The dynamics of communal conflicts in Ghana's local government system : a case study of the Adaklu-Anyigbe conflict
AuthorGati, Noble Kwabla
The recent flaring up of conflicts along ethnic lines in various communities in the Ghanaian society is a source of worry among responsible politicians and citizens as it could threaten the relative peace and stability that the country seems to be enjoying. This study seeks to investigate the causes, processes of escalation and dynamics of recent emerging disputes over the creation of District Assemblies and location of district capitals in Ghana, using Adaklu-Anyigbe District as a case study. Government’s indecision about the location of the capital for the new Adaklu-Anyigbe District Assembly only triggered latent generational-long conflicts over issues of identity, traditional power struggles, socio-economic deprivation and underdevelopment between the contending communities. The psychological dispositions of the two communities conditioned by ethnic distinctions and historical experiences of Adaklu and Agotime explain the antagonistic approach adopted by the two groups towards the location of the district capital for the newly created Adaklu-Anyigbe District and partly account for the protracted nature of the dispute. State and semi-traditional institutional failures accounted for the escalation of the conflict in which the leaders of the contending communities mobilized their people along ethnic lines in order to assert what they believe was their socio-cultural, economic and political rights. Indeed, this study shows that the nature of interaction between the state and the local semi-traditional institutions are more of sources of conflict than cooperation in the Ghanaian society. Dispute surrounding the creation of new districts could be stemmed to some degree if effective institutional mechanisms are established to consciously involve local communities in the political decision-making processes. If semi-traditional institutions could be empowered and well resourced to strengthen their legitimacy they could serve as important institutions for resolving local level disputes. When state and traditional institutions fail to take political decisions in a transparent and democratic manner, and later fail to mediate conflict between groups in the attempt to allocate limited resources in society, the outcome is manifested through the escalation of latent generational conflicts, which have been sustained by fissiparous ethnic sentiments.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2008 The Author(s)
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