Ethnonationalism versus political nationalism in Ghanaian electoral politics 1996-2000
In a nation-state, ethnonationalism and political nationalism equate with each other in both theory and practice. In a multinational state, the mutual antagonisms between the two forms of nationalism demonstrate. In multinational states such as Ghana where "politics of the belly" prevails, ethnonationalism is the political nationalism, and more the substance rather than style of politics. This is the paradox within the rationality of Ghanaian politics. Owing to the modernising and integrative factors associated with urbanisation, urbanites are notioned to be detribalised and more prone towards political nationalism than ethnonationalism. A survey on the political attitudes of supposedly detribalised Ghanaian urbanites would reveal that urbanites, although geographically detribalised, are not so attitudinally, and for most, association with their ethnonational roots grew stronger with length of urban experience, even if there is no proof of a direct relationship between the two, or between association with roots and ethnonationalism. Ethnonationalism results from "politics of the belly", and subsequently, the postcolonial nation-state project, which seeks to integrate a heterogeneity of ethnonational identities submerged under single statehood, becomes a chore as a result. The thesis argues that identity perceptions among Ghanaians, vis-a-vis fellow multinational citizens, are influenced by the immediate political history as well as distant myths of origin, and that, an accentuation of current enmities between various ethnonational groups enhances the invocation of myths of origin to explain the present. The anthropological proof that majority of Modern Ghana are traceable to Ancient Ghana, except Ewes and CTMs', offers an explanation to: (a) modem heightened animosities between Akans and Ewes, even though there is no evidence of enmity between the two groups in the distant history, and; (b) the perception by some, that Ewes are not "native" Ghanaians. The thesis highlights the overall effects of citizens' identity perceptions on political actions and trends in Ghana. The thesis contributes that, there is a wider, more inclusive Guan ancestry and perception for the majority of Ghanaians than any current, exclusive, "latter-day" Guan identity, and that, the adoption of the name "Ghana" for the postcolonial state has more to do with anthropology than political fantasy. Both the Ghana hypothesis and Guan controversy are thereby explained. The thesis also discusses past agitation by non-Ewe groups in the Volta Region of Ghana for a separate Region, as well as the case for pan-Eweist irredentism in the West African sub-region. The scope of the thesis is broad, encapsulating theorising on the doctrine of nationalism, and assessing the extent of its global applicability. The essential Eurocentricity of the doctrine is exposed, as well as its subsequent inapplicability to several pre-l 8th century nations in Africa, for example the Fanti and Ashanti. The thesis further contributes that Ghanaian spouses tended to conceal their political views from each other, the ratio weighing against the female gender. The research involved methodological innovation, utilising a computerised technique to circumvent the `culture of silence 'Z and potential negative response to postal questionnaire method. The innovative strategy ensured anonymity, confidentiality and express delivery, and has positive application for societies with limited freedom of political expression.