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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:An abandoned project? The nuances of chieftaincy, development and history in Ghana's Volta Region
Author:Nugent, PaulISNI
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law (ISSN 2305-9931)
Geographic terms:Ghana
Great Britain
indirect rule
External link:http://commission-on-legal-pluralism.com/volumes/37-38/nugent-art.pdf
Abstract:Drawing on 15-months fieldwork in 1985-1986, during which time he was attached to the household of Nana Soglo Allo III, the late Paramount Chief of Likpe Traditional Area, the author examines the nature and history of chieftaincy in what is now the Volta Region of Ghana. He argues that chieftaincy in the Volta Region was 'essentially fabricated' by the German and British colonial regimes. What often started out as useful village institutions were transformed into elaborate structures of indirect rule for the benefit of the colonial regimes, who were interested in control, and the various postcolonial governments, who were interested in control and 'development'. In order to achieve greater control, the British colonial State amalgamated forty-four divisional-level chieftaincies into four new 'States' headed by paramount chiefs. These 'amalgamations' were often made in disregard of historical relationsips or even ethnic and linguistic differences. The problems this generated have continued into the present. Through a number of anecdotes, the author argues that chiefs were often ineffective instruments of development for their areas during the 1970s, although they retained residual influence in some cases. He examines various options for chieftaincy roles in Ghana, concluding that while chieftaincy in the Volta Region is 'arguably indispensable at the village level, the rest of the structure may be too rickety to support anything more elaborate'. Bibliogr., notes, ref.