Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Gloria Billingsley


Ethnic conflicts persist in Ghana despite the efforts of governments to resolve them. Governments are increasingly concerned not only about their massive human rights abuses and wide-scale destruction of property that characterize these conflicts, but also the difficulty of resolving them and restoring permanent peace. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to provide a deeper understanding of the processes and mechanisms of transitional justice implemented in Dagbon after war broke out in 2002 and explore the conditions under which these initiatives can be more effective in resolving the conflict and maintain peace. Data were collected through individual interviews, focus group discussions, and review of documents. Thirteen participants were purposively selected from communities, chiefs, and representatives of civil society organizations. Focus groups consisted of four men and four women. NVivo was used to manage and analyze the data. Data were analyzed using the theory of protracted social conflict as a lens and the concept of transitional justice as the conceptual foundation. The findings showed that a mixture of formal retributive and restorative initiatives was implemented. These were imposed on informal institutions and rules more deeply rooted in Dagbon. The institutions also suffered undue pressure from both government and elite of Dagbon which made peacebuilding difficult. A recommendation was made for government to strengthen the Dagbon Traditional Council to lead the conflict resolution process using traditional approaches, and identify and empower a credible civil society group to facilitate the process. The results could potentially change the way the conflict resolution initiatives have been conceptualized and managed in future.