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The Tall Order Of Sourcing Funds

Cameroonian political parties have an uphill task funding their activities.

Seeking and retaining political power demands more than just oratory, having a good understanding of the people’s concerns and meeting them. Money is very important to run activities and campaigns. There can be no democracy without political parties, it is generally agreed. Parties compete for political power, generate democratic governments and shape public policies.

The Weightiness Of Funding

To be able to perform the tasks expected of them, parties need to generate income. The reality is that it is often the lack of financial resources which prevents certain groups and leaders from achieving political participation through representation. Even the gender imbalance in parliaments across the world can partly be explained by the inequalities in access to funds.

In Cameroon, political parties today find it increasingly difficult to run their activities because of scarce resources. As a result, they are compelled to be more innovative in sourcing for financing. This is in addition to State funds that accrue during and after elections for parties that garnered a certain number of votes.

State Funding

The law provides for funding to political parties taking part in presidential, parliamentary and local council elections, in proportion to their performance in previous elections. Further funding is available for parties that win seats in the National Assembly, Senate, local councils or got at least 5 per cent of national votes in general elections.  

Party Levies/Contributions

After State subventions, which do not often come in on time, the next largest source of financing for political parties is regular or occasional levies paid by members. In some cases, the amounts demanded are in proportion to the positions held in the party and society by the members. Thus, the higher the position, the higher the levy. Some of the highest contributors are cabinet ministers, directors, general managers, senators, Members of Parliament, mayors, Government Delegates and business people.    

Voluntary Gifts/Legacies

Apart from statutory contributions, well-wishers or some party members make voluntary gifts (in cash or kind) and legacies upon dying. The sale of membership cards, fabric, T-shirts and other party gadgets, as well as publications, are other sources of party fund raising.

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