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Arithmétique ethnique et compétition politique entre Kotoko et Arabes Choa dans le contexte de l'ouverture démocratique au Cameroun

Ethnic arithmetic and political competition in Cameroon
[journal article]

Issa, Saibou

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Abstract In the early 1990s, Cameroon - like other sub-Saharan African countries - opened up to democratisation. In addition to the formation of some one hundred political parties, associations based on ethnic or regional identity mushroomed. Generally speaking, the elite & politicians peacefully mobilise parochial solidarities with the aim of maintaining their positions in the state, or of entering the state apparatus through ethnic votes - this is why the size of ethnic groups are an important factor in the rivalries between politicians. However, in Logone & Chari districts, situated in the border area between Cameroon, Nigeria, & Chad, the rivalry opposing the Kotoko to Shoa Arabs manifested itself in the form of interethnic violence. Demography played an important role in these conflicts, as it permitted Shoa Arabs to reverse the political majority. The Kotoko were the first inhabitants of the region, & had hitherto controlled traditional as well as modern power structures. In respect of the controversy over the population sizes of the two communities, this paper goes back in history to examine the role of epidemics & immigration in the numerical relationship between the two peoples. The manipulation of censuses, the relativity of ethnic differences, & new dimensions in the politics of ethnicity in North Cameroon are also considered.
Keywords Cameroon; democratization; party; ethnic group; ethnic relations; election; politician; political development; ethnic conflict
Classification Demography; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Cameroon; Democracy; Ethnic Relations; Conflict; Elections; Political Development
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 197-220
Journal Afrika Spectrum, 40 (2005) 2
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works