The Competing Interests of Local Political Actors in the Making of Local Government in Ghana
There have been enormous institutional reforms in the Ghanaian local public administration with the stated aim of the active participation of local actors in the development of decision-making. Yet the institution-building discourse and practice do not often emphasize the role of local political actors in the institution-building and development processes. Indeed, the roles played by these local political actors, viz. assembly members, who shape and negotiate the institutional reform processes have not been properly explained and our understanding on how they influence the task of the local administration remains limited. This paper analyzes the roles played by these actors and the extent to which they shape the local public administration and its institution-building processes. Empirical data from two local government structures in Ghana show how these local political actors, straddling between the twilight of their private-political interests and the local administrative structures, exert pressure, lobby but also contest bureaucrats who perform the everyday tasks of their local governments. This complex interaction of actors and their interests makes the tasks of the local public administration difficult and the very idea of institutional change remains increasingly problematic.
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