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The problems of the Aborigine's Rights Protection Society

The formation of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society in 1897 in Cape Coast by John Mensah Sarbah was initially triggered by the 1897 Land Bill which was to be introduced by Governor William Griffith.

Desertion of the chiefs
One of the problems the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society faced was the withdrawal of the chiefs from their activities. This was after the British introduced the policy of Indirect Rule, giving more powers and responsibilities to the chiefs. This ensured that the Society could present a united front against the British anymore.

Withdrawal of influential members
The formation of the National Congress of British West Africa also dealt a big blow to the activities of the society. The Congress was able to lure some of the prominent members of the society into their fold, thereby watering down the strength of the society.

Division among leaders
At a point, the leaders could no longer forge a united front to confront the British. This was particularly manifested after the First World War. The leaders were bereft of ideas to cope with the situation at the time and this was part of the reason why the society’s leadership disintegrated.

African representation on the Legislative and Executive Council
Another failure of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society was that they could not ensure adequate African representation on the Legislative and Executive Councils. In the case of the Executive Council, for example, it was only in 1942 that Africans were allowed a few representation on the Council.

Membership was elitist
Another problem was that the membership of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society was a bit elitist. The membership did not include a large number of the common man in the street. This being so, when they needed the support that was necessary to fight their course, they could not get it.

Absence of radicalism
The methods adopted by the society to pursue their goals did not help the society much. The society did not adopt the radical approach in their dealings with the British. They tried to solve their problems by using the constitutional and legal means which were available to them under colonial rule. This did not help them.

1. Highlight six problems that were faced by the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society.

2. a. What is Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society?
    b. Give five reasons why the society collapsed.

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