Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Ghana's democracy has been hailed by scholars, practitioners, and the international community in recent years as a shining example in the West African subregion as a result of the country's record of organizing successive elections with minimal or no violence. However, the evaluation of Ghana's democracy has predominantly focused on the elections and disproportionately captures the views of the political elite; conspicuously missing is the perspective of the ordinary Ghanaian. This presents an incomplete picture of Ghana's democracy, given the relevance of citizens' participation in democratic societies. To address this gap in knowledge, this qualitative case study explored the practice of democracy in Ghana under the fourth republic from the perspective of the citizenry. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with purposefully sampled ordinary Ghanaian citizens (n = 15), observation, and documents review. The data were then subjected to thematic and content analysis to reveal themes, categories, and patterns. The results revealed that the participating Ghanaians had dichotomous views, opinions, and experiences of democracy. Their experiences and opinions of the electoral system were generally positive, while their experiences and opinions of governance in the intervening years were generally negative. The study's results should inspire a paradigm shift in the responsiveness of government to citizens and how the government engages with citizens on policy formulation and implementation. This study's results can encourage positive social change with respect to the manner in which democratic performance is evaluated in Ghana by scholars, practitioners, and the international community.