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Erasmus Universiteit (2007)

The politics of conflict transformation in -Ghana’s northern region : The Role of NGOs

Wumbla, Ben Kasimu

Titre : The politics of conflict transformation in -Ghana’s northern region : The Role of NGOs

Auteur : Wumbla, Ben Kasimu

Université de soutenance : Erasmus Universiteit


Ghana is an ostensibly a peaceful state ; yet its northern region in particular and the whole of the ’north’ in general is beset with violent conflicts which are characterized by both intra/inter-ethnic warfare. These conflicts cannot simply be ignored. It seems the state has failed to impartially mediate to find a sustainable panacea to the conflicts. This created a space for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), generally tagged as politically neutral interlocutors, to directly engage in transforming the conflicts into a form that engenders peaceful and constructive cohabitation among the different ethnic groups in the region. The central tasks of this research is therefore to investigate ·whether the involvement of NGOs in conflict transformation in the Northern Region has a potential to end the violence or it was a cynical and self-interested manoeuvre by the state to cede off some of its core functions and responsibilities onto NGOs. Conflict transformation is unavoidably a political issue and requires political decisions to address them. But in these days of neo liberal triumphalism, the state’s role is reduced to only the core functions. Even more disturbing these days is that, some of the core responsibilities of the state - provision of security, it seems, though implicit, are getting privatized especially with NGOs engaging in conflict transformation beyond their traditional role of relief services provision. Particularly central to this study also is to explore and understand how NGOs engage in conflict transformation and whether they facilitate or inhibit conflict transformation. It is also in the interest of this paper to investigate why the conflicts are difficult to resolve despite both the state and the NGOs interventions. I argue that conflict transformation is inherently political and NGOs will be largely influenced by their donors’ interests or become state bandwagons in their practice rather than transforming the conflicts into a form likely to engender development.


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