Ghana break up 4 administrative areas between June 2017 and February 2019 to create six new ones. The method proceeded calmly in some areas, however was so contentious in others that the federal government needed to deploy safety forces to stop clashes. Ultimately, all six areas have been created.The conflicts have been sudden. Not like in different African international locations, equivalent to Ethiopia or Nigeria the place areas have some autonomy, areas in Ghana don’t have any political autonomy. So the creation of latest areas wouldn’t have resulted in a loss or acquire in native political autonomy for the affected areas. What triggered the battle then?
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To discover this, I performed analysis, evaluating the brand new areas based mostly on plenty of elements. These included voting preferences, demographic profiles and whose voices dominated through the separation course of. To offer historic context to the analysis, I drew on Ghana’s historical past by analyzing the 1959 break up of the Ashanti area to create Brong Ahafo. That was the primary creation of a brand new area after Ghana’s independence in 1957.
I discovered that conflicts have been most certainly to happen within the areas the place:
the inhabitants helps the primary opposition celebration;
there are conventional leaders who’re competing on both facet of the separated area; and
the competition is in regards to the loss or acquire of conventional authority or affect.
So, even when there isn’t any precise political energy being disturbed by the division of territories on the native degree, there are folks or teams whose pursuits are affected. This raises the danger of the separation triggering battle. Ghana and different central governments throughout Africa ought to take heed. Typically, as seen in Uganda and Kenya, central governments divide territories with out contemplating the native pursuits at play.
Dominant conventional figures in contest over conventional affect
I discovered that conflicts occurred when conventional leaders supported or opposed the proposed break up of an space into two administrative areas.
As an illustration, when the Northern area was being break up to kind the North East area, the Ya-Na (overlord of the Dagbon conventional territory) opposed the method getting used to separate it. The Na-Yiri (the overlord of the Mamprugu conventional territory supported it.
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The Ya-Na opposed the method of the break up as a result of it will have resulted in a part of Dagbon territory (Chereponi) being hived off onto an administration dominated by the Mamprugus (topics of the Na-Yiri). The Ya-Na and different Dagbon chiefs petitioned the federal government towards the slicing off of Chereponi. The Dagbon youth additionally protested towards the separation.
The Na-Yiri council supported the addition of Chereponi to the brand new administrative area as a result of they wanted the brand new territory to satisfy the standards for the institution of a brand new area.
There’s ample proof that when districts in Ghana are separated, the political celebration that’s in energy on the time performs higher in elections. My analysis interviewees additionally mentioned these advantages have occurred in historical past with the creation of the Higher West area in 1983.
It is because the folks within the newly created territories really feel they’ve been granted their “independence”, which motivates them to vote for the ruling celebration. The creation of a brand new administrative area usually comes with new facilities and infrastructure, equivalent to roads to enhance the brand new area’s developmental profile. Additionally, the brand new area will get administrative workplaces, which creates employment alternatives for locals.
The electoral advantages for the governing celebration clarify why the primary opposition usually opposes the creation of a brand new administrative area. That is most pronounced when the area that’s being break up is the opposition celebration’s stronghold. As an illustration, through the break up of the Volta area, the primary opposition celebration’s parliamentary group boycotted the controversy in parliament.
I additionally discovered that the proposed creation of a brand new administrative area can exacerbate present pressure. A superb instance is the case of the Homeland Research Group Basis, which opposed the break up of the Volta administrative area.
The inspiration has lengthy campaigned for the secession of the ethnic Eweland from Ghana to create what they name Western Togoland.
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The inspiration opposed the separation as a result of they have been involved it will have an effect on their secession marketing campaign. They submitted petitions to the nation’s fee of inquiry to protest the separation. When this failed, the group warned the Ghanaian authorities not to remove their lands.
Future concerns – administrative
The creation of administrative areas will not be a standard incidence in Ghana due to the cumbersome referendum course of. What does happen frequently is the creation of districts. Districts are the following decrease degree to areas. Not like areas, the creation of districts in Ghana doesn’t undergo a strict constitutional referendum.
The teachings drawn from my research could be helpful for managing district creation processes.
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These managing the method for the creation of districts ought to pay shut consideration to which kinds of stakeholders they seek the advice of. This might assist them determine contentious points and give you concepts on how finest to reframe these. Doing this might provide a greater probability of mitigating these conflicts sooner or later.
Article by Dennis Penu. Analysis Fellow, Worldwide Institute of Social Research
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