LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
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This work is to examine the roles of local Government in rural development ,Local Government s are legal institutions founded with the goal of providing local and communal public services in a specific Geographic area, with a decision making body elected by free elections with administrative and Financial Autononomy .All the Evidence tells us that, not to empower (local people) is a tragically missed opportunity, not only to create a more just and more prosperous society, but also to advance rural well being. (James D.Wolfensohn, as quoted from serageldin and steeds 1997).
The establishment of local government in Cameroon arises from the need to facilitate rural development through infrastructural development and service delivery (Sehinde, 2008). Section 7 (i) of 1999 constitution empowered local government to construct and maintain rural roads, street lights, water and drains and other public highways or such public facilities (FGN, 1999). Despite this provision, lack of adequate, affordable and reliable infrastructural facilities still eludes the rural Buea families every day. In addition, water supply is neither safe nor adequate for their needs and local roads are not pliable. Local government contributions to rural development have been minimal when compared to the amount of resources which accrue to it (Sehinde, 2008 in Tolu, 2014). Local people have become disillusioned as a result of unfulfilled expectation. In Cameroon today, the overriding impression today is that local governments are weak in responding to the challenges posed by rural development. Given this submission, this research therefore assessed the role of local government administration in rural development of Buea in Cameroon.
1.1. Background to study
The concept of development can be traced after 1945 when Harry Truman made a global call to improve a lot of more than a half of the worlds population living in poverty ”primitive societies “to improve living conditions
According to him, democracy’ alone can provide a force to stir the people into triumphant action.to him, the local people’s voice can lead to their own affairs. He also suggests that, politics and economics could work together to achieve development. However, African states were not so concerned with issues of development at that time. because ,they were involved in liberation struggles and wars of independence from their colonizers.
Most African states designed and implemented multi sectorial strategies aimed at improving conditions in their societies. These strategies were usually based on Five year development plans. Hence in order to created a balance in development between Urban and rural areas, many of these Governments felt that, substatial state intervention required to achieve greater equity and poverty alleviation in rural areas.(potter al.2004)most central
Governments in Africa took decisions, designed policies and implemented them without consulting local people. By 1980s, international donors and Governments began looking for alternative institutions to foster development in rural areas (2004) this has been followed by discourses centers on development paradigm that involve local people in designing, planning, implementing and delivering projects based on local interest
This study focuses on Democratic decentralization on development in Cameron The Government of Cameron undertook some political, administrative and economic reforms.one of these reforms was democratization of political life. the Government of Cameron which had enacted law No.74_23 of 5 December 1974 creating councils in other to devolve power .The law on decentralzation par 1,section 2,and article 1 and 2 under the general provision states “decentralization shall consist of devolution by the state powers and appropriate resources to local authorities and decentralization shall constitute the basic driving force for the promotion of development, democracy and good Governance. Local development through local institutions was supposedly a scheme to better understand rural communities.
The devolution of power to local Government seems to me as one of the model of development from below adopted by the Government of Cameroon.(Senian” 1999) freedom would be used to illustrate the importance of empowerment in socio-economic development (den 1999).he argues that, Development consist of removal of various types of unfreedoms (political freedom)that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency.my point of interest from Sen’s work is the issue of democratic freedom or political rights which are the source of empowerment. This forms the core concept of my work
The assumption is that, Democratic freedom and empowerment are necessary conditions for successful developmental efforts. Through efforts to investigate and highlight the role of Local Governments in rural development, the core concept of empowerment as a core concept central in development.
1.2 problem Statement