chapter  Six
The Position of the Mugwe in the Social Structure
ByB. Bernardi
Pages 28

The division of the Meru into sub-tribes and the partition of land among them was due, according to the elders, to the necessity of finding good farming land for all of them and to the need for avoiding, as far as possible, feuds and internecine quarrels. Since their division each sub-tribe has developed more or less independently to become, in fact, a self-contained social and political unit. Their structure, their age-organization, their ceremonies and rituals are all very similar, though local differences may be stressed, even at the present day, to throw into relief the individuality of each sub-tribe as such. Elderhood is a basic structural principle of the social and political organization of the Meru. The intimate connection of the Mugwe with the age-class system is also typical and a basic function of his office. The structural importance of the Mugwe is emphasized by the attitude of the elders.