Functions Performed by Traditional Rulers in Pre-Colonial West Africa

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The above WASSCE Government question could be asked in at least two other different ways.

WHAT WERE THE MAIN FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY TRADITIONAL RULERS IN PRE-COLONIAL WEST AFRICA?

OR: IDENTIFY SIX ROLES PLAYED BY THE CHIEFS IN THE AKAN PRE-COLONIAL POLITICAL SYSTEM

Here, I demonstrate to you an outline of an acceptable essay on a WASSCE Government essay question that asks you to describe the functions of traditional rulers in pre-colonial West Africa.

Introduction

In pre-colonial West Africa, the chief or king in Asante, Ga. Anlo, Mole-Dagbani states or kingdoms wielded a lot of power.

He was the supreme ruler who came to power through the line of hereditary.

The Asantehene, for example, was a descendant or a relation of the former king on the maternal side.

Traditional rulers in pre-colonial West Africa performed legislative, executive and judicial functions.

Functions

Six of the chief or traditional ruler’s major functions in pre-colonial West Africa were the following.

  • He supervised the administration of the kingdom, helped by the council of elders.
  • He was a military leader, the commander-in-chief of the army and protector of his people
  • He was a law maker and law giver. He was also a law enforcer with the help of palace guards, Asafo companies etc.
  • He was a judge and administered justice. He settled murder, theft, arson, witchcraft etc cases.
  • The traditional ruler in a pre-colonial West African kingdom was a spiritual leader of his people, a link between the living and the ancestors as well as other spirits.
  • He was also a unifying force among his people. The Asantehene, for example, and his Golden Stool, represented the spirit of oneness in the Asante kingdom.

About Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph is a professional blogger, founder and CEO of RN Digital Media Ent. He spends his day working as an online entrepreneur, e-learning strategist and a test prep coach. If you can't locate him anywhere on the web, just doing what he knows how to do best, check him out on his farm or in the kitchen. He lives with four cats in the Central Region of his native country, Ghana.

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