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Nkrumah and the Chiefs: Contending Epistemologies of Democracy

Ezekiel Mkhwanazi


Although there was co-existence between chieftaincy and the post-colonial political state of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, chieftaincy continued to play a subsidiary role. This suggests that such a co-existence was not one of equals. The subordination of the chiefs by Nkrumah, and the over-exaltation of the institutions, based on the Westminster paradigm of governance, point to the underlying contestation between epistemologies of democracy represented by the chieftaincy and the modern political state. In this paper I argue that Nkrumah constructed a hierarchy of governance structure relegating the indigenous African practice of democracy to the lower level of the hierarchical structure. The argument explores the underlying epistemological conflict to this state of affairs.

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Journal on African Philosophy. ISSN: 1533-1067 (online).
Editor: Olufemi Taiwo.

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