Ghana’s Policy Making: From Elitism and Exclusion to Participation and Inclusion?


  • Abdulai Kuyini Mohammed


In its 57 years of nationhood, Ghana witnessed 22 years of military rule, 6 years of one-party government and 29 years of democratic reign. Policy making under the one-party and military regimes was exclusionary with the rulers alone making public policies. Because the military and one-party regimes’ approach to policy making was elitist and exclusionary this: left stakeholders with little or no opportunity to make input; failed to consider important constituencies and points of view; created implementation difficulties and raised questions surrounding the legitimacy of public decisions. In contrast, constitutional rule democratizes policy making; increases problem solution options; smoothens policy implementation; and legitimizes public decisions. Two cases: the Review of the 1992 Constitution and the Reform to the Social Security System are used to test this supposition. The evidence shows that a consensual approach to policy-making has emerged since Ghana’s return to democratic rule in 1993. This paradigm shift has improved the design and implementation of public policies and programs in Ghana. Nevertheless, the situation is far from satisfactory because marginalized and unorganized groups still suffer alienation; official actors still have a stronger urge over non authoritative players in participatory episodes; and elected and appointed participants still have informational advantage over their non state counterparts. Together these minutiae adversely affect the quality and effectiveness of participation and this throws into question the legitimacy of the democratic governance project in Ghana.


How to Cite

Mohammed, A. K. (2015). Ghana’s Policy Making: From Elitism and Exclusion to Participation and Inclusion?. International Public Management Review, 16(1), 43–66. Retrieved from