Chapter

Decolonisation and Local Government Reform

Lentz Carola

in Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748624010
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652969 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624010.003.0008
Decolonisation and Local Government Reform

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This chapter explores how local and national politics intertwined in North-Western Ghana during the decolonisation period, and considers the complex interplay between elements of continuity and change resulting from new linkages with national power blocks. Conflicts over landownership, political authority, local citizenship and taxes, which had first become manifest upon the introduction of indirect rule, set in anew under local government reform. At the heart of these debates were three controversial issues: the relationship between earth-shrine parishes and chiefdoms; the role that the distinctions between first-comers and late-comers, between landowners and settlers, should play in the new political order; and the disputes that arose over the political authority to which farmers who continued to farm in more than one locality should pay their taxes. In all these debates, ethnicity continued to serve as a basis for legitimating administrative boundaries and political rights, though ethnic identities were (re-)defined more narrowly or widely by local actors according to their political interests.

Keywords: North-Western Ghana; politics; decolonisation; landownership; political authority; local citizenship; taxes; local government reform; earth-shrine parishes; chiefdoms

Chapter.  10622 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies

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