Abstracts

Youth Participation in Local and National Development Planning in Ghana, ca. 1620 – 2013 by Ransford Gyampo and Franklin Obeng-Odoom* 

 

While there has been a long tradition in development studies on analyzing types of participation and their effectiveness, the idea that participation is not stationary, but that it can evolve with variegated experiences is relatively unexplored. This paper takes up the challenge of showing how participation in development planning can change, the role of underlying institutions, and the implications of evolutionary participatory development for policy making. It uses a critical postcolonial approach and zooms in on the role of the youth in development planning in Ghana. It knits together the diverse processes and dynamics of youth participation in postcolonial Ghana since the pre-colonial era, and teases out implications of these ‘participation moments’, particularly, current moments, for national development in Ghana.1  

 

*Ransford Gyampo is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science of the University of Ghana and a Research Fellow at the Governance Centre of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Ghana). * Franklin Obeng-Odoom is based at the School of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia where he is the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow. 


Peacemaking or Pacification for the Pool: The Restoration of State Authority in a Rebellious Region of Congo-Brazzaville 

 By 

 

John F. Clark and Brett Carter 

 

Congo (Brazzaville) has experienced a succession of periods of civil violence that has included an outbreak of ethno-political killing in 1993-1994, two full scale civil wars in 1997 and 1998-1999, and another round of regional rebellion in 2002-2003.  Since 2003, the Pool region, site of the last round of serious fighting, has often been the scene of continuing episodes of banditry and corollary government crackdowns.  The civil war of 1997 brought back to power Denis 

Sassou-Nguesso, Congo’s ruler under a nominally Marxist regime between 1979 and 1991.  Since 1997, Sassou has operated as an “electoral authoritarian” ruler; that is, he stages regular elections under a multiparty constitution, while manipulating both the law and the political opposition to assure his personal dominance.  Sassou did not fully consolidate his military grip over the country’s territory until the second civil war, during which he eradicated the military opposition to his regime, and terrorized the southern population into submission.  The rebellion in the Pool region in 2002-2003 served as a reminder, however, that one large Congolese ethnicity was not yet pacified, the Lari of Pool region.  That rebellion was nominally ended through intensive negotiations, as well as a heavy dose of military repression.  Since the end of the rebellion, the Congolese government has tried to project an image that it has engaged in sustained and genuine peacebuilding in Pool.  The most engaged elements of the international community have tried to facilitate peacebuilding in the Pool, most notably through disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs, but they have also unintentionally contributed to the illusion of reconciliation. The reality is one of “pacification” through violence and repression in Pool, setting up the region for another round of violence at the inevitable future moment that Sassou’s grip on power wavers.2 

 John F. Clark is at Florida International University.

 Brett Carter is at Harvard University 


The Management of Elections in Namibia: An Appraisal By  Dr. Lesley Blaauw* 

 

Namibia’s accession to independence in 1990 culminated in the holding of elections in November 1989. What was called the ‘independence elections’ was supervised by the United Nations (UN) and occurred in an ‘expectant’ and almost carnival-like atmosphere. The outcome of the 1989 elections was accepted by all contending parties. In the aftermath of independence, an electoral commission established in 1992 had the primary purpose of managing elections in Namibia. During the first decade of independence, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) was successful in arranging National Assembly elections in both 1994 and 1999. While minor problems were reported by the opposition, the outcomes of these two elections were not as contested as the elections held in Namibia since that time. Despite successive reforms to the Electoral Act of 1992, the election results of both 2004 and 2009 were contested in court by the opposition. The recurrence of electoral administrative mistakes suggests that Namibia needs a new and comprehensive Electoral Act that addresses the problems experienced in 2004 and 2009. Failure to address the electoral administrative deficiencies will not undermine effective and efficient electoral governance only, but the consolidation of democracy as well.3  

 Lesley Blaauw is in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies University of Namibia


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