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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ethnic conflicts and democratization: new paths toward equilibrium in northern Ghana
Author:Kirby, Jon P.ISNI
Periodical:Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana (ISSN 0855-3246)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Ghana
West Africa
Subjects:ethnic conflicts
traditional polities
acephalous society
political change
Ghana--Politics and government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41406734
Abstract:Political and economic stability do not automatically accompany democratization, as evidenced in northern Ghana by the ethnic conflicts between chiefly and non-chiefly peoples, culminating in 1994 in a conflagration just short of civil war, and the current chieftaincy crisis in Dagbon. These inter- and intra-ethnic conflicts are both part of the same process of tailoring the 'traditional African State' to modern, democratic institutions. A new 'equilibrium' or model of political integration must come to grips with four factors of change: ethnopolitics, which calls for an enlarged 'traditional State' that embraces the new political and ethnic identities that have been formed since independence; war, which has increased in scale and violence, which is no longer predatory, but redressive, which is seen by the non-chiefly 'minorities' as a last resort to achieve independence from the chiefly elite, and which lacks a ritual resolution; religion and the corresponding changes as a result of education and Westernization which accompanied Christianity, on the one hand, and the movement towards a new Arab-influenced Islam, on the other; and land, on which both chiefly and non-chiefly peoples depend for their livelihood and which, according to current land tenure norms, is owned by the chiefs. For northern Ghana to reshape the traditional African State into a new form of democracy, a new equilibrium which does away with minorities, commoners and chiefs, leaving just citizens in their place, it needs a new religious and cultural integration, under inspired leadership, and with the international community lending a supporting hand. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]