Grounding with the People: Participatory Policy Making in the Context of Constitution Review in Ghana

  •  Michael Kpessa    
  •  Raymond Atuguba    


Ghana has been experimenting with the participatory policy making approach that allows citizenry engagement in the formulation and implementation of public policies in recent times. In many ways the approach enhances the opportunity structures for consolidating the country’s democratic credentials by allowing citizens to share in the ownership of governance decisions. In this paper, we draw illustrations from the participatory strategies used by an adhoc body known as the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) established to study and make recommendations for the amendment of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution. The paper shows that although the idea of citizenry participation has intrinsic nation-building value for which reason it can be instrumental in kneading multi-ethnic countries together, paradoxically, against the innovative and comprehensive strategies adopted by the CRC, the approach was hindered by a series of inherent challenges that serve to perpetuate existing socio-political inequalities by privileging educated, urban, and relatively organized Ghanaians over their underprivileged and traditionally marginalized counterparts, especially those in the rural areas.

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