The relationship between colonial rulers and ruled was a political one. A patron-client model has been applied to the cases surveyed to account for administration better than official prescriptions. The model is one of interaction between hierarchies. Officials constituted one status group; indigenous hierarchies constituted a subordinate form of local and regional government. Both hierarchies continued as ‘co-ordinate units’ to administer laws and courts in parallel. Relations were political, in the sense of determining access to resources, confirmation of status, and were defined by regulations. Disagreement, clash of values, compromise and rewards were part of the business of running empires with the co-operation of the governed, until new elites with different political aims had to be accommodated in government. Application of the model requires qualifications; but chiefs and clientage systems have continued after decolonization.
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