This tutorial takes a quick look at the general features of pre-colonial Ghanaian states.
Your WASSCE/WAEC Government question on this topic may come in the form of the questions below.
QUESTION: DESCRIBE THE FEATURES (STRUCTURE) OF A PRE-COLONIAL GHANAIAN KINGDOM
The bullet points below must be expanded into paragraphs for an acceptable WAEC/WASSCE Government essay.
Before the advent of colonial rule, Ghanaian chiefdoms or kingdoms had a well-organized system of political administration.
Mention could be made of the Akan, Mole-Dagbani, Anlo and Ga states.
- Head of all traditional rulers
- Performed legislative executive and judicial functions e.g. law-maker, judge, commander-in-chief, administrator, religious leader etc.
Divisional or Sub-Chiefs
- They ruled the sub-division of the kingdom
- Directly came under paramount chief
- Under the divisional chiefs were district rulers, village chiefs or headmen in that order
The pre-colonial Akan political system was therefore CENTRALIZED
The Queen mother
- Mother of the maternal royal family
- Nominated the successor to the chief when the seat became vacant.
- Sat with chief in court
- Had her own linguist and councilors
- Could become paramount ruler when no successor was found immediately
- Advisor to the chief and council of elders
- Controller of women affairs
- Could be deposed
Outline the functions of the queen mother in the Akan political system.
OR: Describe the role of the queen mother in one pre-colonial Ghanaian political system.
- Chief’s spokesman
- Well-versed in oral tradition
Council of elders
- Members were heads of families
- Approved the nomination of chiefs
- Advised the chief
- Could destool the chief
- Youth groups made up of commoners
- Performed para-military functions
- Provided communal labour for the provision of social amenities
- Presided over by the chief/king
- Could use trial by ordeal.
- Kept revenue from court fees, fines, sale of land, taxes etc