Domestic Peacekeeping Practices in the Tamale Metropolis

  • Mustapha Abdallah Institute of African Studies
  • Kwesi Aning Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre
Keywords: peacekeeping, policing, security provision, assemblages, Tamale metropolis


This article contributes to understanding local security practices in urban Africa by examining links between international peacekeeping and local policing in Tamale, the capital of Ghana’s Northern Region. It uses the concept of assemblage to suggest that while experiences, skills and lessons gained from consistent engagement in United Nations peacekeeping may be detected in local policing in Tamale, their effects on everyday policing are in practice limited. This is due to the central role of traditional authorities in local security and general political interference in police matters. Local policing in Tamale is an assemblage of formal (police and military) and informal (chiefs and community leaders) security arrangements, with the latter, especially, dictating how crimes should be dealt with. This makes it next to impossible for the police to do their job without interference. The article examines how non-state or traditional actors shape policing and security provision in Tamale, and what space is available for police officers to use the skills they believe they have learned on peacekeeping missions. The paper shows through empirical analysis how local policing is shaped more by kinship and politics than international principles of human rights and democracy.