Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Nigeria's most famous human rights lawyer, was arrested on 30th January , and since then has been incacerated in Bauchi, Nigeria without access to medical care or family. He is suffering from acute malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. Fawehinmi joins the ranks of Beko Ransome-Kuti, Femi Falana, Frank Kokori, Shehu Sani, Chris Anyanwu and other brave and valiant heroes who have dared to speak out against forms of harassment and injustice under the Abacha regime. He is a veteran in the struggle against human rights violations and his distinguished career spans three decades.

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Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Nigeria's most famous human rights lawyer, was arrested on 30th January , and since then has been incacerated in Bauchi, Nigeria without access to medical care or family. He is suffering from acute malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. Fawehinmi joins the ranks of Beko Ransome-Kuti, Femi Falana, Frank Kokori, Shehu Sani, Chris Anyanwu and other brave and valiant heroes who have dared to speak out against forms of harassment and injustice under the Abacha regime.

He is a veteran in the struggle against human rights violations and his distinguished career spans three decades. Generally though, this issue focuses on Cameroon, one of the four countries which share a border with Nigeria.

In keeping with our analysis of multiparty democracy, a subject which was the focus of the previous issue of AfricaUpdate we briefly look at Cameroon. Elvis Ngolle Ngolle of the University of Yaounde, Cameroon, reflects on the democratic process under "the New Deal" and the post era, with particular reference to the last few years and what he refers to as the "second phase", as this relates to multipartism.

Ngolle lists some problems associated with the process and considers most of these as characteristic of "developing" countries. As the U. We have included in this issue the final instalment of Molomo's analysis of multipartism in Botswana. We have also included information about some recent books on Cameroon with focus on the Bakweri Kingdom and contact with Portuguese, Dutch, British and German colonial agents.

From Cameroon itself two recent works stand out: Essomba's recent text in honor of the distinguished Senegalese egyptologist and physicist, Cheik Anta Diop and Jean-Pierre Bekolo's "Quartier Mozart", a jewel of indigenous African cinema.

Warren Perry. Perry examines the historical background and significance of the project and the major areas of importance to historians of Africa and the African diaspora. He identifies indicators of the flagrant abuse of human rights in the four hundred excavated Ancestral African remains. We express our thanks to all the contributors of this issue of AfricaUpdate.

University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. Legion are the names by which they call him to facilitate the hanging of his dream. Not him; he has refused to alter his inflection in the manner of parrots with no conviction..

Not him; he has refused to change his persuasion to please our nation's many apostles of caution:. He has refused to temper his instincts about the General: the spinner of webs who has donated his name and liberal.

He has refused to rationalise in measured phrases in fine prints and reprints, in limited editions. Ajantala: fish bone lodged across gluttonous throats. Ajanaku: the elephant sighs in distant farms and kills his detractors in the safety of their homes.

Ogbodogbodo, Ajagunmolu: grandchild of Ifa valiant warrior, custodian of Ogun's power.. With the advent of the New Deal administration in , Cameroon seemed relieved of a burden. A commentator described the moment in these terms, "the new regime of president Biya has dramatically reversed the trend and given the future of the private press a new hope.

Cameroonians now breathe a new air of freedom which they never had for more than twenty years of Ahidjo rule. As proposed in the initial declarations of Biya's administration, liberalization and democratization were to be the hallmarks of the New Deal program of government.

To the successor President himself, liberalization involved the restoration of public freedoms, in particular, freedom of thought and speech. Democratization meant the introduction of pluralism into national political life. This process included elections based on free choice and multiple candidacies. The questions that have to be asked are, What made this second wave of democratic politics different from the pre first wave or was there no difference?

What factors engendered this second wave? What are the dimensions of the process? What are the problems? What are the future prospects? These are the questions that form the thrust of the rest of this paper. The first and second waves of democratic politics in Cameroon were different in at least three respects.

While the first was fragmentary in terms of the federation, the second was cohesive and national in character. In the first wave the political parties were regional parties, whereas in the second wave the political parties are to a large extent national parties. In the first wave there were three constitutions at play; in the second wave therei s only one single constitution at play.

In the first wave the form of the state was a federation, whereas in the second wave,the form of state is a unitary republic. What is common to both waves is the existence of competing freely formed political parties engaging in pluralistic debate and electoral competition with a multiplicity of candidates.

This common denominator of the democratic process in the two eras fits well into the democratic concept as defined in democratic theory. The essential quality being that it is a process based on the rule of law, elected representative government, civil rights, majority rule, protection of minorities, separation of powers and popular sovereignty.

In such a process, the elected government is responsive to the people and the people possess the liberty to make a choice. The structure and composition of the government exists in an atmosphere of civility and order. In this context, multipartism denotes the existence and functioning of a multiplicity of political parties, all competing for public office on the basis of freedom of choice and within formal rules of law.

The post democratic process proceeded along two wave-lengths or two speeds. The first wave length or speed involved preparing the then single ruling party for multiparty competition. This phase involved introducing multiple candidacies within the party in elections for local party officials as early as The minds of militants and party barons were also stimulated to prepare for competition with other parties.

This phase lasted till when the law on multipartism was passed by the National Assembly opening up the political landscape to a multitude of freely formed political parties and associations all vying for political expression and public office. In the second phase multipartism took shape, and on occasion it seemed unmanageable. This phase also marked the proliferation of the private media which violently took on the government and the ruling party in its commentaries.

These activities were coupled with sometimes violent social movements all claiming to express their freedom of speech and expression. These movements nearly rendered the entire national life dysfunctional but for the inter vention of forces of law and order and appeals from wise politicians of political parties that saw no value in political radicalism.

After a year or more of radical political expression, three major developments marked the second phase of the process: March legislative elections, October presidential elections of , and the November Tripartite meeting.

These events were all characterized by multiparty participation culminating in the formation of the current Coalition Governmentand Multiparty National assembly. With the ongoing constitutional talks there seems to be ample evidence to suggest that the second phase of the post process would result in an outcome that would make multipartism a permanent and vital feature of the democratic process in Cameroon.

Multipartism in the democratic process has generally tended to be associated with tensions,. This is more frequent in societies in which democratic tradition has not yet taken root in terms of tolerance, civility, courtesy, rationalization of choices of candidates and issues. It is also more frequent where socioeconomic conditions are inadequate to sustain free discussion and tolerance. Such conditions include economic problems, low literacy, poori nfrastructure, low rate of urbanization, etc.

Problems associated with multipartism as a form of democratic expression in Cameroon have reflected this general developing country pattern. Other problems that are related to the former category are the tendency to have parchochial, regionally-based or "tribal" parties, the tendency to violate the law out of ignorance or out of passion, the tendency to vote without due rationalization of issues or candidates, the tendency to engage in vote rigging and intimidation tactics, the tendency to deny respect for other parties and the tendency to refuse electoral outcomes that are unfavorable.

This is true for Cameron and elsewhere. Another important problem that has characterized multipartism in Cameroon and most of the Third World is the confusion that has often been manifested by parties of the opposition in terms of their role in the democratic process and their objectives as political actors.

As the Cameroonian experience has shown, the party or parties that have not become part of the majority coalition or the majority party have tended to function as if they were equal to the party or parties in power in terms of their role in the political process.

They have also limited their objective to the sole goal of attaining a position of power. Not only has this tendency hurt some parties in the democratic process, but they have denied themselves the opportunity to engage in other activities for which political parties play a vital role.

These activities include educating the electorate on burning issues, raising and shaping issues in an attempt to mold public opinion positively, serving as a moderating influence on the political process and preparing for future electoral contests.

As the Cameroonian experience has shown, the tendency for some parties has been to refuse results and claim that nothing of consequence took place. For some political parties, their awarenessof the role of the political party in the democratic process seems quite high, and for these the prospects seem good that they will contribute enormously to the sustenance of not only multipartism, but also of the democratic process.

Return to Table of Contents. Like the film's"Queen of the Hood," there are many African women who have become aware of their importance and who hold strong views. These women have a desire to express their views and several have succeeded over the last forty or so years in getting their voices heard through their literature. I do not believe that Quartier Mozart is just a film version of the "narrative of victimology.

I see it as a triumph for all women who seek a more positive-stronger image in society. Because the film is done with a sense of humor, it gives both men and women a chance to view it with less gender bias than if it was a drama with very serious dialogue.

I believe the humor relaxes you and allows you to have a more open mind towards the views of the opposite sex. Quartier Mozart's director, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, addresses a serious issue - gender roles, with a humorous approach, making his film more accessible to both male and female audiences. This new series features historical and anthropological works on Cameroon - Africa in microcosm. Its linguistic, cultural and ecological diversity, and its historical experience of the different German, French and British regimes, provide material pertinent to the wider continent.

The aim is to pool in one series the best of new works of contemporary scholars and selected reissues of classic ethnographic texts and translations of early German exploration and missiological literature.

The Bakweri people of Mount Cameroon, which is an active volcano on the coast of West Africa a few degrees north of the equator,have had a varied and at times exciting history which has brought them not only into contact with other West African peoples, but with merchants, missionaries, soldiers and administrators from Portugal, Holland, England, Jamaica, Sweden, Germany and more recently France. Edwin Ardener, the distinguished social anthropologist, spoke their language and wrote a number of studies on the culture and history of the Bakweri kingdom.

Some unpublished writings, and some published but now out of print materials are here brought together for the first time. The book covers the early contacts with the Portuguese and Dutch from the sixteenth century, the arrival of the missionaries in the nineteenth century, the dramatic defeat of the first German punitive expedition, the subsequent establishment by the Germans of the plantation system, the BritishTrusteeship period, and the reunified Republic of Cameroon to Cameroon is characterized by an extraordinary geographical, cultural, and linguistic diversity.

This collection of essays by eminent historians and anthropologists summarizes three generations of research in Cameroon that began with the collaboration of Phyllis Kaberry and E. Chilver soon after the Second World War and continues to this day. The idea for this book arose from a concern to recognize the continuing influence of E. Chilver on a wide variety of social, historical, political and economic studies. The result is a volume with a broad historical scope yet one that also focuses on major contemporary theoretical issues such as the meaning and construction of ethnic identities and the anthropological study of historical processes.

The text consists of a variety of speeches public lectures and papers of the controversial scholar who in defended a thesis that examined African contributions to Greece and identified the ancient Egyptians as being predominantly Black African. A few months ago a colloqium on his work and achievement was held in Dakar, Senegal.


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A multi-party system is a political system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national election, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coalition. Several parties compete for power and all of them have reasonable chance of forming government. First-past-the-post requires concentrated areas of support for large representation in the legislature whereas proportional representation better reflects the range of a population's views. Proportional systems may have multi-member districts with more than one representative elected from a given district to the same legislative body, and thus a greater number of viable parties. Duverger's law states that the number of viable political parties is one, plus the number of seats in a district. In these countries, usually no single party has a parliamentary majority by itself.


Multi-party system

There are many different types of democracy being discussed and observed. However, according to Ware, multipartism has several different types such as polarized, moderate, segmented or atomized. In my opinion, it does not necessarily have to be an extension or improvement of all rights; I believe that if, due to multipartism, there is an improvement in at least one of the rights economic, liberal, etc. After having defined the main constituent parts of the question, now let me turn to the analysis itself. This means that the political parties which are in the government should represent the diversified interests of the constituency.

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