Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer, History and Political Studies

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Fellowship 2013
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History and Political Studies, University of Ghana
State Legitimacy, Political Conflict and Democratization

This study is about the "bitter political rivalry" that is characteristic of Ghanaian politics; a phenomenon which has generated a problem referred to as "bitter" political conflict in Ghanaian politics. This problem emanated in the political processes that led to Ghana's independence, and has since plagued the country's politics. It manifests itself in a virtual impossibility of the two main political traditions in Ghana to find common grounds on major national issues, and as well, the tendency for their supporters to resort to violence in response to major disagreements that appear in the political processes, especially those associated with the electoral processes. The violence takes the forms of verbal assaults and intermittent violent physical confrontations (Agyekum, 2004; WANEP, 2006; Frimpong, 2007). The study proceeds on an assumption that the Ghanaian state suffers from deficits of state legitimacy; that because the institutions associated with the post colonial Ghanaian state have not evolved historically from the indigenous political institutions of the land, the new state is not legitimate. (Englebert, 2000). The Ghanaian state thus remains disintegrated and an unformed nation (Gyimah-Boadi, 2003). The public's attitude towards politics (defined here in terms of elections; the mechanism by which the consent of the people translates into political power), and their role within the state, the political culture, is thus contingent on ethnicity. It is thus argued in this study that the political culture of the people of Ghana coincides with ethnic differences and that these differences provide Ghanaian politics with its bitter and enduring character (Almond et al., 2001). The study therefore seeks to test the proposition that deficits in legitimacy of the Ghanaian state (defined in terms of the Ghanaian public's attitude as operationalised above) are the main causes of the "bitter political conflict" in Ghanaian politics. This shall be done by critically examining the Ghanaian public's political part