HISTORY NOTES-FORM ONE TOPIC 4: DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM

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Before the coming of colonialist Africans they had their own social and political system of administration, African administration system was interrupted after the interaction with colonialist in 19th century.
The following were the Development of social and political system before colonialism in Africa.

1. The Clan Organization

2. Chiefdom Organization

3. Age set Organization

4. Ntemiship Organization

5. State Organization

THE CLAN ORGANIZATION
Clan was the organisation  which involved combination of several related families with a common ancestor. clan organization combined with both the matrilineal and patrilineal societies.

In the patrineal societies clan heritage was based on the father, in the matrilineal clan heritage was based on the mother examples of this society were Mweras, Kambas and Kikuyus whom others are patrineals. The main economic activity in the
clan organization was agriculture. clan is controlled or ruled by the clan’s head. More examples of matrilineal societies; The Ngindo, Zaramo,
Makua and Matumbi.

DUTIES OR FUNCTIONS OF THE CLAN HEAD
1. To distribute land to the communities or clan members.
2. To preserve traditions and customs of the clan.
3. To preserve land belonging to the clan.
4. To settle disputes and quarrels.
5. To find wives for boys and husbands for girls.

Types of clan organizations in agricultural societies.
 There are two types of clan organizations in agricultural societies;
1. Matrilineal
2. Partrilineal

Matrilineal clan organization
This is a society where by the husband moved to the wife’s family and
children of the new family belonged to the mother’s (wife’s clan). As a
result clan heritage was based on the mother’s clan. Uncles have to make
all the important decisions concerning the children and the nephews of
their sisters. Matrilineal age in Africa was practiced among the
Makonde, Makua, Mwera and the Yao of Tanzania and the Kamba of Kenya.

Patrilineal clan organization societies
This is the system of organization in which the clan heritage was based
on the father’s line and all children bared the name of the father. The
husband had to pay substantial bride price in different forms such as
cattle, goats, etc in Oder to get the wife, the bride price could be
stored as wealth, in this system all the children of the new family
belonged to the father’s clan.
By the 18 th and 19 th century clan system changed to chief train ship after several came to be controlled under one leader.

CHIEFDOM ORGANISATION

Chiefdom or Chieftain Organization  system was adopted by many societies that
were under clan organisation. This included the Sukuma, Chagga, Nyakyusa, etc. The functions of a chief in these societies were similar to that of the clan leader the difference is the chief had a larger area.

AGE SET ORGANIZATION.
This kind of socio-political organization based on age and sex. In order
for one to fit in the society one was required to fulfill certain
obligations. Often the main productive activity was based on the harsh
environments. Such as arid grass land and semi arid, in these areas poor
soil could not support agriculture economy but vegetation could be used for animal husbandry.
Age set organization was the determinant form of organization in
pastoral societies. The best example of these societies were the Maasai of East Africa, Hausa in West Africa and the Khoi Khoi of South Africa. The division of responsibilities and duties was based on
age and sex and was usually done during intuition ceremonies. Youth were
taught special responsibilities. Age set covered a specific group of years for example;
a. Children group aged 0-8 years were regarded as non producers group. They were not directly involved in production.
b. Youth group 8-18 years their main responsibility was to graze animals, trading young animals and milking cattle they were assisted by women.
c. Moran group ( people between youth and adults aged between
35 years) and above these were soldiers of the society and the main
responsibilities of the Moran were as follows;
i. To protect the whole society as trained soldiers.
ii. To protect live stock against dangerous animals and raiders
iii. To increase the number of animals through raiding their neighbours
iv. To travel with their herds in search for water and pastures.
d. Laibons this is the group of elders aged 40 years and above it consisted of elders who were divided in groups namely;
Junior elders
Elders
And senior elders

Responsibilities of elders :
1. To control live stock and all the properties on behalf of their communities.
2. To enable norms and ethics to govern the society.
3. They were top overseers of all the spiritual and political matters of the community.
4. They were responsible for counseling other members of the society.
5. To settle disputes among the society members 6. They were regarded as
retired producers of the society but their ideas and skills were highly
appreciated.

NTEMISHIP :
Ntemi comes from the word “kutema” which means opening up of new land.
It also means finding a locality.Ntemi was the name given to a leader
who organized the action of opening up new land and controlled the
people, Ntemiship was being practised in Unyamwezi by 1300 AD. It then
spread in the neighbouring such as the Sukuma, Sangu, Hehe, Kimbu, Gogo
and Bena of Tanzania. There were about 300 Ntemiship in Tanzania in the
18 th C. Among the Sukuma, the ruler in Ntemiship organization was
called Ntemi. He became Ntemi because he was the founder of the
locality. He was chosen by a counsel of elders choosing a person to
become Ntemi depended on his wisdom courage and experience.

Responsibilities of the Ntemi :
1. He was the top authority in the political and judicial matters provided overall guidance in the community.
2. He enforced proper uses of resources such as land, water, forest resources etc.
3. He was the overseer of the community food reserve.
4. He settled disputes in the community.
5. He had the religious power. He led the people in his community in
performing religious ceremonies and offering sacrifices to the spirits.
6. To collect tributes from his subjects.
7. He provided over all guidance in the society.

Factors for the rise of the Nyamwezi Kingdom:
Nyamwezi who lived in central Tanzania area group of the Bantu
societies. Each of these societies had their own settlements headed by a
chief and titled Mtemi(Ntemi).
Ntemiship (chiefdom) was composed of people of shared background or
kingship and believes. Each of the Nyamwezi kingdoms had a Ntemi at the
centre who was helped by a council of elders the Wanyampala in
administration.Towards the middle of 19 th century more dynamic
political structure developed among the Nyamwezi under Fundikira,
Nyunguyamawe and Mirambo. This led to the institution of the Ntemi
becoming one of the most powerful positions; the several Nyamwezi
settlements were united under one senior Ntemi.
Factors for the rise of the Nyamwezi kingdom or chiefdom can be explained below as follows;
1. Ngoni invasions- the Ngoni invasions in Western Tanganyika made the
Nyamwezi people to unite in order to resist the Ngoni attackers.
2. Trade expansion; The expansion of local trade into the Regional trade/ Long distance
trade due to emergency of wealthy traders like the Mirambo who made the
effective use of Ruganga.
3. Penetration of the Europeans into the coastal interior trade.This introduced new trading patterns to the Nyamwezi traders who joined together to effective resist European pressure to stop slave trade.
4. The rise of Mirambo as trader and leader used their influence to unite the Nyamwezi land.
5. The use of the gun and gun powder by the Mirambo’s solders; this caused the weakening of watemi submissive to his rule.
6. Growth of the towns Example: Tabora and Ujiji.
7. Population growth.
8. Unity among the people.

STATE ORGANIZATION.
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 18 th 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.

GENERAL FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION.
1. Conquest-
some powerful states conquered the weaker societies and
therefore making them strong and expand. 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 military.
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 Buganda.
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 Buganda.
5. Availability of iron- iron promoted agricultural products and was
used for making war weapons which in turn became most important for
conquering other states.
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
concerned.
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 impossible. State formation in Africa Environmental factor Location
of a place e.g. in trading while some of the African States were near
to the trading towns as they obtained tax and commodities. Iron
technology in Africa also helped in the development and rise of Africa
states e.g. By Iron they made weapons like spears, Arrows, guns etc.
weapons were useful on conquering small states eg. Buganda conquered
Bunyaro-Kutoro, Nyankole. Some states had good leadership and they were able to organise their states e.g. Shaka Zulu, Mirambo of Nyamwezi, Mkwawa of Hehe. Tunkumanin of Ghana, Sunsiata of Mali etc. Men belonging to African societies were involved in long and short distance trade which led to:

  • Outbreak of wars and migration
  • Formal governments

Prime minister, council of elders, Provision chief, general commander and others like Abakungu, Abalangira. Some
states rose up due to the influence of the Islamic religion e.g.
through the use of Jihad while states were turned into Islamic states.
For instance in West Africa we see the Sokoto caliphate (under Uthman
Dan fodio) who managed to conquer several states in the forest zone. Some
of African tribes had strong armies and had improved weapons for
conquering other states. It is said that before the White man’s
intrusion, Ghana had about 20,000 experienced soldiers and Mali had
10,000 soldiers. Fall of some states in Africa

  • Increase in size of states led to poor organisation and state management e.g. Ghana and other states.
  • Wars and conquest while some of the states were conquered by strong states
    e.g. In Mfecane war about 100 states were conquered by Zulu.
  • Slave trade in Africa also affected a lot of weak states while strong states
    managed to conquer small states e.g. Fulani in West Africa declined due to this.
  • The system of obtaining leaders through heritage did not lead to the
    development of states but the fall of states that were following this
    system.
  • The conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims in some societies while
    non-Muslimsocieties being conjured by the Muslim societies.
  • Weak leaders in some societies failed to organise their states leding to their decline.

STATES ORGANISATION 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. Decentralised states (Non centralised)
  2. Centralised states.

These emerged as a result of one powerful family to control other classes in domination of wealth and political power.

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 DECENTRALISED STATES
1. Most of them are small in terms of population and geographical areas.
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 nation.
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 chiefs.
4. These were religious organization structures of kinship ties lineage groups and secret societies that provided regulations.
5. They did not have a system of chiefs, it showed position of chief was weak and was not hereditary.
6. Chiefs were usually selected by a group of elders and not based on their family connections.
7. Some decentralized societies did not have chiefs they were organized by a council of elders which comprised of many elderly people in the community. 

CENTRALISED 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. Mansa Musa 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. Some African societies were large empires governed by kings, who had near absolute power. For Example:

  1. North Africa – Egypt, Nubia, Axum in North East
  2. Ghana, Mali, Soghai and Kaneroi Burnu in Western
  3. Buganda, Karagwe, Ankole and Tero in East Africa

CHARACTERISTICS OF CENTRALISED POLITICAL SYSTEMS

  1. Presence of a king or queen.
  2. The clan had to pay tribute to the monarchy
  3. Availability of enough food to feed the settled population
  4. The centralised authority was responsible for solving social disputes.

Example: Ancient Egypt Origins:
According to archaeological evidence, the Egyptian state arose between
1500 and 500 BC. The evidence also show that by this time there were
already villages of self sufficient producers who grew wheat, barley and
kept animals. These producers formed permanent settlements as they
increased in population.

REASONS FOR THE RISE OF THE EGYPTIAN STATE

  1. The development of agriculture and pastoralism
  2. Specialization of labour
  3. The rise of Nemes who united the upper and the lower Egypt
  4. Development of local industries
  5. Taxation
  6. Strong Army
  7. Development of productive forces

Therefore any one with the following rose to power:

  1. Anyone who could control disasters by rituals and charms
  2. Anyone who had experience and stored knowledge of floods
  3. Anyone who had knowledge of predicting floods

CLASSES IN THE EGYPTIAN STATE

  1. The ruling class- Consisted of the Pharaoh who was at the top followed by
    the nobility, priests, court officials and other officials- Followed by
    administrators of the people called the Vizier.
  2. The working class
  3. The peasants and slaves

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia started as a small kingdom known as Axum, was founded near the red sea
coast by a dynasty of Sabean from the other side of the Red Sea. The
Ethiopia arose around 1000 BC

FACTORS FOR THE GROWTH OF THE ETHIOPIAN STATE

  1. Strong leadership
  2. Agriculture
  3. Unity among the people
  4. Growth of local industries
  5. Strong army
  6. Taxation
  7. Christianity

CLASSES IN ETHIOPIA

  1. Feudal Lords
  2. Peasants (tenants and serfs)
  3. Slaves.

Feudalism was consolidated by the introduction of Christianity during the 4th AD and King Ezana was the first to be converted. King Zangwe built 30 churches. A descendant of King Solomon and Queen Sheba. Expansion done by 3 emperors (leaders):

  1. Zangwe Dynasty – 12th C – 13th C
  2. King Theodire – 19th C – 1855 – 1868
  3. Menelik II – 19th C – 1889 – 1913 Menelik II made Addis Ababa his Capital

THE KINGDOM OF NUBIA

Nubia lay in the area that cut across the borders of modern Sudan, Egypt, and
Ethiopia. The Nubian State arose around 200 BC. It was called Kush and
its capital was Napata. In 3rd C the capital shifted to Meroe.

FACTORS FOR THE RISE/GROWTH OF THE NUBIAN STATE

  1. Agricultural activities
  2. Trade
  3. Availability of valuable goods e.g. Gold and Ivory
  4. Development of local industries

DECLINE OF NUBIA

  1. Feudal lords were against the peasants
  2. Attacks by Muslims
  3. Disunity

WESTERN SUDANIC STATES

The early State in western Sudan was established in the region between the Sahara desert and the forest region of the South. The most important states are Ghana, Mali, Songhai and Kanem Bornu

GENERAL FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF WESTERN SUDANIC STATES

  1. Geographical location
  2. Iron technology
  3. The growth of population
  4. Development of local industries
  5. Taxation
  6. Trans – Saharan trade
  7. Availability of valuable goods e.g. gold
  8. Good centralised government
  9. Capable leaders
  10. Strong army

GHANA EMPIRE

During its rise Ghana had two main towns, one occupied by Muslims and the
other by Pagans. The rulers and the people were Soninke speaking group.
The word Ghana as the King title emerged in 5th AD. The capital center
of administration was Koumbi Saleh.

FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF THE GHANIAN EMPIRE

  1. Agricultural activities
  2. Availability of valuable goods e. g gold
  3. Trans – Saharan trade in gold and salt
  4. Good leadership and efficient system of government.
  5. Common language.

FACTORS FOR THE DECLINE OF GHANA EMPIRE

  1. Almoravids constant attacks
  2. Disunity among people
  3. Jihad wars
  4. Lack of stable system of royal successions
  5. The rise of rural kingdoms e.g. Mali

MALI EMPIRE

Early in the 3rd C Ghana fell apart as a result of the war between Samangwa
the king of Ghana and Prince Sundiata Keita the king of Kagaba. Ghana
was defeated and Ghana fell under Sundiata’s rulership. Sundiata formed a
large kingdom known as Mali the capital was Niani and the title of the
ruler was Mansa.

FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF THE MALI

  1. The fall of Ghanaian empire
  2. Control of gold fields of Bure
  3. Strong army
  4. Agricultural activities
  5. Trans – Saharan trade
  6. Strong leadership of Sundiata Keita and later Mauna Kan Kan Musa
  7. Islamic faith which promoted libraries and Islamic universities.

DECLINE OF THE MALI EMPIRE

  1. Weak leadership after the death of Mansa Mahmud IV
  2. Empire became too large to control
  3. Lack of unity and the empire was divided into three spheres of influence and they foughtagainst each other.
  4. Attacks by Tuaregs
  5. Civil wars
  6. The rise of Songhai empire

SONGHAI EMPIRE

In the late 15th Century the Songhai empire originally the Gao, conquered
neighbouring states under the leadership of Sunni Ali and formed the
large empire of Songhai. Gao became its capital at around the 11th C and
remained the capital under the empire. Its famous leaders were Sunni
Alli, Askia Mohamed and Askia Daud.

FACTORS FOR THE GROWTH OF SONGHAI EMPIRE

  1. Agriculture activities
  2. Strong army
  3. Trans – Sahara trade
  4. Good administration
  5. Taxation
  6. Islamic faith

THE BENIN EMPIRE

  1. Weak leadership after the death of Askia Daud
  2. The Moroccan invasion
  3. The empire was too large to control
  4. Religious hostility between Islamic and traditional beliefs
  5. The shift in orientation of trade towards the Atlantic

FOREST STATES Benin empire was a very small state made up of the Edo speaking people. The highest authority at the time were chiefs known as Ogiso which meant the ‘Kings of the Sky’ and the administrative centre was Ubinu. Between 1388 – 1431 there was a series of civil wars which divided the Edo.
After the death of the last Ogiso, his son Prince Ekaladerhan left for exile and established himself in Ile-Ife, so when the Edo people requested his return, he sent his son, Prince Oranmiyan who took up the throne.

EXPANSION INTO CITY-STATE EMPIRE

By 15th C the empire expanded into a city-state under the leadership of Oba Ewuare the Great

REASONS FOR THE RISE OF THE BENIN EMPIRE

  1. Some of capable rulers the greatest of whom was Ewuare
  2. Good centralized system of Government
  3. Trade
  4. Unity
  5. Development of Handicraft Industry

DECLINE OF THE BENIN EMPIRE

  • Introduction of slave trade
  • Trans- Atlantic trade
  • Firearms introduced through European trade caused tribal wars that led to the finaldecline of the Benin Empire.

THE EMPIRE OF OYO

Oyo empire began in the late 14th C or early 15th C likely 1388 – 1431. The people of Oyo were Oranmiyan, their capital was Oyo-Ile and the King of Oyo was called Alaafin. The Bashoran was the leader of the army.

REASONS FOR THE RISE OF THE OYO EMPIRE

  1. It had organised political system headed by a number of great Alafins
  2. Strong organised army
  3. Agricultural activities
  4. Development of local industries
  5. Slave trade
  6. Dahomey tributary

DECLINE OF THE OYO EMPIRE

  1. Conflict between Alafin and Basharon
  2. Conquest from the Fulani and Dahomey
  3. Civil wars and disunity

DAHOMEY EMPIRE

Dahomey rose after the decline of Oyo in the 19thC. it was founded by the Fon people. It had good leaders such as King Agaja and Houegbadja who built the Royal Palaces of Abomey.

THE RISE OF THE DAHOMEY EMPIRE IN THE 18th C

  1. Growth of centralised and powerful monarchy
  2. Boyul succession system was effective
  3. Strong army
  4. Good leadership of King Gezo and later Aguja
  5. Control of slave trade

DECLINE OF DAHOMEY

Dahomey declined after the arrival of the French.

ASANTE EMPIRE

Asante or Ashanti empire was found as a result of emergence of several cities
in the region of Kumasi. The people of Asante were Akan ruled by the
Oyuko clan. The King was Obiri Yeboa who was Osei Tutu. The capital city
of Asante or Ashanti was Kumasi. The symbol of Asante union was a
Golden stool. The ruler of Asante was known as Asantehene.

FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF ASANTE

  1. Agricultural activities
  2. Development of local industries
  3. Some of its capable rulers e.g. Osei Tutu
  4. Well organised political system
  5. Trade

DECLINE– The state declined after the arrival of Europeans.

CENTRALISED STATES OF CENTRAL AFRICA

Example: Onya empire, it was founded in the 14th C. The head of the kingdom took
the title of Munikongo or Mwekongo means lord of Kongo. The capital was
Mbaza which the Portuguese later baptised Sutrador.

FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF CONGO EMPIRE

  1. Technological development e.g. Iron technology
  2. Trade
  3. Taxation
  4. Development of local industries
  5. Emergence of traditional leaders with a strong belief in spiritual and magic power

DECLINE OF THE CONGO EMPIRE

  • The arrival of the Portuguese
  • Slave trade
  • Weak
    leadership after Manikongo Mingo Mkuwa who acquired up an Embassy
    inPortugal. His son Mzingo Mbemba was baptized as Dan Alfonce. He was a
    puppet of thePortuguese and caused civil war in Kongo.

MWENEMUTAPA KINGDOM

This Kingdom was created under the leadership of Mutola. Mutola conquered
Tongu and Torura of the Zambezi valley. He acquired the title of
Mwenemutapa which means ‘Master of conquered lands’. He was a political,
military and religious leader. Mutola died in 1450 and his son Matope
inherited, after Matope’s death in 1480 Changamire took over in 1490.

REASONS FOR THE RISE OF MWENEMUTAPA

  1. Agriculture activities
  2. Good leadership of Mutola
  3. Availability of valuable goods e.g. copper, iron and gold
  4. They controlled trade routes
  5. Trading centres

REASONS FOR THE DECLINE OF MWENEMUTAPA

  1. The arrival of Portuguese who monopolized the gold trade
  2. The kingdom became divided into two parts Mutapa and Ruzwi
  3. Rebellion from local people

After the death of Matope, his son Nyahuma took over. He was younger than the other chief who wanted power so that chief rebelled and caused civil war.

THE LUBA STATE

This state is found between the tributaries of river Kongo. The Songiye people migrated from Katanga led by a leader from the Kangolo clan. The united Kaniok and from Luba kingdom, Ilungambila married into the Kangolo clan. This intermarriage gave rise to the Luba lineage of Kalala Ilunga, the founder of Munza as capital of Luba.

REASONS FOR THE RISE OF THE LUBA STATE

The entre of the empire lay in the valley of Nkala river. The Luba kings
took the title of Mwanta. It began as a simple village and their first
ruler was called Mwantagaand. Ilunga Tshibinda who came from Luba
married a princess from the area and their son became the first
paramount ruler of the Lunda State.

  1. Centralised system of administration where the kingdom had final say in wars and external trade
  2. The development of trade
  3. Agricultural activities
  4. The presence of iron technology

THE LUNDA STATE

FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF LUNDA STATE
  1. Iron technology
  2. Development of local industries
  3. Agriculture activities
  4. Good leadership
  5. Trade.

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 them.
2. Permanent cultivation and dense population.
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 leader. E.g Chief Mirambo of Unyamwezi

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