Civil Society and the Consolidation of Democracy in Ghana’s Fourth Republic
This study set out to investigate activities of civil society organisations (CSOs) and how they have promoted democratic consolidation in Ghana. Specifically, it assessed the contributions of three independent policy think tanks, the Institute of Economic of Affairs (IEA), the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) to the deepening of Ghana’s democracy.
The study adopted a qualitative method and the author interviewed one hundred and sixty respondents on the key issues. The study found that CSOs in Ghana have promoted the integrity of Ghana’s election by observing every stage of Ghana’s electoral process. They have also advocated policy changes in some key governmental social and economic policies including the passage of the Disability and the Freedom to Information Act. In particular, the IEA, CDD and IDEG have inculcated democratic values of civic participation, political engagement and tolerance in the population thereby promoting democratic citizenship. The study also found that CSOs faced challenges as far as funding is concerned and this affects the attraction and retention of experts. Moreover, this challenge hinders the implementation of some of their major programs. There is also the perception in Ghana that CSOs exist to pursue their parochial interests. It is noted in this article that, if CSOs are to contribute to democracy in Ghana, it may be necessary for their capacity to be strengthened in areas such as technical and human resources. In particular, this will enable them to improve their advocacy in policy issues that promote accountability and transparency.