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.
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.
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.