Murder and Politics in Colonial Ghana

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9780300055047: Murder and Politics in Colonial Ghana
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This fascinating book recounts a pivotal event in West African history that provides important insights into law and politics in the colonial Gold Coast, and the clash between traditional and modern values, and the nature of African monarchy in the colonial period. This book tells the story of ritual murder in a kingdom of Ghana, of the trials and appeals of those accused of the crime, and of the radicalization of the black lawyers who confronted the colonial justice system and later began a struggle for self-government that led to Ghanian independence from Britain in 1957.

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Murder and Politics in Colonial Ghana This study tells the story of an incident of ritual murder that occurred in Ghana in 1943. It provides insights into law and politics in the colonial Gold Coast, the clash between traditional and modern values, and the nature of African monarchy in the colonial period.

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In 1943, a murder was committed in a large African kingdom in the south of Ghana, then a colony of Great Britain. Palace officials and close kin of a recently deceased king had reputedly killed one of his chiefs in order to smooth the king's passage into the afterlife. This riveting study tells the story of the murder, the trials and appeals of those accused of the crime, and the impact of the case on politics in Ghana and Great Britain. In recounting this intriguing story, the book also provides important insights into law and politics in the colonial Gold Coast, the clash between traditional and modern values, and the nature of African monarchy in the colonial period. Drawing on newly available oral and written evidence from Ghana and Britain, Richard Rathbone builds a detailed picture of the leading characters in the case, as well as of the thirty-year rule of Nana Ofori Atta, the king. He shows how the death of the king destroyed the economic, social, and moral fabric of the kingdom, and how this destruction was further exacerbated by legal proceedings resulting from the murder. The case set the indigenous royal family against the colonial government, challenging the authority of each. Close kinsmen of the accused, hitherto in the vanguard of moderate nationalism, were radicalised by their extended confrontation with the colonial justice system. It was their political initiatives that accelerated the formation of the Gold Coast's first national political party in the late 1940s, and which led in turn to the struggle for self-government and to the achievement of Ghanaian independence in 1957.

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