Direct Rule, Indirect Rule, Assimilation And Association.

Meaning of Administrative systems
Administrative systems; this was an administrative system which used by the colonialists to administer the colonies during the colonial rule in Africa. After the scramble for and Partition of Africa colonial powers that immediately occupied Africa after the Berlin conference were Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Italy. Although all these European powers had the same economic goals of occupying African continent they did not use the uniform approaches in establishing their colonial administrations. The major type of colonial administrative systems indirect rule, direct rule and Assimilation policy.

This was an administrative system used by the British to administer the colonies through the use of Traditional rulers. Different African leaders involved in the implementation of colonial policies at the local level while colonial officials and administrators were administered at the higher level. This system was a pioneer by Sir Fredrick John Lugard who was the British High commissioner to Nigeria in 1990. This system was applied in Tanganyika, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria.

Why Britain Applied Indirect rule
Shortage personnel, British had few official who could not administer the colonies effectively, Chiefs were highly needed to assist the British thus African used in order to avoid European man power who could be even economically expensive.
To avoid African resistances, It could minimize the number of people who were fighting against the colonial rule because the African could think that they were not under the foreign rule because African was not ready to resist their own chiefs and kings.
Inadequate funds, this system minimized the expenditures because the African local chiefs were not paid salaries they depended on praises and receiving of gifts. British Government had no enough fund to pay salaries to the workers.
Communication barriers, African people did not know how to speak English while the British did not know how to speak the African local languages so this influenced the use of indirect rule policy. So Chiefs were seen as officials who could be understood by the local population.
The existence of tropical diseases, in the interior many White's administrators' feared tropical diseases such as malaria, small pox and other tropical diseases found in the interior of South Africa so they used local African chiefs who were familiar with the environment with body immunity against tropical diseases.
Physical difficulties of the colonies, colonialism could not be able to go to the interior areas which had a thick forest, wild animal, they decided to leave the chiefs to work to lead on their behalf.
Lack of efficient infrastructure, in the colonies there was the problem of poor infrastructures such as accommodation, medical facilities, clean water and transportation due to the presence of thick forest, valleys, and mountains that made difficult for the transportation to the interior areas.
High production, the system facilitated colonial production since the local chief was supervising at the grassroots of production and ensured a constant supply of labor so cash crops were highly produced.

[*]Created Tribalism – Chiefs who were given the power regarded themselves as superior to the others so they disagree to unite with other societies to form a national unity. For example in Uganda Kabaka Edward wanted independence for the Buganda Kingdom only in 1960
[*]Led to unbalanced development in the colonies- Areas which had chiefs developed in term of social services like school, hospitals and roads networks so this caused conflicts between people especially after independence.
[*]Turned African chiefs to be puppets- They were used by the British to colonize African societies, so chiefs were no longer worked for the interest of their fellow Africans.
[*]Created social stratification- Some tribes became the ruling class while other were the supplier of cheap labor also chiefs and the royal class was favored in education hence made the differences among the people.
[*]Led to the intensive exploitation- Indirect rule led to the exploitation of many African resources such as human labor, natural resources such as minerals and other things through the use of local chefs who worked at the grass roots.


Direct rule is a system whereby the colonies were governed by European officials at the top position, then Arabs Akidas and Liwalis were at the bottom. The German preferred this system of administration in their colonies, this system was applied by German in Tanganyika and British in Zimbabwe.

[*]This system enabled them to be harsh and use force to the African without any compromise, they used the direct rule in order to force African to produce raw materials and provide cheap labor in German plantation and other sectors.
[*]The German did not like the use of chiefs because they saw them as backward and African people could not even how to lead themselves in order to meet the colonial interests.
[*]German thought that Akidas and Jumbes were in a better position to communicate with local people on their behalf. This was because Kiswahili language was common in Tanganyika it had spread to Tabora, Morogoro, Bagamoyo, and Ujiji.
[*]It was used to provide employment to the German, the use of direct rule was used in order to provide employment opportunities to the German.
[*]Stiff African resistance- Such as Abushiri in 1888 and Majimaji war 1905, these resistances made the German use direct rule in East Africa, they thought that sending of Jumbe and Akida from the coast to the interior could reduce Africa resistance against the German Jumbe and Akidas could cope and work easily with the natives.

[*]It solved the shortage of employment among the European population, for example, German offered employment for the people in the colonies she occupied hence she managed to reduce the rate of employment of her people.
[*]It undermined pre existed African traditional rulers replaced them with Arabs Akidas and Liwalis from the coastal areas
[*]It managed to suppress African resistances since these colonies had enough white military forces to safeguard their interests, for example, Abushiri war of resistance of 1888 was abolished by German colonial administration.

*This was done through The use of Harsh and brutal means to make African meet the colonial demands.
Both were the colonial systems of administration with only one major aim of exploiting African and their resources.
Both policies maintained racial discrimination, European were favored and considered superior to African.
Both Direct and Indirect rule used their state organ to implement their policies. Their organs involve Police, courts, and prisons.

The direct rule did not use traditional African rulers in their implementation of their policies while indirect rule used African chiefs.
Direct rule experienced resistances due to their harsh and brutal treatment, especially what practiced by German while Indirect rule did not face great resistance because African traditional rulers involved in the colonial administration and they were loyal to the African.
Direct rule encountered difficulties especially in the mobilizing of Africans to perform their colonial duties while the Indirect rule was easy to be implemented because African chiefs were responsible for mobilizing their subjects to participate in various colonial tasks.
Indirect rule system had fewer costs of administration compared to direct rule that required many Europeans to perform all tasks of Administrations.
Despite all the differences stated both administration systems were created in order to safeguard the interest of the colonialists and not to benefit the Africans.

Assimilation means to resemble or look like or similar to. Assimilation policy was the system of administration whereby African were turned into black Frenchmen by being assimilated to French culture. The French wanted the French Black Africans to enjoy the same status and privileges of suffer penalties like any French citizen in French. It was applied by French colonies such as Senegal, Ivory Coast, Morocco, and Congo.
[*]The French revolution of 1789, The French thought themselves to be the superior race and hence the French revolutionary ideas of equality, liberty, fraternity were considered to feasible to every man in the entire world.
[*]The French regarded their colonies as their overseas provinces thus the colonies were closely attached to France.
[*]French believed that their civilization was suitable for the entire world, they viewed themselves as the liberator of the other people in the world they believed that other people of different races could be absorbed into the French culture.
[*]Intended to trained adequate official of both races, they hoped that the assimilation policy attracts Africa to absorb the French culture and language.
[*]They wanted to spread western education and religion that they believed it was more civilized and advanced.

African citizen within the French colonies enjoyed the privileges and the rights that were given to any French citizen in the Metropolis.
African colonies under French rule were represented in lower House of Parliament, so there was the political integration of the African with France.
There was a close economic relationship between France and her colonies in Africa. French currency was also used in the colonies.
African were forced to learn the French language, follow French laws, and apply French civil and political system and to be Christian.
French encountered difficulty in West Africa because of their attitude toward Africans culture and African chiefs were negative.

Should be fluent in French language both spoken and written.
African should practice monogamy, should marry the only wife.
Military training must be compulsory to those who would like to be assimilated.
Anyone to be assimilated should be of the age of 15 years and above 50 years.

It was too expensive, French government incurs more costs of building different facilities such as schools, hospitals, churches, and others.
There was great gap among the African, between the assimilated and other remained Africans who were not assimilated.
French became an official language in most of the African countries colonized by French.
African colonies were regarded as part and parcel of France
Many African traditional rulers replaced with eroded assimilated rulers who had been brainwashed by the French culture
Both the colonial administration systems used the European officials at the higher administrative position in their colonies.
Both colonial systems ensured that Africans were subjected to colonial laws that exploited African through tax payment and forced labor.
Both colonial administrative systems exploited the African natural resources, such as minerals, forests, and rivers.
Both colonial administrative system underrated and ignored the traditional African chiefs.

British colonies were separately administered by an appointed governor from Britain while the French colonies were considered similar to other provinces of France.
Direct rule by British had no representatives in the house of commons while French colonies elected representatives to the chamber of deputies of France.
The laws used by British in the colonies were those passed by the legislative council in the colonies while laws enacted in the French colonies in Africa were the laws created in France.
Assimilation policy made the African who was in French colonies to be French citizens and enjoy all the republic rights while in British colonies no matter what the position someone may hold in the colonial state still he remained the subject of the British colony.

This was the system of French colonial administration that prevailed in the colonies after the failure of the Assimilation policy. Association policy respected the culture of Africans and allowed them to develop independently and did not force them to adopt French culture. The major purpose of the association was to create mutual economic development for both the Africans and the French, however, the implementation of the association policy was impractical since the Africans had their traditional institutions such as customs and traditions.
The new French policy of association encouraged the colonial administrators to respect the African cultures and give them freedom of developing separately. However, this policy made the Africans in the colonies to be regarded as a second-class citizen and French criminal and civil laws could not be applied to them. African had the rights of maintaining their culture.
It did not interfere with African cultural practices such as religion, custom, and traditions.
Association policy considered the assimilated Africans as a French citizen.
It did not apply French civil and criminal law to African in the colonies.
Association policy was more authoritarian and withheld African rights to freedom of expression, trade union activities and the press freedom.
It forced Africans who were not assimilated to serve French colonial army for a longer period than the assimilated ones.
It regarded the none- assimilated Africana as second class citizen.
Association Policy respected the culture of the colony while Assimilation policy aimed at colonizing African by transforming them into French citizens.
The assimilation policy was economically expensive compared to association system which did not demand more French funds.
Association policy made the Africans be regarded as second class citizens while Assimilation policy African enjoyed the privileges and rights that governed any French citizen in the metropolis.