Chieftaincy‐state relations: making political legitimacy in Ghana’s fourth republic
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This thesis examines the role of chiefs and chieftaincy in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. It focuses on the interactions between chieftaincy, the state apparatus and society in areas of local government, land administration and democratic politics, using Hohoe and Kumasi as case studies. The central objective is to explore the legitimation processes of chiefs and chieftaincy, especially how chiefs in both areas seek to assert authority with respect to the state and society. By taking a closer look at how chiefs negotiate the modern political order, this research takes a position between those who see chieftaincy as an indigenous institution deserving recognition and protection, and those who view it as incompatible with the modern political dispensation. The research describes how a network of legal and informal strategies has influenced the ways in which state and chiefs interact. By focusing on this interaction, the thesis also reveals the on‐going legitimation processes at the local and national levels in Ghana with respect to chiefs and chieftaincy. The thesis reveals that even though both state actors and chiefs want, and are constitutionally obliged, to exercise political control in certain distinct ways, the reality is that neither is able to do so completely. To remain relevant, both the state and chieftaincy asserted a hybrid authority in their relation with society, thereby blurring the boundaries between their primary identities. Thus rather than establishing a ‘bifurcated state’, these processes revealed a ‘syncretic’ authority relations overlapping in ways that blend political norms, processes and rules associated with each.