Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana

By Carola Lentz | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

During my last visit to Ghana, I found all my friends and acquaintances avidly discussing the results of the December 2004 presidential and parliamentary elections and the appointments of ministers, ambassadors and district chief executives that would follow. Why had the candidates of the NDC (National Democratic Congress), the once ruling, but now oppositional party won such a clear majority in the North, specifically in the Upper West Region? How had the three serving NDC parliamentarians from the former Lawra District managed to get re-elected, even though, as some of my interlocutors believed, the governing NPP (New Patriotic Party) was in a much better position to promote the interests of their constituencies? What role did money, the NDC party apparatus and the voluntary associations established by the Rawlings government play in all this? Did the NDC still profit from policies introduced by Rawlings that established the Upper West Region and brought electricity and roads to the area? Was the NPP still disadvantaged by its image as an ‘Ashanti’ party, a fact that would hurt its appeal among Northern migrants in the South, subject as they were to discrimination at the hands of just this group? The educated elite, too, according to some of my friends, bore a grudge against the NPP, because President Kufuor had complained about a supposed lack of qualified politicians from the Upper West and had only co-opted into his government representatives from this area rather late. Now the question remained whether Kufuor would punish the region for its ‘loyalty’ to the NDC, or whether representatives nevertheless would be included in his new administration. The elections, then, raised many questions and sparked moral narratives regarding political representation, participation and the just distribution of national resources. The issues debated included the position of Northerners and Upper Westerners in the national arena; the degree to which the various Upper Western districts and ethnic groups were represented in the regional government (was this appropriate, or were they perhaps over-represented?); and discussions as to whether local parliamentary candidates were competent and whether they were the legitimate representatives of their constituencies in the national parliament.

In these discussions and in the political jockeying over government

-275-

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Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps and Plates vi
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The North-West in the Nineteenth Century 14
  • 2 - The Introduction of Chieftaincy 33
  • 3 - The Discursive Creation of Ethnicity 72
  • 4 - The Lawra Confederacy Native Authority 104
  • 5 - Labour Migration, Home-Ties and Ethnicity 138
  • 6 - ‘Light over the Volta’- The Mission of the White Fathers 153
  • 7 - Decolonisation and Local Government Reform 175
  • 8 - ‘The Time When Politics Came’- Party Politics and Local Conflict 199
  • 9 - Ethnic Movements and Special-Interest Politics 228
  • 10 - The Cultural Work of Ethnicity 252
  • Epilogue 275
  • Notes 280
  • Abbreviations 322
  • Glossary 323
  • Divisional (Paramount) Chiefs of Lawra District 324
  • References 325
  • Index 337
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