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Title:Populist Reform Coalitions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana's Triple Alliance
Author:Oelbaum, Jay
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
Politics and Government
Abstract:This article explores the broader applicability of the Gibson-Moore model, developed to explain the success of neoliberal populist regimes in Latin America and subsequently extended to South Asia, to the Rawlings government in Ghana. Ghana's election results and the patterns of clientelist electoral mobilization suggest very strong similarities with the peripheral populist segments described in the Gibson-Moore model. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has constructed a peripheral coalition, including traditional authorities, local government units, and quasi corporatist or liturgical NGOs such as the 31 December Women's Movement, much like those described in the Gibson-Moore model. However Ghana's de facto metropolitan component, a 'triple alliance' of international financial institutions, notably the World Bank and the IMF, Malaysian capitalists and the Malaysian Head of State, and the President's inner circle, is dissimilar. The sway of technocratic norms is diminishing and the promised efficiency gains from divestiture and outsourcing are likewise compromised in a heavily politicized exercise. The NDC's informal alliance with external agents also inhibits the development of Ghana's domestic capitalist class. Despite the rhetoric of change, deeply institutionalized neopatrimonial processes remain central in Ghanaian political life. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.