STATE ORGANIZATION IN EARLY AFRICA

State is a community occupying a certain given territory and living under full control of its government and therefore it is independent form of external control. State in East Africa mostly started to emerge in the 18th century AD due to the rapid spread of agricultural communities and improvement of science and technology. Clan which possessed a deliquate labour and land resources or had better skills of iron use became dominant clan and leader of the community or village; they were respected and obeyed by other clan members. Those who disagreed with them migrated to other lands. In this way leader of the dominant clan assumed political and spiritual or ritual functions. Kings and queens were state leaders.

 

Village heads who were leaders of many clans in villages were under state of kings or queens also had their court to deal with judicial matters.

 

1.1.1. GENERAL FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION

  1. Conquest- some powerful states conquered the weaker societies and therefore making them strong and For example Buganda conquered Bunyoro in the interlacustrine regions.
  2. Trade-trade such as the Long distance trade enabled the society concerned to become strong and powerful after acquiring commodities of different types including weapons which were used for strengthening their societies. Baganda got guns from the East Coast to defend and expand. The empire of the Mali, Ghana and Songhai got metal and hoes from north Africa to strengthen their
  3. Good climate and fertile soils(soil fertility) It led to the increase of food and assurance of feeding which led to population increase, a factor which was very important for the state formation. For instance heavy rainfall and fertile soil enabled production of more food and surplus in
  4. Good leadership- some African rulers were strong and ambitious to expand their empire so they organized their people and got support from them for example: Kabanga of
  5. Availability of iron- iron promoted agricultural products and was used for making war weapons which in turn became most important for conquering other
  6. Migration-this was a complimentary factor it happened that some people migrated to other states and brought with them new technology and skills which were used to expand and strengthen the new societies
  7. Size of the kingdom- kingdoms that were small in size such as Buganda and Ghana were easier to organize,to administer effectively and to defend unlike the larger kingdoms like the Bunyoro; the effective control was
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1.1.2. Types of states in Africa

 

Each of the colonial African societies had a system of government that means each society had a set of rules, laws and traditions sometimes called customs that established part of a larger group. There were two dominant states emerged Africa and the varied more from one place to another;

  1. Decentralized state(non-centralized) or stateless political societies
  2. Centralized kingdoms and empires

 

1.1.2.1. DECENTRALIZED (NON CENTRALIZED STATE) OR STATELESS POLITICAL STATE.

 

These are societies that did not have well defined and complex or centralized system of government. These emerged as a result of one powerful family to control other clan to dominance of wealth and political power.

 

Characteristics of decentralized states:

  1. Most of them are small in terms of population and geographical
  2. Stateless political societies in Africa were usually made up of a group of either neighboring towns or villages that had no political connection with a larger kingdom as a
  3. They are characterized by politically autonomous villages. That is each village was politically separated and not connected to the neighboring village also no hereditary
  4. These were religious organization structures of kinship ties lineage groups and secret societies that provided
  5. They did not have a system of chiefs, it showed position of chief was weak and was not
  6. Chiefs were usually selected by a group of elders and not based on their family
  7. Some decentralized societies did not have chiefs they were organized by a council of elders which comprised of many elderly people in the

 

1.1.2.2. CENTRALIZED KINGDOMS AND EMPIRES

 

These are large kingdoms or empires that developed in a complex system of government. These large empires governed by kings who had near absolute power such as Ancient Egypt in north Africa, Ghana, Mali and Songhai in West Africa, Zimbabwe(southern Africa), Bunyoro, Buganda, Karagwe, Ankole and Toro of East Africa. These kingdoms were similar to those empires in Asia and Europe that were in existence during the same time/period. MansaMusa of Mali and the Sunni Ally of Songhai had near absolute power and there were no separation of power. The political control such as executive, legislature and judicial functioning were centralized in the hands of the few people.Political societies refer to these societies as centralized.

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1.1.2.3. SONGHAI EMPIRE (DEVELOPED TOWN OF GAO)

 

Another name for Songhai is Al Kaw Kaw

  • Rise 14th C AD
  • Fall in 16thC AD
  • Rulers;- Sunni Ali and Alasikia Mohammad
  • Morran invaded Songhai in 16th AD Forest states
  • AYO
  • IFE
  • BENIN
  • ASANTS
  • DOHAMEY

1.1.3. ASANTE EMPIRE

The rise 18th C AD The fall 19th C AD

Founders and heads of the Asante

  • Founder- Akan people
  • Title of a ruler chiefs-Asante Hene
  • Symbol of the state-golden stool
  • Leaders- Obin Yaboa, Osei Tutu,and Opuku Ware States in the north east
  1. Egypt
  2. Nubian
  3. Ethiopia

 

Egypt

Grew between 1500- 5000BC the leader was Pharaoh.

Buganda kingdom

Rise 14th and 15th C

Title of the leader- Kabaka.

 

1.2. FACTORS THAT GAVE RISE TO CENTRALIZED SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

 

  1. Existence of strong leadership for example among the Baganda, strong and able rulers such as Kyabagu, Suna and Mutesa 1 were able to unite the Baganda people and govern
  2. Permanent cultivation and dense
  3. A long period of war with neighbours encouraged the people to form one united state for the sake of security such as among the Sambaa and Baganda.
  4. Strong army helped to conquer new areas and force the people to accept the ruler of one

E.g Chief Mirambo of Unyamwezi

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