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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ideology, Regionalism, Self-Interest and Tradition: An Investigation into Contemporary Politics in Northern Ghana
Authors:Kelly, BobISNI
Bening, R.B.ISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Ghana
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/afr.2007.77.2.180
Abstract:This article focuses on three concerns: 1) the historical and contemporary distinctiveness of the 'north' from the rest of Ghana; 2) the extent to which the 'north' is itself a distinct and united political entity; and 3) the relevance to the area of competing analyses of Ghanaian politics which emphasize: the continuing importance of a distinct 'northern' political consciousness; the role of competing Ghanaian political traditions based on ideology and related socioeconomic divisions; the growth of conscious 'self-interest' on the part of individual voters; and the continued significance of local loyalties and rivalries, many of which pre-date the arrival of the British to the area. The article argues that while no monocausal analysis of northern politics is adequate, long-standing internal divisions and rivalries, and distinct local issues have been highly significant in determining the characteristics of its politics. It further suggests that whilst individual self-interest and ideological and related differences have some role in determining the political sympathies and allegiances of members of the political elite, their independent role in determining voting patterns at the local level is limited. The article focuses on evidence gleaned from the 2004 elections, but there are potentially serious limitations on the value of this source. In the first place it may be that electoral malpractice and various forms of vote rigging provide a distorted picture of what actually took place, although the general impression was of a free, fair and credible election. Of more real significance, however, are the implicit features of an election - votes are aggregated so that we do not know the motivation behind individual voters' selections. It is the contention here that underlying issues and actual electoral issues are not congruent; only in a limited number of areas in the north did the underlying issues dominate the electoral outcome. It is, however, the potential for long-standing local divisions and loyalties to do so that is still significant today - and likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. App., bibliogr., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]