CHAPTER XV
THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

FOR many years, the British authorities in the Gold Coast were unable to bring about a clear separation between local and central government. Local government institutions already existed; they were the traditional tribal authorities, the chiefs and their state councils. The central Government existed, with its agents, the administrative officers and their technical and professional colleagues. The idea of Indirect Rule had been introduced by Lord Lugard and others, and the Gold Coast Government was trying to adapt the Nigerian model of indirect rule to Gold Coast conditions. Lord Lugard intended the system to imply two types of effort. One was to maintain the traditional system and prevent it from being weakened by the disintegrating forces of Western life; the other was to educate the chiefs and their councils to carry out new functions. The Gold Coast Government made a valiant effort to maintain the traditional system, and met with a fair amount of success. But it made hardly any progress until its very last years in developing the tribal authorities into modern local government bodies.

From the beginnings of British rule until its last days, the question of the relationship between the traditional native authorities and the central Government was the most important and most difficult problem which Governors and Secretaries of State had to solve.

The Government regarded the rights of chiefs as derived from the Crown, and several Ordinances were passed by which the Government claimed to confer powers on the chiefs; though, as Lord Hailey points out, the Crown hesitated long before taking the position which it took in Nigeria and in Tanganyika, that a chief could exercise no legal powers before being formally recognized as native authority.

Many African leaders, on the other hand, claimed that the rights of the African chiefs, "our natural rulers", as they fondly called them, were inherent, and not derived from the Crown. They regarded the position of a Gold Coast chief as depending on a treaty freely negotiated between his state and the British Govern-

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