Colonial administration refers to the machinery or structure that was established in African colonies to facilitate total political control and safeguard the interests of colonial powers.

Colonial administrative system refers to the type of administration that was established by the European Colonial powers in African colonies.

It was a type of administrative system that was establi shed by Colonialists in the colonies in Africa for different purposes. The Colonial administrative systems were established after the Berlin conference that divided African continent into pieces (Colonies) among European colonial power.


The Colonial Administer action established with a number of objectives that were basically intended to facilitate total colonial exploitation.

Generally, the objectives/functions of colonial administration were as follows: –

To protect the colonies.

The colonial administration was established to protect the colonies from external invasion by other colonial power.  For example, The British colonial administration was established to protect all British colonies in Africa.

To ensure peace and harmony in colonies.

The colonial administration was also established to ensure peace and order in the colonies.  For example, the colonial administration was to ensure that there was no any African resistances and violence and that Africans had to obey colonial order and regulations.

To influence exploitation.

It was also established to influence exploitation by using different forms. For example, the colonial administration was to ensure that there were different ways that could facilitate exploitation example taxation, payment of low wages etc.

To supervise colonial activities.

It was established to develop and supervise different colonial activities that aimed at serving the colonial interests and profit maximization, for example Colonial agriculture, trade, industry, mining, social and economic infrastructures.

To link with metropolitan.

The colonial administration system was also established to act a link between African colonies and the metropolitan (European government).  For example, the German colonial administration in Tanganyika was established to link with the German government Europe.

To suppress uprisings (resistance).

Colonial administration was established to suppress all uprising from Africans.  For instance, the German colonial administration in Tanganyika in the early 1900 suppressed the MajiMaji uprising of 1905 of 1907.

To develop the colonies.

The colonial administration was also established in order develop the colonies so that they can serve the colonial interests.  This included establishment of social and economic infrastructure to influence colonial interests for examples, roads, railways, hospitals etc.  For example in Tanganyika, the German colonial government completed the Central Railway line in 1914.

To promote settler interests.

In addition, colonial administration were established so that they can safeguard the interests of the settlers in the in the colonies.  They were to ensure that settlers had settlement, land, labor, enough capital to manage colonial activities.  For example, the British colonial government in Kenya ensured the development of settler agriculture.

To control and supervise colonial economic.

Colonial administration was also to ensure that they control and supervise colonial economic activities like agriculture, mining, commerce, industry to mention the few.


In establishing colonial administration (government), European colonial powers employed different techniques/principle.  These techniques/principles led to the establishment of an effective and efficient colonial administration.  It included the following:

  1. Administrative principles
  2. Military principles
  3. Economic principles
  4. Ideological principles


Through this principle/technique colonialist thought on how to administer or govern effectively their colonies. Therefore, two administrative systems were adopted by colonialists in their colonies through this principle and these were:

  • Direct Rule
  • Indirect Rule


Refers to the technique/principle that used to establish their effective colonial administration through creating different military apparatus that were to be involved in governing/colonizing Africans. These military apparatus involved –

  • Police
  • Judiciary (Court)
  • Prison (d) Army

 Qn. Account for the military principle during establishment of colonial government in Africa.

  Qn. Why colonialists employed military principle in establishing colonial governments?

  • To ensure peace and order
  • To suppress all uprisings (resistance)
  • To maintain colonial activities.
  • To influence exploitation and oppression.
  • To protect the government officials and settlers.
  • To protect all colonial properties of land, transport, facilities etc.


Refers to the method employed by colonialists in establishing their government where new economic elements created to replace old elements that existed in the pre-colonial African economies. These economic elements were to be run by the colonial government (controlled and supervised).

They also aimed at safe guarding (promoting) the interests of colonialists.  It included the following:

  • Money economic
  • Taxation
  • Migration labor
  • Import and export economy


Refer to the principles employed by colonialists in order to establish an effective and efficient colonial administration (government) in their colonies. Colonialists created ideological tools that would help total colonization of Africans. These ideological tools included: –

  • Religion (Christianity)
  • Education (colonial education)
  • Racism (Racial Segregation)

Qn. Account for the ideological tools during establishment of colonial administration in Africa.

Qn. Asses the significances of ideological tools in the colonization of Africa.

Qn. What were the objectives played by ideological principles in the governing process of Africa colonies?

  • To ensure obedience from Africans, Christianity emphasized obedience
  • To avoid uprising (resistances)
  • To make Africans accept colonial rule e. Colonial education brainwashed Africans.
  • To ensure maximum exploitation, Colonial education taught Africans on how to undertake colonial activities like agriculture etc. Also helped to make Africans involve in the colonial government directly or individually.
  • To ensure constant supply of labour. This is because the ideologies eg, Christianity taught obedience to Africans. This made Africans to obey each and everything from the colonial government.
  • To undermine African culture. In addition, these ideologies undermined African culture in such a way that Africans abandoned their culture and followed/adopted colonial culture.
  • To divide Africans (To influence disunity). They were also employed to instigate disunity among Africans something that enabled the colonizer has to colonize. Africans effectively for example, other Africans were educated, Christians but other did not.


Direct rule was the form/ type of colonial administrative system applied by the Germans where by Africans were ruled directly without local rulers support. Or

Refers to the colonial administration system whereby colonial governments governed African colonies directly.


Refers to the system of colonial government where Africans were colonized directly by the colonialists.

Historically direct rule was a colonial administration that was preferred in most cases by the German, France, Portugal and Belgium although in some colonies of British in Africa it was also applied but very rarely.


Direct rule was an administrative system applied mostly by the Germans in the colonies in Africa.  These colonies included, Tanganyika, Rwanda, Burundi (German East Africa) Namibia (South – Western Africa).

Through this system, the Germans appointed colonial official from different tribal groups. They did not employ the respective ethnic local leaders in their government structures but they took other people from outside the area


German was the colonial power that colonized Tanganyika from 1886 after the Berlin Conference, up to 1900 the Germans had already established their administration in the colony. In Tanganyika the Germans used/appointed colonial officers who were, Jumbes, Liwalis and Akidas at the lowest level of administration. In most cases, the Jumbes, Liwalis and Akidas were Arabs, Indians or Swahili people who were recruited from the coast.


The structure of German Direct Rule took a different shape.  The Germans applied this system as they had a clear mission to exploit Tanganyika resources (human and natural resources).


  • He was the head of the colony
  • He was the supreme civil and military man
  • He had all power of judiciary and Legislative.
  • He received instructions from the secretary for colonies in German and ensured that they are implemented.
  • He was a link between the colonial government and metropolitan in Berlin.


Composed of German official members whose numbered 5 -12.  The function of Advisory council was to

  1. Deal with all fiscal matters (revenue and expenditures) .
  2. Deal with legislation (make laws and orders)
  3. Advice the Governor in all colonial matters.


These German officials administered the created districts.  In Tanganyika, the German divided the colony into 21 districts for administration purpose. However, out of 21 districts, two were left under the military charge and the rest were under DC’S.        That is why up to date military personal are appointed as District and Regional commissioners for security factor.


Districts were broken into villages where Tanganyika had 20,000 to 30,000 people.  These villages were administrated by the Akidas and Liwalis who acted as leaders of the village. Each Akidas was vested power, law and order to influence colonial administration.


These were village headmen who were in charge every village and reported matter to the Akidas and Liwalis. In most cases, they were to ensure smooth operation of colonial activities example agriculture.

The Jumbe and Akidas had various task to accomplish as follows:

  • To collect tax
  • To mobilize people at local level for production.
  • To enforce the colonial laws.
  • To ensure peace and orders.
  • To punish those disobedient.
  • To report daily to the colonial government in Dar es Salaam.
  • To receive orders from the colonial government.


European colonial powers applied the system of Direct Rule due to a number of reasons as follows:

To ensure maximum efficiency.

Direct rule was applied to ensure effective and efficiency of colonial administration.  For example, the Germans believed that Akidas and Jumbe would ensure maximum efficiency as they had no blood relationship with Africans (subject).

Illiteracy and backwardness of Africans.

Also the colonialists employed this system as they believed that Africans could not rule themselves as it was required by the colonizers.  For example, the Germans believed that Africans Chiefs in Tanganyika were illiterate and backward, so it was difficult for them to administer their areas.

To ensure maximum exploitation.

Direct rule was applied in order to ensure maximum exploitation of Africans resources.  For example, through this system, the Germans were able to exploit Tanganyika to the maximum.

Racial superiority.

It was applied as Europeans wanted to prove and consolidate their racial superiority over Africans.  They claimed that Africans are inferior people compared to the white race and therefore they were to be colonized/ruled and not to rule by themselves.

To simplify governing process.

Direct rule was also applied to simplify the process of governing colonies. Through this system, the administration became simple one and not complex hence effective colonization.


The system of Direct Rule had various features/characteristics in its practices. Some of these included the following.

White officials at the top.

The system of direct rule used mostly top official who were whites from Europe. There were no Africans who occupied top positions in the colonial government.

Existence of military apparatus.

Different colonial military apparatuses were established and used mainly in suppressing African opposition and also ensuring peace and order.  Military apparatus like police, prison, army and judiciary backed the colonial administration system.

Exploitation and oppression.

Also the system of direct rule was characterized by maximum exploitation and oppression so as to realize the colonial interests.

Harshness and brutality.

Direct rule was featured by harshness and brutality where maximum force was applied.  For example, the Germans in Tanganyika treated harshly the Africans through Akidas and Jumbes.

Centralized political power.

The system also was featured by centralization of power where all power (decisions) was at the colonial government.  The appointed officials, for example DC’S and Akidas in German Tanganyika were only needed to implement decision and not otherwise.

The system was very expensive in such a way that all officials (appointed and non – appointed) were paid for the service.  For example, the Akidas and Jumbe during German Tanganyika were paid by colonial government for their services.


Refers to the administration system that was used by colonialists in African colonies where the colonialists used African local people in their administration. Or

Indirect rule was an administrative system applied [adopted] by the British where by African traditional local rulers allowed to participate in colonial administration. Or

Indirect rule was British administrative system, which used local rulers/ chiefs to implement British colonial policies.

It was a colonial administrative system whereby the colonial powers used traditional African rules in their administration at the lower level of the colonial government.

Historically, it was an administrative system applied manly by the British in their colonies in Africa.  Sir firstly introduced it. Lord Fredrick Lugard in colonial Nigeria in the early 1900s. He wrote a book titled “The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa” and this led to the formulation of this method of administration.

Governor Sir Donald Cameroon applied in various British colonies such as Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and Uganda and lately in Tanganyika the system of indirect rule in 1926 when the British took over the colony from the Germans.



Had all power judicially, executive and legislature.

Received instructions from London and ensured that they were implemented in the colonies.

He was the head of LEGCO and appointed provincial and District commissioners.

He was a link between colonial government and the metropolitan in London.

LEGCO (Legislative council)

Began in 1926 in Tanganyika and composed of 13 official members and 10 unofficial members. There were several divisions where 7 position of unofficial members out of 14 were given to Europeans, 3 positions given to Asian and 4 position occupied by Africans who were chiefs.

A good example of African chiefs in the LEGCO in Tanganyika included, Abduel Shangali, Chief Kidaa Makwahia, and Chief Adam Sapi etc.

Functions of the LEGCO

The LEGCO had several functions in British colonies for example Tanganyika. Some of those functions were as follows:

  • Making laws and orders for exploitation
  • To make policy pertaining to the administration of the colony
  • To ensure effectiveness of colonial economy
  • To advice the Governor.
  • To make decision of fiscal matters (revenue and expenditure)


In Tanganyika, up to 1953 there were eight (8) major provinces, which were –

  1. Tanganyika Province
  2. Eastern Province
  3. Northern highland Province
  4. Western province
  5. Southern highland Province
  6. Central province
  7. Coastal Province and Lake Zone Province.


Composed of African chiefs who operated at the local level of the Native Authority in Tanganyika.

Had many functions such as: –

  1. To keep census or record of people and livestock
  2. To report daily to the DC’S and receive orders.
  3. To implement other orders from the colonial government
  4. To maintain the feeder roads
  5. To collect poll and hut taxes (all forms of taxation)
  6. To ensure smooth operation of colonial activities.
  7. To ensure peace and security locally
  8. To sort out conflicts and settle them.


The British colonial government opted for indirect rule in running their colonies in Africa due to the following reasons:

Lack of enough personnel (Lack of enough British officecials).

British had so many colonies as a result they lacked man power to govern the colony. So this system of indirect rule was inevitable.

Language barrier.

The British faced the problem of language since the British officers were not familiar with the African local languages as a result local rulers were used to simplify and solve the problem of language.

To reduce African resistance (To neutralize contradiction with the Africans).

The British had decided to use this system so as to make African to feel that they were ruled and ordered by other fellow African, hence reduced resistance towards colonial government.

To reduce cost (It was cheap system of administration).

The indirect rule saved the costs of administration as it was simple to run on colony through traditional rulers.

  1. Remoteness of some areas.

This also contributed to the introduction of indirect rule, African chiefs were used to go to those areas to fulfill the European demands.

Lack of enough capital to run the colonies.

British colonial government lacked capital to run the colonies especially after WWII when economy was badly sheltered on off acted, hence the use of African local rulers.


The British indirect rule brought both negative and positive effects as follows:

  1. Indirect rule encouraged and promoted the idea of ethnics (tribalism) simply because the divide and rule method made each society to feel proud while undermining others.
  2. Indirect rule enabled the British to benefit more than the colonized people (Africans).
  3. African leaders were made British puppets simply because they implemented colonial orders, hence the traditional status changed. For example, catching and punishing those who failed to pay taxes or escape to provide labour force.
  4. African rulers got an opportunity to administrative posts at low level.
  5. Indirect rule contributed to the promotion of vernaculars e.g. Ganda.


Refers to an administrative policy employed during French Direct Rule system in order to assimilate (make the Africans look similar) the African into French culture regardless of their colour. It was a policy that made Africans feel as part and parcel of French rule. The policy also intended to make Africans think, believe, act and behave exactly like Frenchmen.

In other explanations, Assimilation policy refers to the policy of French administration that was aimed at making the Africans in all French colonies to look similar (resemble) to the French. In this way, the assimilated Africans would adopt French culture and civilization and therefore accept and obey colonial rule as they thought to be French people.

Assimilation was derived from the verb assimilate, which means to make someone look like or resemble like or look similar to. The policy was based on the belief that French culture was the best in the entire world. They therefore believed that it was their duty to impose their culture to societies whose civilization considered being inferior.

The Assimilation policy was firstly experimented in Indo-China and Algeria and came to be practiced in 1854 in the four communes of Senegal which includes. St. Louis Dakar, Gorier and Rufisque.

It was also applied in French colonies such as Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Gabon, and Guinea Bissau to mention the few. As a matter of fact, the policy was adopted so as to perpetuate French colonization and therefore contribute to the realization of French interests in Africa.


In order for any African to be assimilated, there were different conditions/criteria that would enable him/her to be assimilated. Some of them were as follows

  1. Should be fluent in French language both spoken and written
  2. Africans should practice monogamy
  3. Military training was a must to those who wished to be assimilated
  4. Anyone to be assimilated was supposed to be aged 18 years and not above 50 years.
  5. At least should be with ten years of experience in government service
  6. Should be ready to succumb to western culture in practice e.g. Christianity etc.


The French Assimilation policy covered different aspects in its operation.  These areas/aspects were Administration, political, Economic and social Assimilation. In other words, the French wanted to assimilate their subjects in the four aspects of life as follows.

Administrative Assimilation.

Through this aspect, the French wanted their colonies to have administrative identity that was similar to their mother country (France).  The colonies would establish their own municipalities elected on the same model as the French one. In short, what the French wanted was the administration in the colonies to look that one in France.

Political assimilation.

In this aspect the French wanted political identity between their colonies and that in France. This meant the Africans (the assimilated) had to enjoy the right French citizenship and also a right to vote and to be voted. Moreover, the French colonies through this aspect had the right to send representative to the French parliament in Paris, France (however, the number was small as compared to the French).

Economic assimilation.

Through this aspect the French wanted the economies of their colonies to look like that in France.  This was done by integrating the economies of their colonies with those of France. This meant that economic activities like agriculture industries, mining, commerce and other economic, infrastructure were to resemble with those in France.

Social Assimilation.

In this aspect, the French wanted to assimilate the Africans into French culture.  Africans were to abandon their culture and abide French culture. They wanted the Africans to speak French language like French people. Also they wanted the African to be assimilated and follow French marriage system of monogamy and abandon their system of polygamy. They wanted also to assimilate Africans into French education system. Also Africans had to abandon their traditional belief and follow Christianity Religion.

In general, Africans were to be changed in their ways of life in such a way that they would look like French people.


The French employed a number of mechanisms that would help the process of assimilating Africans in their colonies. Some of these methodologies are as follows: –

French colonial education.

Through education, the Africans adopted French cultural tendencies like clothing (dressing) eating, personal hygiene to mention the few.  French education also calculated a sense of French culture in the mind of Africans which helped the French to assimilate Africans.

French Christianity religion.

Through Christianity religion, the Africans abandoned their traditional beliefs and adopted new ways of worshiping that were also practiced by the French.

Through French health services.

The African were to attend health services established by the France in the colonies.  In this way Africans abandoned traditional medicines and other ways of treating diseases and they adopted new modern health service of the French.

Trough importing French goods.

There were goods like clothes, food stuff and drinks, furniture and utensils etc. attracted Africans to buy them.  In this way Africans who bought them became familiar to the French ways of living.

Through creating French economics.

The French created new economic elements like cash crop production, money economy, marked places, industries and transport infrastructures.  By adopting these elements, Africans become assimilated as they practiced what the French were doing in daily life.

Through military training.

The French created military apparatus like police, army and paramilitary training where Africans were to attend training. What the French wanted was to make Africans adopt military skills and techniques of the French and behave military like   the French.

Through French citizenship.

In the Africans who were assimilated, they were promised by the French to be granted French citizenship (to enjoy right of French citizenship). In this way, the Africans would be free to visit and live in France and feel like other French people.


There were a number of reasons as to why the French opted to apply Assimilation Policy in their administration in colonies.  Some of those reasons are as follows.

Cultural superiority.

The French believed that their culture was superior and better than other cultural all over the world. They wanted to civilize other people all over the world by assimilating them into French culture. This made them to employ assimilation policy.

The French Revolution of 1789 – 1795.

The French Revolution had revolutionary ideas of equality, fraternity and liberty which were not to be applicable in France only but also in other parts of the universe. Therefore, the revolution influenced the French to use Assimilation policy to as to maintain the revolutionary ideas.

The idea of overseas provinces.

The French considered their colonies as overseas provinces.  With this reason, the citizens in those provinces had to enjoy the same rights as French citizens. This made the use of Assimilation policy to be inevitable.

To undermine African resistances.

The policy was able used so as to undermine appositions from Africans.  This was due to the fact that the assimilated would help the French to consolidate their colonial domination.       

To create a submissive class.

The policy also aimed at preparing (creating) a class of people who could help the French in the fulfillment of their plans and objectives in Africa. The French sought to have people with a “Yes” in their mouth, so as to realize their motives in Africa.

To create a working class.

Through assimilation, the French wanted to get man power that could be used administration, business and other colonial sectors for the French interests. The policy would help Africans to have enough knowledge to be used in agriculture, business, miming and other established French colonial sector so as to maximize production.

Administrative simplicity.

The French wanted to apply the policy so as to allow the use of administrative system similar to the one applied in France. This would help them to use the same officials from France. They thought that the experience and efficiency of those officials in France would be applied also in Africa so as to realize their interests.

To help effective colonization.

The French applied this policy in their administration so as to colonize effectively the colonies in all spheres of economic, political, ideological and socially. By doing so, the French colonial interests would be easily realized.


In the 20thc, in different French colonies, the Assimilation policy proved failure. In practice, the policy encountered a number of problems that made the policy to become unhealthy.

Therefore, the French began to think an alternative policy that could viable and practicable in Africa so as to take vacuum left by Assimilation policy. They abandoned Assimilation policy and they introduced Association Policy.


Refers to the policy employed by the French in their colonial administration so as to Associate (incorporate) or include Africans into their administration. It was a policy that aimed at allowing Africans to operate at the lower level of the French colonial administration so as to serve the colonial interests.

The policy was introduced in French colonies in West Africa at different times in the 20thc after the failure of Assimilation policy especially after the Second World War.


(Reasons for the use of Association policy)

The failure of Assimilation Policy and the use of Association policy by the French were influenced by a number of factors like:

  • Oppositions in France.

In France there was much opposition to Assimilation policy.  They criticized the policy that it used of a lot of French resources for nothing. What these people argued was the French colonies to remain as colonies in Africa and finance themselves.  This led to the failure of assimilation policy.

  • Conflicts in democratic assemblies.

France administrators were integrated to the democratic assemblies which contained Africans.  The Africans posed challenging questions to the French policy and officials, a thing which the French could not tolerate hence failure of the Assimilation policy.

  • Assimilation was expensive.

This was because the assimilated Africans had to enjoy the same privileges of French citizens such as education, medical service, military training and housing etc. But the resources available to the French were not sufficient for the Africans and the French. Therefore, the policy created a burden to the taxpayers in France hence failure of Assimilation policy.

  • Failure of capitalist economy.

The policy threatened the capitalist economy in the French colonies.  This was due to the fact that the assimilated Africans grouped themselves in the higher class to the extent that they could not participate effectively in production (capitalist economy). Also in the National Assembles; the African representatives were likely to dominate over the French members in decision making hence failure of the policy.

  • Cultural disparities between France and colonies.

There were great differences between France and the overseas territories.  There were several differences in many areas such as marriage system, where Africans practiced polygamy whiles the French monogamy. Also in France most people followed Christianity while in the African colonies people were mostly Muslims or practiced traditional religions hence failure of the policy.

  • Difference in legal institution.

There was difference in legal institutions between Africans and French were in Africa all people observed customary laws in matters of inheritance, land cases and marriages. But in France, people observed civil wars as stipulated in the legal framework hence failure of Assimilation policy.

  • Stiff opposition from West Africa.

The policy also faced stiff opposition from well – organized societies in West Africa.  They wanted to defend their culture and Customs which were threaded by the French Assimilation policy failure of the policy.

  • Religious influence.

Assimilation policy was mostly being promoted in French government schools.  Unfortunately, education sector was in the hands of the missionaries whose interest was to convert the Africans into Christianity. Therefore, this brought a lot of consequences, as most of Africans refrained from joining the schools for fear of being converted into Christianity hence failure of the policy.


The Portuguese in her colonies in African applied the policy of Assimilation, which was called “Assimilado” in the Portuguese language and had the same tenets like those of Assimilation policy.



  1. Both were imperialist instruments of administration that aimed at exploiting the colonies to the maximum so as to meet the demands of monopoly capitalism i.e. cheap labour, markets, raw materials etc.
  2. Both were supported by coercive instruments i.e. colonial police, army, prisons and courts so as to ensure peace and order in ruling the colonies.
  3. Both direct and indirect rule based on racial segregation, hence encouraged European racial superiority over the Africans.
  4. Both made use of African assistance in the process of promoting colonial exploitation e.g. British indirect rule used African local chiefs and the German direct rule made the use of liwalis, Akidas and Jumbes.
  5. Both encouraged conflict and disunity among the African so as to rule them easily.
  6. In both systems the Governors were heads of the colonies and worked according to the will of the imperialists.


  1. Indirect rule was adopted mainly by the British in her non-settler colonies while the direct rule was mainly practiced by Germany, Belgium and Portugal.
  2. Direct rule was more brutal in ruling colonies hence faced by many African resistances while indirect rule which used more democratic means hence avoided more African resistances as compared to direct rule.
  3. Direct rule showed open and direct exploitation and oppression of Africans while indirect rule showed hidden exploitation and oppression through the use of African local chiefs.
  4. Indirect paid some respect to the African rulers and their local or traditional institutions while direct rule did not.
  5. Under direct rule colonial orders passed directly to the Africans so as to be implemented while under indirect rule colonial orders were conveyed indirectly to the Africans through local chiefs.


  1. Bothe aimed at maintaining their colonial control so as to ensure their effective occupation.
  2. Both were exploitative systems since they aimed at preparing a ground for establishment of colonial economy.
  3. Both destroyed African culture since indirect rule and assimilation policy ignored African culture such as language, education and norms.
  4. Both systems were oppressive since they based on forcing Africans to implement their laws and policies through coercive apparatus such as police, army, prison and court.
  5. Both fractured to meet their demands because African did not accept colonialism hence fought against colonialist.
  6. Both created classes.
  7. Both faced resistances from the Africans.


  1. Indirect rule was applied by the British while assimilation was applied by the French.
  2. Indirect rule used local chiefs in administration while assimilation policy did not prefer to use local chiefs.
  3. Indirect rule was cheap economically since it used local chiefs/rulers in administration while assimilation policy was very expensive since it used a lot of resources to transform African into Frenchmen.
  4. Indirect rule avoided resistance while assimilation policy met a lot of challenges from both Africans and the Frenchmen hence shift to association.
  5. Indirect rule was easy to manage while assimilation policy was difficult to manage.
  6. Indirect rule needed small man power while assimilation needed large man power to implement their policies.
  7. Indirect rule did not aim at turning Africans while assimilation policy aimed at turning Africans.
  8. Indirect rule considered African tradition while assimilation policy did not consider African culture.


Both colonial military and legal institutions were introduced in Africa purposely to enforce Africans to accept to follow different colonial administrative systems such as direct rule, indirect rule, assimilation policy and association policy.

Therefore, colonialist in order to ensure control of Africans effectively by following their new administrative system they introduced these colonial military and legal institutions such as police, prisons, army, court etc.


Colonial military refers to the coercive apparatus such as police, army, prison and courts introduced by the colonialist in order to maintain laws, order and security of colonial state.

Colonial militaries were introduced by the colonialists in order the colonial state to meet their interests. Therefore, colonial military which were introduced in African colonies were depended on the nature of the people found in that colony. For example, colonies which were militant and conservative against colonial militaries were also aggressive or harsh to the Africans.

Example of famous colonial military force which were introduced by the British to maintain colonial control in Central and East Africa including Kenya, Uganda and Malawi in 1902 – 1904 was known as King African Rifle (KAR). Soldiers who were recruited to join these military forces such as KAR and police force were taken from within the colony or outside the colony. For example, Nubians were the soldiers taken from outside the territory (colony) who were mainly preferable since they were very strictly in terms of treatment compared to the native policemen or soldiers.


  1. To maintain colonial interests. Colonial military aimed at safeguarding the interests of the colonialist that is to control and exploit Africans smoothly.
  2. To suppress African resistances. Colonial military aimed at punishing Africans who were militant and opposed colonial government.
  3. To maintain peace and harmony. Colonial military ensures that people within the colony maintain peace and harmony by following laws and orders.
  4. To maintain security of the colony. Colonial military force was established to protect the colony from internal and external invasion from other military forces.
  5. Power to arrest criminals. Colonial military was responsible to arrest people who committed crimes or offences to the court.
  6. To defend colonial boundaries. Colonial military forces such as KAR was responsible to defend colonial boundaries.
  7. To collect information and supervision of colonial activities. Colonial military forces were responsible to collect intelligent information which threatens the public interests and supervising different activities such as tax collection.
  8. To facilitate colonial economy exploitation.
  9. Military forces enforced colonial control in Africa.


Colonial legal institutions refer to institutions which deals with legal matters within the colony. Colonial legal institutions consisted with legislative council (LEGCO), council of elders, prisons and courts.

The colonial legal institutions were dealing with:

Advising the society

Educating the society about legal matters.

Receive people’s legal claims.

Give legal aid.

Directing legal procedures to be taken on army cases.

The legal institutions were also established for the interests of the colonialists since they were influenced by colonial administration within the colony and metropolitan states.


  1. Colonial legal institution was dominated by colonialist.
  2. Colonial legal institutions based on interests of the colonialists.
  3. Were coercive in nature i.e. very harsh, oppressive and punish Africans.
  4. Colonial legal institutions varied from one colony to another foe example in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) legal institution which was introduced in 1898 varied from other areas e.g. settler’s colonies laws were harsh to Africans.
  5. Colonial legal institutions were mainly based on the influences of the colonial administrators within the colony and in metropolitan states.


  1. To make laws, acts and ordinances. Since every colony had its demand of colonial matters, the legal institutions took the responsibility of making laws or ordinances enforcing Africans to undertake various matters and also responsibilities.
  2. To handle claims on various issues. The legal colonial institution handle white claims and canal elders handle African claims.
  3. To direct procedures to be taken in a certain case. Colonial legal institutions had to direct the legal procedures to be taken in handling certain cases in collaboration with courts and prisons.
  4. To advise and educate people on various legal matters.
  5. To amend laws, acts and ordinance. The colonial legal institutions had a duty to amend laws, acts and ordinances in order to affect and to felt the colonial administration influenced or as a result of social, political and economic change in the colony.


  1. The two colonial systems determined the traditional defense and legal systems that prevailed during the pre-colonial period.
  2. The Africans stopped caring for the public property such as government buildings, equipment and vehicles because they regarded them to be properties of colony.
  3. All the Africans who were employed in the reference forced the colonial government were considered to be traitors their follow Africans, due to the business and brutality done by colonialist.


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