chapter  Four
‘Born to be Mugwe’
(Mugwe we ni guciarwa)
ByB. Bernardi
Pages 28

The power of the Mugwe is a hereditary power, which has been handed down from father to son within the same family for generations. The hereditary principle is supported by myths which assert that all the Agwe are descended from the same family. This assertion provides another piece of evidence with regard to the mythological origins of the Ugwe in general. The Tharaka tradition is more widespread among the Meru sub-tribes. The Mugwe of the Tharaka went among the Igembe at a time of famine when they were suffering greatly. There are at least two ways in which a new Mugwe takes office, now and in the recent past. One is followed by the Chuka, the Tharaka, and the Imenti, the other by the Tigania and the Igembe. Kiragu is, generally speaking, the power of the Ugwe, the Ugwe itself or the thing by which the Mugwe is made to be the Mugwe.