October 20, 2020

Reasons Why the Educated Elite Opposed Indirect Rule in British West Africa

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Opposition to indirect rule in British West Africa intensified between the two world wars of 1914 – 1945.

Proto-nationalist groups like the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA) as well as radical freedom fighters like Kwame Nkrumah saw many weaknesses in the system. They initially called for reforms and later, a total dismantling of colonial rule.

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Reasons for opposition to Indirect Rule

Below is a summary of the reasons why the educated elite opposed the Indirect Rule system in British West Africa

1.Exclusion of educated elite from government e.g. legislative and executive councils

2. Slow pace of constitutional reforms needed to give Africans more say in their government.

3. Slow socio-economic development (roads, railways, schools, hospitals etc) in spite of exploitation and export of natural resources – gold, cocoa etc.

4. Distortion of the chieftaincy institution. They resented the situation where chiefs lost their traditional legitimacy and became corrupt yes-men or stooges of the colonial government.

5. Absence of an arrangement for training future African leaders. There were no creditable or clear programmes aimed at training Africans to rule themselves in the near future.

Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

View all posts by Ralph Nyadzi →

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