Identity Crisis and Inter-Ethnic Conflicts in Northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana

  • John Gasu
Keywords: Identity, Conflict, Kusasi, Mamprusi, Konkomba


The paper examines conflicts in Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana from the perspective of identity crisis in an ethnically heterogeneous section of the country. Notwithstanding the long periods of co-existence among the heterogeneous ethnic groups the melting pot effect has not emerged as attachment to primordial identity lines still prevail. This is most manifested between the traditionally acephalous societies and the chiefly societies. The relationship between these two societies has been antagonistic, especially as the acephalous societies seem to be besieged with identity crisis. The rejection of the chiefly hegemony is at the root of the identity conflicts. The cases examined in this paper illustrate two of such ‘wars of emancipation’ but with differential results. Whereas the Kusasi had been ‘successful’ in wrestling out of the chiefly hegemonic control of the Mamprusi, the Konkomba have not been all that successful against their antagonists. In both situations, however, the acephalous societies tend to slough off their past ‘anarchic’, systems to adopt and/or adapt the chiefly political culture. This adaptation has become the mode of assertion to redress the low social categorisation of the acephalous societies. It is concluded that observance of peace in two areas continue to be tedious as primordial cleavages are still alive. It is thus recommended, among others that the National Peace Council should work with stakeholders to sustain peace.

Keywords: Identity, Conflict, Kusasi, Mamprusi, Konkomba


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eISSN: 0855-6768