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Democratic Governance and Conflict Resistance in Conflict-prone Societies : A Consociational Analysis of the Experiences of Ghana in West Africa (1992-2016)

Abstract : Abstract Conflicts are part and parcel of every societal endeavour. These conflicts however, become undesirable when they travel along the widening line of destruction of property and persons. Democracy is one mechanism aimed at regulating dissenting views and harmonising multi-group interests for successful, peaceful coexistence and national development. There is growing establishment in the literature that democratisation is very difficult, if not impossible, in pluralistic or multi-cleavage societies. To surmount this difficulty, consociationalism has been suggested as a panacea which allows formal equitable sharing of power and public resources among recognised facets of the plural society. Without this, it is assumed any attempt at democracy is most likely to crumble and fail. Ghana is a multi-ethnic country with at least 92 different ethnic groups which is seemingly defying the basic reasoning of consociational democratisation because it has successfully practised democracy for over 25 years without necessarily adopting formal consociational models. This thesis situated Ghana within this theoretical context and examined the reasons behind Ghana’s democratic success despite the theoretical deviation from consociationalism. Mixed-method approach was adopted in the study, and 542 respondents were purposefully selected for observation. Data gathered through interview and questionnaire administration revealed that Ghana has not experienced nation-wide violent conflicts in spite of the dotted conflicts across the country due to the very nature of its internal conflicts; thus circumscribed by the geographical, issue, and actor-based circumstances. Second, the study found that despite the existence of multiple social cleavages in Ghana, social interaction among the people places emphasis on crosscutting ties that exist among them, than on the cleavages that divide them even if cleavage awareness is high in Ghanaian society. In addition, constitutional framework for democratisation in Ghana formerly enshrines national interest above cleavage interests and prohibits political organisations based on cleavages. The study recommends that more attention be paid to peace education across the country by formally involving both relevant formal and informal traditional and modern institutions at the basic level of society in this peace education process. It is also imperative to address as a matter of urgency the root causes of the myriad of conflicts that span the length and breadth of the country for their sustainable resolution to enhance peaceful democratisation. Politicians should avoid meddling in local conflicts and allow the institutional frameworks established by the Ghanaian democratic system to deal decisively with conflict issues
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Halidu Musah. Democratic Governance and Conflict Resistance in Conflict-prone Societies : A Consociational Analysis of the Experiences of Ghana in West Africa (1992-2016). Political science. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0411⟩. ⟨tel-03092255⟩

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