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ASSESSMENT ON IMPILICATION OF IDENTITY POLITICS IN GHANA DEMOCRACY

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ASSESSMENT ON IMPILICATION OF IDENTITY POLITICS IN GHANA DEMOCRACY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Identity groups hold a precarious position inside a democratic system. Critics highlight the extent to which group identities restrict rather than emancipate individuals. Dinas (2022) explained that when individuals are categorize based on their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or disability, they are subjected to stereotyping and deprived of the unique qualities and freedom to associate with any group they choose. When individuals personally associate with certain racial, ethnic, or religious groups, they frequently acquire animosity towards other groups and a belief in their own superiority. Groups sometimes engage in fierce competition, prioritizing their group's dominance over fairness and even peace.

According to contemporary identity theory, there is a dynamic relationship between cognitive processes and social or cultural factors (Meyer et al., 2019). The current understanding of 'identity' emphasizes that social categories are formed based on an individual's self-respect. One of the many social identities that individuals develop as they become part of different groups is a political identity. Political identity according  Maniam & Smith, (2017) is a type of social or group identification. Ideally, it is based on ideology and assumes belonging to political groupings that are considered insiders, rather than political groups such as parties, movements, or nation-states that are considered outsiders. It can also be interpreted as a political strategy in which individuals belonging to a specific gender, religion, race, social background, class, or other distinguishing characteristics, formulate political objectives that stem from theoretical frameworks of interconnected systems of oppression that may impact their lives and originate from their diverse identities (Garza, 2019).

Since Ghana gained independence in 1957, no political party has ever been elected to govern without appealing to populism and patriotic sentiment, especially among the floating voters (Ibid, 2009). Several military takeovers in Ghana lacked legitimacy from the sovereign populace, save for potential backing from select interest groups, influential politicians, and civilians (Agomor, 2019). This study does not focus on the type of legitimacy derived from competitive politics, elections, and the manipulation of people's sentiments towards ethnic and political party nationalism, which prioritises identity politics. However, after power is obtained via transparent, just, and trustworthy elections, and the newly elected lawmakers are inaugurated on the 6th of January every four years, followed by the President on the 7th of January of the same year, these two groups of politicians constitute the new "political establishment".  Parliamentarians and political appointees quickly abandon any populist or communitarian tendencies in favour of elitist, self-imposed social exclusions, and identitarian attire (Osei, 2023). Politicians often justify building silos around themselves when they become the "political establishment" by claiming that it provides protection for those who are related to them by blood, tribe, ethnicity, political affiliation, or religious connections. This is done by limiting access to unrelated individuals (McCauley, 2016). Considering the ongoing development of political identity, it is important to recognize that the creation of identity is unavoidable in any social context and  hence of significant implication for democratic sustainability. 

1.2 Statement of the problem

Unarguably, identity politics is a complicated social phenomenon which appears to be employed by both political parties in ways that the average voter or party supporter may not probably ever understand how it works against his or her interest, without more. It appears to be a diabolical approach to party politics within the same party and against the members of the same party. When it comes to the effect on non-party members, or the members of the opposition, it is a concept that is used in both reprehensible and unconstitutional way to intimidate, and frustrates the individual goals of others and to starve of competition, opportunity and equal rights and justice. Ishmael and Norman (2023)averred that identity politics diminishes patriotism over time, even among party supporters who feel neglected and devalued due to exclusionary tactics and erection of silos to limit the exposure of the political leader of the party to as fewer group of people as possible in order to ensure the redistribution of wealth, jobs, positions and opportunities to only those recognized by the Flag-bearer or the President of the Party. This development makes mockery of the so-called pluralistic political party system being run by Ghana, and the deepening of democracy in Ghana

Currently, Ghana is seeing substantial shifts in voting trends and the allocation of political positions.There have been several clear instances where the ruling party has flagrantly disregarded the principles of legal governance. Examples include the occurrence of election violence during the Ayawaso-West Wuogon By-election in 2019, as well as the appointment of individuals who are either children, former romantic partners, or relatives of the current President of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo. Instances of human rights violations have taken place in Ejura, where government agents have unlawfully killed social activists who were exercising their right to resist illegal orders in 2021. Additionally, there have been cases of denying the fundamental needs of the population, such as the absence of basic classroom facilities in district and rural schools. Furthermore, there has been a promotion of preferential treatment by the political elite and their associates, as highlighted in the Ejura Commission of Inquiry Report (2021), Agomor (2019),.

Bizarrely, the political party elites seem to have reached the conclusion that the majority of Ghanaian lack moral and actual strength, or are excessively focused on pretentiousness and religiosity. They believe that these individuals still perceive their political representatives as heroic figures, driven by honour, altruism, and a commitment to public service, despite the fact that the constituencies they represent lack basic social amenities such as good and accessible roads, a proper garbage collection system, and a waste disposal ritual to maintain a clean environment (Kobina-Kennedy, 2019).Amidst the futile political clamour, nationalism and democracy are being driven towards the verge of annihilation, causing cognitive dissonance among the populace and resulting in personal irritation, bewilderment, and a dearth of national identity (Kobina-Kennedy, 2019). The paper aims to examine the implications of identity politics in Ghanaian democracy.

1.3       Objective of the study

The aim of this study is focused on implication of identity politics in ghana democracy. Specifically, the study seeks to:

i.          Find out the level at which which identity politics prevail during presidential elections in Ghana

ii.        Ascertain whether identity politics was a deciding factor to who gets elected into what political position

iii.      Determine whether appointment into public offices is influenced by identity politics

iv.      Investigate the implication of identity politics on democratic consolidation .

1.4 Research Questions

i.          What is the extent  at which which identity politics prevail during presidential elections in Ghana?

ii.        Does  identity politics was a deciding factor to who gets elected into what political position?

iii.      Are  appointment into public offices is influenced by identity politics?

iv.      What is  the implication of identity politics on democratic consolidation?

1.5Research Hypotheses

Ho: There are no significant implication of identity politics on democratic consolidation

Hi: There are is significant implication of identity politics on democratic consolidation

!.6        Significance of the study

This research is significant in such a way that it electoral bodies, civil societies, and non-state actors through the result of the study would develop a framework spearheaded to strengthen democracy by mounting vigorous campaigns to educate and guide the identity formation in Ghana society. Knowing that identity politics is capably of steering up ethnic tensions in the country, as a result government by the findings of the study will be encourage to find a way of ensuring that all ethnic groups are adequately represented in government in other the minimize the detrimental effects of ethnic identity politics in future Ghana elections. Empirically, the study will contribute to body of knowledge and serve as a reference material to student and scholars who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.

1.7       Scope of the study

The scope of this study borders o on implication of identity politics in ghana democracy. .  The study further discussed whether identity politics was a deciding factor to who gets elected into what political position and determine whether appointment into public offices is influenced by identity politics The study will draw its participant from colleges of education  in the Western region part of Ghana.

1.8  Limitation of the study

The researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that political discourse is vast thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only potential voters in Western Region Ghana .  Thus findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for  other District within Ghana. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit,

despite the constraint  encountered during the  research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Election: An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office. 

Political identity: Identity politics is politics based on a particular identity, such as race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social background. It is a form of social identity marking membership of certain groups that share a common struggle for a certain form of power. 


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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