Development of Social and Political Systems

Kinship or clan organization
Meaning of kinship or clan
Kinship or clan is a group of related families which descend from common ancestors.
Social organization of kinship or clan organization
- It was organized socially on the basis of patrilineal and matrilineal systems. Those who practiced patrilineal societies had clan heritage that was based on the father’s side. The wife shifted to the husband’s family in the exchange of bride price during marriage. Children who were born belonged to the father’s side.
- In matrilineal, the clan heritage was based on the mother’s family. The husband stayed in the family of the wife during marriage. The children who were born belonged to the mother’s clan. Examples of matrilineal societies in East Africa by the 19th century were: The Kamba and Kikuyu in Kenya, Makonde, Yao, Makua and Mwera in Southern Tanganyika.
Political organization of kinship or clan organization
- Members lived on the territorial land that belonged to a particular clan. They lived independently and sometimes they had links with the neighbour in various activities.
- They had no kings or chiefs.
- Their political leaders were the clan heads who took power through a system of leadership succession.
- Function of the clan head were: they allocated land for members of the clan to cultivate crops, they advised the members to become responsible people in their clans, they settled conflicts, they were leading several religious ceremonies in their clan and chose spouses for young men before marriage.
Economic organization of kinship or clan
- Communal ownership of land. Land was owned by all members of the clan under control of the clan head.
- There was inter-family cooperation in tilling the land for crop production.
- Division of labour was according to the sex. Men cleared the land for agriculture and took part in hunting. Women were mainly taking care of the children and preparation of food for the family. Boys were helping to protect the farm against destructive animals and birds while girls were mainly helping the mothers in taking care of the youngest children and food preparation in their family.
- Tools of production in the kinship belonged to the family.
Clan organization population also increased and finally it transformed into a chiefdom or a centralized political system.
Age set system 
Age set system was a type of organization which involved age and sex in distribution of activities.
Social, political and economic organization of age set system societies (Example from Maasai society)
1. The age between 0 to 8 years old was very important group. This group was not productive. They were not expected to remain under the guidance of their parents.
2. The age between 8 and 18 years old were young boys who carried out simple duties of grazing and milking animals. Girls and women mainly performed domestic duties.
3. The age between 18 and 40 years old were the morani. Their function were:
I. To protect the society.
II. To protect livestock against enemies.
III. To raid neighbouring herds so as to increase the number of cattle.
IV. To travel long distance in search of water and pastures during  dry season.
4. The age between 40 years and above. People in this group were known as Laibon. Laibons were respected as political and religious leaders while the other elders gave advice to the Laibons to lead the members well. Each family kept cattle to get milk, meat and hides.
Ntemiship is a socio-political organization or system characterized by being made up of separated groups. The word Ntemiship is derived from the word Kutema which means split apart. The ruler in a Ntemiship system was called Mtemi. The Nyamwezi tribe practiced the Ntemiship system.
Social organization of the Ntemiship
- It was formed by people of different families.
- They had informal education whereby old people taught the younger generation.
- They believed in their own gods.
- They worked together to solve problems such as shortage of water and food.
Political organization of the Ntemiship
- They were formed in several political territories under the leadership of Ntemi chiefs. The
Responsibilities of the Ntemi:
1. He enforced proper uses of resources such as land, water, forest resources etc.
2. He settled disputes in the community.
3. He had the religious power. He led the people in his community in performing religious and offering sacrifices to the spirits.
4. To collect tributes from his subjects.
5. They declared war and sent the army to fight against the enemies of their chiefdoms.
Economic organization of the Ntemiship
- Land was the property of the Ntemiship.
- The members were required to pay tribute in form of crops to the chief.
- People conducted shifting crop cultivation by growing some crops like millet, sorghum, cassava and potatoes.
State Organization
state is any politically organized community living under a single system of government.
Centralized states
Centralized states were states under a single, central authority. Some examples of centralized states which existed in East Africa were: Bunyoro Kitara and Ankole Kingdom.
Factors which gave rise to the centralized states
1. Geographical location
For example, having fertile soil and enough rainfall.
2. Agriculture
Agriculture supplied food to the empire.
3. Long distance trade
Trade provided taxes and weapons for defence.
4. Strong leadership
Example, Kabaka kings leadership.
5. Size
Small size made easier for effective administration. For example, Buganda Kingdom had small size that why it rose.
Organization of centralized states
Social organization
- Member of the state lived by practicing their traditions and customs.
- Tradition such as marriage, education, health services and religions beliefs were developed in all the state organizations.
Political organization
- The political organizations was in the hands of leaders known as Kings.
- They had raised armies and acted as commander in chief by ordering the solciers to enter into war against the enemies.
Economic organization
- Land was the major means of production.
- Land belonged to the king.
- Peasant were given land by the king to produce for their families and a large part of the share was given to the Kings.
Decentralized states
These were states which did not have a central authority of Kings but later exhibited a decentralized system in which chiefs ruled small groups of people consisting of one or few clans. Example of these states were: Ibo in West Africa, Kikuyu and Iteso in Eastern Africa.
Factors which give rise to decentralized states
1. Small pace of development of trade with other societies
This small scale of trade did not need a strong control of ruler such as kings since the volume of trade was small and seasonal.
2. Absence of strong army
It prevented these states from expansion by conquering other areas.
3. Small population
Because of small population, clan leaders and elders were sufficient to control and organize their people without depending on complex government structure.
4. Lack of tradable natural resources
Decentralized societies lacked trading items like: copper, gold or salt in the region, so trade were not specially attracted to these areas.
Revision exercise
1. Choose the most correct answer and write it in the box provided:
I. Morans were:
A. Political leader among the Haya.
B. Old men with authority.
C. Soldiers who protected the Maasai.
D. Entertainers of the new generation.
II. One of the following political organization had a more complex form of government.
A. Kinship organization B. Ntemiship organization C. Age-set organization D. Kinship organization
III. What is not true about the western and central part of Tanganyika?
A. Nyamwezi Chiefdom developed in Western Tanganyika. B. Both had the Ngoni and the Kamba. C. The regions had Ntemiship D. Both participated in trade.
IV. Mtemi Mkwawa in Tanganyika died in:
A. 1870 B. 1884 C. 1890 D. 1898
V. The city states along the East African cost had:
A. Kingship system of government B. Stateless system during 19th C C. Sultanate system of government D. Chieftainship system of government
VI. The early centralized states in Sudanic zone existed in the period:
A. Between 4th and 17th Century A.D B. Between 8th and 12th Century A.D C. Between 15th and 18th Century A.D D. Between 14th and 13th century A.D
VII. The founder of Ghana empire came from:
A. Ijaw of Nigeria B. The Ibo and Ilunga of the Efik C. The so of Senegambia D. The Soninke of Mande speaking people
VIII. The capital of Ghana empire was:
A. Gao B. Wagadu C. Kumbisaleh D. Jannne
IX. The first prominent leader of the empire of Mali was:
A. Sunni Ali B. Mansa Kankan Musa C. Sumanguru Kante D. Sundiata Keita
X. Islam was spread in the Sudanic zone by:
A. Jihad from Egypt B. Israel from middle East C. Arab traders across the Sahara D. Swahili form the East African Coast
2. Write true for the correct statement and false for incorrect statement
I. Kinship organizations rose in the early agricultural societies.
II. Women and young boys grazed and milked cattle in the age set system.
III. There were decentralized and centralized states in the pre-colonial African societies.
IV. Ntemiship organizations grew in the interlacustrine region.
V. Kabaka was the title of the King among the Haya.
VI. Geographical location and population growth were the only factors which led to the development of Kingship organizations.
VII. Kilwa, Bagamoyo, Lamu and Mombasa had Sultanate as a form of state organizations in East Africa.
VIII. The Kamba in kenya, Makonde, Yao, Makua and Wamwera in Tanganyika had patrilineal system of heritage during the 19th C.
IX. Mukama was the title of Kings in the coastal area of the Indian Ocean in East Africa.
X. Bunyoro-Kitara empire was a centralized state.
3. Mention four functions of clan head.
4. Define the term below:
A. Matrilineal societies. B. Patrilineal societies.
5. What was the main economic activity among the people who had age-set organization?
6. List five roles of the Moran among the Maasai.
7. Give two types of state organization and their respective societies
8. List down five reasons which led to the rise of age set organization among the pastoral societies

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