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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Political involvement in a democratizing neopatrimonial polity: the case of Ghana, 1992-2000
Author:Aidoo, Thomas Maxwell
Periodical:Research Review (ISSN 0855-4412)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Ghana
West Africa
Subjects:political systems
political participation
Political leadership
Patronage, Political
Ghana--Politics and government
Abstract:Political scientists and Africa's development partners have suggested more democratization and good governance as a means of bringing Africa out of underdevelopment. This paper draws on the Ghanaian experience of re-democratization in 1992 to reflect upon the efficacy of this route. The underlying assumption is that, notwithstanding re-democratization in 1992, issue participation in Ghana remains low, and ingrained informal institutions of neopatrimonial governance bear a heavy, though far from exclusive, responsibility. The study uses as a primary data source survey conducted in five administrative regions of Ghana between October 2002 and February 2003. Three key findings are made. First, political participation beyond elections (i.e. issue politics) is low in Ghana. Second, informal institutions of neopatrimonial governance are deep-seated and pervasive. Finally, there is a strong correlation between neopatrimonialism and political participation. Significantly, the study finds that neopatrimonialism accounts for about two-thirds of the low rates and levels of issue politics in Africa. A major conclusion of the paper is that rather than stimulate a participatory explosion, re-democratization seems to have contributed to the reproduction of neopatrimonialism. The conclusion is drawn that the amplification of neopatrimonialism dims political participation, whilst a reduction in neopatrimonialism would create political space and augment issue politics in Africa. Bibliogr., ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]