Traditional leadership factor in modern local government system in Ghana: policy Implementation, role conflict and marginalization

  • KD Kessey Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana


The search for appropriate institutional framework for local governance and development has been a difficult task in Africa. Although Traditional Authorities are authentic and time-tested institutions of governance, their role has been politically, administratively, and financially marginalized since the introduction of modern local government system. The focus of this paper is the discussion on the various local government structures, policies and their marginalization strategies. The discussions include indirect rule, establishment of town councils, introduction of public treasuries, the first and second republican local government models and the decentralized system of government with creation of District Assemblies. Some of the strengths and weaknesses of the systems were discussed. The issue of local taxation and the bias of the revenue distribution formula against Traditional Councils are also discussed. The Stool Land Revenue (SLR) shared among Traditional Authorities (TAs) is only 7 per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund (Grants). The District Assemblies receive 55 per cent of the SLR plus DACF. The political structures, taxation authority, distribution of SLR, and Grants are used as tools to marginalize the traditional authorities. While the performance of some modern local government institutions, as agents of local development, is poor the development efforts of some Traditional Authorities at promoting education, health and environmental management, are highly commendable in Ghana. This indicates that Traditional Councils have potentials that are not fully harnessed due to marginalization. Modern local government stands to gain if Traditional Authorities become active partners and their potentials harnessed for development.

Keywords: traditional leadership, agglomeration, devolution, marginalization

Journal of Science and Technology Vol. 26(1) 2006: 76-88

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0855-0395