Deepening decentralisation through non-partisan district assembly system in Ghana

  • R Adamtey
Keywords: Decentralisation, devolution, district assembly, informal ties, Ghana


There is no consensus among scholars as to whether competitive partisan elections at Ghana’s district assembly level can help deepen the country’s decentralization system. It remains unclear whether a non-partisan district Assembly can work in Ghana. To address this issue, extensive qualitative interviews were conducted with local government officers in five municipalities. An in-depth analysis of the legal framework within which decentralisation reforms are implemented was also undertaken. The study found that a non-partisan district Assembly system seems more of an illusion than reality due to the enduring strength of informal ties, heavy politicization of the district assemblies and numerous challenges confronting the Assembly members. In addition, the constitution still empowers the president to appoint District Chief Executives and one third of the membership of the district assemblies. It is recommended that in order to deepen the country’s democracy, the legal framework need to be revised for competitive partisan elections to be pursued and Assembly members must be paid for their work.

Keywords: Decentralisation, devolution, district assembly, informal ties, Ghana


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eISSN: 0855-0395