Chieftaincy is Dead: Long Live Chieftaincy: Renewed Relevance of Chieftaincy in Postcolonial Ghana

Alhassan S. Anamzoya


In the 1950s and 60s when the modernization school was a popular paradigm, there was the general feeling across Africa that traditional institutions like chieftaincy would not be able to resist the forces of modernization as it swept across Africa. Many thus predicted the death of chieftaincy. However, chieftaincy survived into the post colonial era and found space within many postcolonial African states. One theoretical explanation that has become dominant in explaining the relations between chieftaincy and post-colonial African states is the theory of mixed government. In this article I draw examples from different countries on mixed government and then analyze the Ghanaian instance of mixed government. Data for this paper is based on extensive literature search, coupled with empirical data through observation and interviews. The conclusion of this paper is that the chieftaincy institution in post-colonial Africa, as shown in the case of Ghana, has a long life span

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