Posted by / Saturday 15 October 2016 / No comments

The disadvantages of Indirect Rule

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Chiefs became despotic
One of the disadvantages of Indirect Rule is that some of the African chiefs became authoritarian in their approach to local governance. This was because the colonial masters had bestowed on them more powers than would otherwise have been accorded them under their tradition

Sidelined the educated elite
The educated elite were not involved in the operations of the institutions of Indirect Rule. They were not involved in the collection of taxes, not in the administration of justice and not in maintenance of law and order.

Dilemma of chiefs
The British used native chiefs who were traditionally qualified and were enstooled by the people, therefore, the people expected the chiefs to act in their interest. On the other hand, the British expected that since they were giving the orders, the chiefs have to tow their line. It was sometimes difficult for the chiefs to please both the British and the people at the same time.

London, Tower Bridge, England, Monument

Puppets of the British
The chiefs were used to do all the spade work on the ground for the colonial powers. In other words, the chiefs were used to implement the programmes of the colonialists under Indirect Rule. The local people, on the other hand saw the chiefs as puppets, dancing to the tunes of the colonialists, so they lost their respect for them.

Divide and rule
Under Indirect Rule, the British drove a wedge between the chiefs and the educated elite buy giving more powers to the chiefs, much to the detriment of the educated elite. This brought about bitter rivalry between the two.

Imposition of unqualified chiefs
The idea of Indirect Rule was that the local chiefs should be used for local administration. However, sometimes the British imposed unqualified chiefs on the people. These unqualified chiefs never commanded the absolute respect of the natives.

1. a. Explain the concept of Indirect Rule. [2 marks]
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