Nubians - Sociopolitical Organization

Political Organization. Prior to resettlement, Nubia was relatively isolated from the Egyptian and Sudanese governments. In Egypt, Nubia was divided into thirty-nine districts, each headed by a government-appointed headman ( omda ), who acted as the liaison between the district and the government. The town of Eneba was the seat or center of the Nubian government. In Sudan, there were six districts that served the same political function. The districts in Sudan did not exist before Muhamad Ali's conquest of Egypt and Sudan. The omda also appointed the town heads and the police officers, whose responsibilities included aiding citizens to register births and deaths, dealing with the rare instances of crime, and distributing government aid sent to the Nubian Valley. After resettlement, all of the Nubian groups acquired the new political organization of their respective states, which were in the process of postcolonial nation building.

Social Control and Conflict. Disputes and crime were originally handled by the elders of the hamlet, and rarely was a police officer or headman involved. Arab councils—tribunals based on tribal or clan affiliation—intervened to mediate any conflict that escalated (usually conflict over land).

Today traditional social-control mechanisms are used to resolve some conflicts, but, increasingly since 1965, conflict resolution has required more modern mechanisms, for example courts and state-trained police officers.

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