The December 2004 presidential and parliamentary elections saw the candidates of the National Democratic Congress, the once ruling but now oppositional party, win a clear majority in the North, specifically in the Upper West Region, over the governing New Patriotic Party. In the political jockeying over government positions, the old generation of politicians — the chiefs, chiefs' sons and members of chiefly families, who had dominated politics in North-Western Ghana from decolonisation until the 1990s — no longer played a significant role. The stances of Upper Westerners regarding the nature of citizenship or minority group rights differ. There is heated debate as to whether ‘autochthony’ and ethnic belonging should play any role at all in determining rights to political participation and access to resources, or whether ethnicity should be bracketed out of the political process altogether so that civic rights are defined solely on the basis of shared citizenship in a modern nation-state, with certain allowances for displays of cultural identity and linguistic difference being acceptable.
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