Describe the political organization of the Maasai during the pre-colonial period. (12 marks)
- The Maasai were organized into clans. Each clan had it’s name and brand of cattle to identify it.
- Each clan was ruled by a council of elders comprised of retired warriors.
- The elders were chosen based on age, status and military record.
- The Maasai had 4 stages in life each with authority i.e.
- boyhood (ilaiyak) who cared for the family and livestock until they were circumcised at age of 15.
- Warrior-hood (Ilmuran) of ages 18 to 25 years. They defended the community and conducted raids.
- Junior – elders – this group was allowed to own livestock. They were concerned with day today issues of the community.
- Senior-elders – who acted as religious leaders and handled judicial and political issues.
- In the 19th century the Masaai adopted the institution of Oloiboni. He performed socio-religious functions.