Cameroon: Autochthony, Democratization, and New Struggles over Citizenship

in The Perils of Belonging

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226289649
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226289663 | DOI:
Cameroon: Autochthony, Democratization, and New Struggles over Citizenship

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This chapter describes the violent manifestations by autochthons in close relation with the politics of belonging of President Paul Biya's former one-party regime. Indeed, it was its support for autochthony movements that explains how his regime managed to hold on to power despite democratization and an initially very successful opposition. The South-West Elites Association (SWELA) was a stark example of how deeply the Biya regime was already involved in what rightly could be called the politics of autochthony. SWELA was founded as an association to defend southwestern elites against the encroachment of northwestern elites with their “treacherous” appeal to a common Anglophone identity. In 1996, SWELA formally joined the Greater Sawa Movement. As in Douala and the South-West, the government firmly backed the autochthons' cause.

Keywords: autochthony; President Paul Biya; democratization; South-West Elites Association; politics of belonging; Anglophone identity; Greater Sawa Movement; Douala

Chapter.  10830 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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