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Case study: Ghana

Cover image of Ghana case study report

Organization: West African Civil Society Institute (WACSI)

Title: Governance and Security in Ghana: the Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis

Ghana, like most post-colonial states, is a heterogeneous society characterized by the internal dualism of formal–informal, urban–countryside, and modern–traditional communities and institutions. Although hailed as a haven of peace and a beacon of democracy within Africa, Ghana remains vulnerable to intermittent communal violence and inter-ethnic conflicts that harm its governance and security structures. While the whole of Ghana is susceptible to civil strife, the northern half of the country has been the main hotbed of conflicts that often pivot around land ownership, chieftaincy, religious intolerance, and ethnocentrism. Finding a lasting solution to the conflicts in Northern Ghana has proven largely futile. 

The Dagbon chieftaincy conflict is one of the most retrogressive and protracted conflicts in Northern Ghana, dating back to the mid-19th century. This study seeks to establish the main explanation for the conflict; identify and evaluate the main actors and policies aimed at resolving the crisis; identify all stakeholders in the conflict and seek their views on the resolution of the crisis; and offer recommendations on ways forward.