The colonial state refers to the extension of the metropolitan state in the colony.The colonial state was established immediately after scramble for and partition of Africa. It was followed by the establishment of the colonial economy.
The main objective of the colonial state was to establish the colonial economy that would respond to the demands of the metropolitan economies, in establishing such an economy.
The colonialists used extreme violence and that is why many scholars such as Frants Fanon asserted that, the colonial state was the most violent. The colonial state used various measures to ensure that the needs of capitalism are met; these measures show that the colonial state was violent:-
(a) Colonial conquest: The colonial state used the military during the establishment of colonial rule. Those African societies that put up stiff resistance against the colonialists, the colonial state responded by using force e.g. Force was used by the British against the Nandi in Kenya and by the Germans against the Hehe in Tanganyika.
(b) Exploitation, which included
(i) Introduction of taxes; The colonial state introduced taxes such as the pole and hut taxes as ways of getting revenue to run the colonies. The collection of these taxes was done in a very brutal manner. Those Africans who failed to pay taxes were usually flogged and some were even killed, these actions show the violent nature of the colonial state.
(ii) Acquisition of cheap labour; The colonial state used violent means to acquire labour. It introduced various labor laws in Africa to ensure constant supply of labor on economic enterprises; these labor laws include the Kipande system in Kenya and the pass laws in South Africa and Zimbabwe. When the Africans failed to provide labor, punishment was meted out.
(iii) The colonial policy of land alienation was associated with use of violence; Land alienation was supposed to create room for cash crop production and mining activities. The police used to force people away from their land so that it can be used for colonial production.
(c) Suppression of African resistance against the colonial economy; The colonial state used force to crash Africans, who resisted the establishment of colonial economy. The colonial state used the military against the Nama- Herero resistance in Namibia and the Majimaji in Tanganyika.
(d) Destruction of African traditional industries; The colonial state destroyed African traditional industries to ensure that Africa remains a producer of raw materials and a market for European manufactured goods. The destruction of these industries involved the use of force. E.g. in Belgian Congo the colonial state decided it was illegal for Africans to engage in handcraft industries, those who are caught will have their hands chopped off.
(e) Distribution of colonial social services: The distribution of colonial social services such as education and health involved the use of violence (psychological). These services were made available only in those areas where the production of raw materials took place. E.g. in Tanganyika there was mainly offered in Arusha , Morogoro etc. Those areas that had nothing to offer to the colonialists were danced education.