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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Political vigilante groups in Ghana: violence or democracy?
Authors:Kyei, Justice R.K.O.
Berckmoes, Lidewyde H.ISNI
Year:2021
Periodical:Africa Spectrum (ISSN 0002-0397)
Volume:55
Issue:3
Pages:321-338
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:democracy
politics
vigilante groups
youth
External link:https://doi.org/10.1177/0002039720970957
Abstract:Literature on political vigilante groups has centred on the violence and conflict that emanate from their activities. This article approaches political vigilante groups as political actors who engage in political mobilisation and participation and therewith also contribute to nation state building. It explores how such groups participate in Ghana's democratic governance and asks whether violence is an inevitable characteristic. The article builds on individual in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with political vigilante group members in Kumasi and Tamale in 2019. Findings show that political vigilante 'youth' appeared to refer primarily to the social position attributed to non-elite groups in the political field. Political vigilante groups are multi-faceted in their organisational structures, membership, and activities both during electoral campaigns and during governing periods. While some groups revert to violence occasionally, the study concludes that political vigilante groups, in enabling different voices to be heard, are also contributing to democratic governance.
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