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The functions of the traditional rulers during the pre-colonial era in Ghana

Man, Ethic, African, People, Collage

Formulation and implementation of laws and policies
The Paramount Chief of the Akan Kingdom is mandated to formulate and implement policies for the kingdom. He also helped to pass laws for the administration of his kingdom. This is done with the help of his Council of Elders.

Settled cases
The Paramount Chief settled disputes. He is the supreme judge in the state. In the Akan traditional system, there are courts presided over by either the Paramount Chief or sub-chiefs. Minor cases are sent to the courts under the sub-chiefs while major cases are taken to the court presided over by the Paramount Chief.

Served as a spiritual leader
The Paramount Chief was the spiritual leader of the Akan state. He was the link between the living and the dead. He performed such rites as the planting of the first seeds or harvesting of the first fruit. He also performed in connection with national calamity.

Served as custodian of customs and tradition
The Paramount Chief was the custodian of the customs and traditions of the people. He was the symbol of unity among his people and united the various segments of the kingdom.

Commander - in - Chief
The Paramount Chief of the Akan state was Commander-in-Chief of the state. He was responsible for the protection of his people. He recruited and organized warriors and he personally led them in battles.

Was the fount of honour
The traditional ruler was the fount of honour and had the power to bestow honours on deserving citizens as a reward for bravery or distinguished service to the community. For example, through the initiative of a traditional ruler, a person who died in war might be honoured as an ancestor as his death was deemed as an honourable death.

Custodian of land and other property
The Paramount Chief was the custodian of all traditional lands. Though lands owned by the community as a whole, they were held in trust by the Paramount Chief on behalf of his people.

Appointed subordinate chiefs
He appointed the subordinate, divisional or sub-chiefs. These subordinate chiefs were responsible for affairs within their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Controlled Asafo companies
The Paramount Chief was responsible for the control of the Asafo companies in the state. This control is exercised through the coordinator of all the Asafo companies in a locality or town called the “Supi”. He also used the age-grade system to ensure law enforcement.

Mobilized his people
The Paramount Chief was responsible for mobilizing his subjects to ensure that the state is environmentally clean at all times. He also ensured that, together with the people, they construct the infrastructure like markets, roads and toilets, among others.

1. Highlight six functions performed by chiefs during the pre-colonial era among the Ashantis.

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