Party Fragmentation in Ghana’s Fourth Republic: A Case Study of the Nkrumahist Parties

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University of Ghana


Intra-party conflicts and party fragmentation is not a new phenomenon to Ghanaian politics. It traces its historical antecedents to when Kwame Nkrumah led a section of the UGCC to breakaway to form the CPP in 1949. Subsequent ones occurred in the Third Republic of Ghana when the Danquah-Busia tradition’s Progress Party was split into the PFP and UNC ahead of the 1979 elections. Ghana’s Fourth Republic cannot entirely be left out of the picture because it has also had its share of intra-party conflicts and fragmentations. Despite its resurgence, some political parties in Ghana like the NPP and NDC have perfected the art of managing the situation as and when it erupts. However, the Nkrumahist parties have failed to recover from their recurrent fragmentation. Against this backdrop, the study examined the dynamics of the fragmentation of the Nkrumahist parties and its impact on them. The study adopted the qualitative research approach to obtain its primary data as well as relied on some existing secondary sources from books, articles, etc. The study found that leadership crises, exploitation of warring factions by major political parties and the effects of Ghana’s political system have over the years contributed to the inability of Nkrumahist parties to recover from fragmentation like NDC and NPP. The dynamics to this the fragmentation include self-induced factors like excessive glorification of their founder and absence of effective party structures, selfishness and greed, political opportunism, party financing and Ideological rift. Additional factors like the deliberate extermination of the tradition through coups and the destabilization ploy by major parties were found to had also contributed to the Nkrumahists’ problem. The Nkrumahists fragmentation was found to have contributed to their abysmal electoral performance, affected their ability to advance alternative governance proposals, entrenched the ‘two-horse’ race between the NDC and NPP as well as attracted businessmen who only use the tradition as means of amassing wealth or launch their political career. The study recommends among others the need for Nkrumahists to build effective party structures, strengthen their conflict resolution mechanisms, and refrain from excessive greed and political patronage.


MPhil. Political Science


Ghanaian Politics, Kwame Nkrumah, Republic of Ghana, Nkrumahists, Ghana