic transition process in Cameroon.

African Journal of Social Work Vol.18(2) 2003: 133-148

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eISSN: 1012-1080