Competition For Political Power Intense Research Fellow

A Research Fellow at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Mr Awal Mohammed has noted that competition for power in Ghana has become increasingly intense, especially in cities with more resources at the government’s disposal.

He added that the various political parties in the urban areas are highly sophisticated and also have the techniques to mobilise resources and support than their counterparts in the rural areas.

Speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘Who really governs urban Ghana’, Mr Mohammed predicted that slums will continue to play a very crucial role in Ghanaian politics because they create opportunities for politicians, entrepreneurs, traditional rulers and community leaders.

He noted that the democratisation of the system has generated intense competition between ruling and opposition coalitions and has weakened institutions, which have led to poor commitment to effective devolution.

He explained that democratisation has encouraged the ruling elite to purse short-term strategies to win elections, at the expense of long-term policy choices that might deliver inclusive economic growth to migrate inequality, unemployment and poverty reduction.

He further added that under the current system of decentralised governance, citizens, particularly the poor, are limited in their ability to influence policy, monitor government and hold it accountable.

“Local assembly representatives are not supposed to be political but have close ties to political parties and party priorities, often direct resources into election campaigns rather than investing in roads, streetlights or other public goods,” he said.

Also, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Dr Jeffrey Paller mentioned that 70 per cent of Africans will live in cities by 2050 and the continent’s urban population will grow by 473 per cent. 

He explained that although political clientelism and the role of informal institutions were deepening alongside the strengthening of formal democratic institutions, the way that urban neighbourhoods were really governed, how informal networks interacted with formal politics and how citizens held their leaders to account were too often overlooked.

“Ghana, the report noted, has urbanised rapidly since 1984, and urban population has increased from 4 to 14 million, with an estimated 5.5 million, representing 39 per cent, living in slums,” he added.