Resisting the Colonialist Crime of Sedition Among African People

Authored by: Abiodun Raufu

The Routledge Handbook on Africana Criminologies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367435721
eBook ISBN: 9781003004424
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter offers an overview of the impact of the sedition law on colonial Africa and the nationalist struggle. It reviews the struggle for political independence by African colonies within the context of the attempt by the British colonialists to perpetuate their hegemony by using judicial means to silence the people. The chapter examines the experiences of the nationalists in their bid to speak truth to colonial power and bring an end to colonialism through defiant insistence on free speech and an independent press. It is argued that the implementation of the sedition law, rather than intimidating the natives into an apathetic silence, had the opposite effect. Instead, the obnoxious law had the effect of energizing the anticolonial struggle and fast-tracking the pace of decolonization. This chapter concludes by examining how the courageous actions of the people and their leaders precipitated the end of colonialism in many parts of Africa. The irony, however, is that the oppressive law continues to exist in the criminal code of some African countries several years after political independence. Many of the nationalists who eventually transformed into presidents of their countries used the same law to bully critics and the press, calling into question the capacity of African leaders to offer good leadership and imbibe democratic ethos.

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