ChapterPDF Available

From native administration to native system: The Reproduction of a Colonial model of governance in post-independent Sudan



Content may be subject to copyright.
Munzoul A. M. Assal
Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil
Past, present,
and future
Munzoul A. M. Assal
Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil
Past, present,
and future
Copyright © Chr. Michelsen Institute 2015.
P.O. Box 6033
N-5892 Bergen
Printed at Kai Hansen Trykkeri Kristiansand AS, Norway
Cover photo: Liv Tønnessen
Layout and design: Geir Årdal
ISBN 978-82-8062-521-2
Table of contents ............................................................................. iii
Notes on contributors ....................................................................vii
Acknowledgements ...................................................................... xiii
Preface ............................................................................................ xv
Chapter 1: Introduction
Munzoul A. M. Assal and Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil ......................... 1
Chapter 2: The state of anthropology in the Sudan
Abdel Ghaffar M. Ahmed ................................................................. 21
Chapter 3: Rethinking ethnicity: from Darfur to China
and back—small events, big contexts
Gunnar Haaland ........................................................................... 37
Chapter 4: Strategic movement: a key theme in Sudan
Wendy James ................................................................................ 55
Chapter 5: Urbanisation and social change in the Sudan
Fahima Zahir El-Sadaty ................................................................. 69
Chapter 6: Old Omdurman and national integration:
the socio-historical roots of social exclusion
Idris Salim El-Hassan ...................................................................... 81
Chapter 7: Anthropology and peacebuilding in Sudan—
some reflections
Gunnar M. Sørbø ........................................................................... 95
Chapter 8: The predicament of access to, and management
of, resources in “globalised” Sudan. Some notes on Arab
pastoralists in the Butana and Southern Kordofan
Barbara Casciarri ........................................................................ 111
Chapter 9: Conflicts on the move—looking at the complexity
of the so-called “resource based conflicts” in Western Sudan
Leif Manger .................................................................................. 139
Chapter 10: A Sudanese anthropologist doing fieldwork
in Norway: Some critical reflections
Munzoul A. M. Assal ..................................................................... 163
Chapter 11: Pluralism and governance in Sudan:
reflections on the local and national perspectives
Ahmed Al-Shahi ........................................................................... 179
Chapter 12: Identity conflicts and culture concepts:
Insights from Sudan
Jay O’Brien ................................................................................... 191
Chapter 13: From native administration to native system:
the reproduction of a colonial model of governance
in post-independence Sudan
Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil ............................................................... 223
Chapter 14: Anthropological studies on religion in Sudan
Osman Mohamed Osman Ali .................................................... 235
Chapter 15: Gendering the politics of memory:
Women, identity, and conflict in Sudan
Sondra Hale ................................................................................. 247
Chapter 16: From “harmful traditions” to “pathologies
of power”: Re-vamping the anthropology of health in Sudan
Ellen Gruenbaum ........................................................................ 263
Chapter 17: Historical thinking in political discourses:
the case of land issues in South Kordofan
Enrico Ille ...................................................................................... 277
Chapter 18: Rethinking livelihoods in the Gezira Scheme:
a study of the Al-Takala village
Abdalla Mohamed Gasimelseed .............................................. 291
FiFty years oF anthropology in sudan: past, present, and Future
Chapter 13
From Native
Administration to Native
System: the reproduction
of a colonial model
of governance in post-
independence Sudan
Musa Adam Abdul-Jalil
e term “Native Administration” refers to a form of local governance based on tribes or
ethnic groups as social units. Although its roots existed among local communities for a long
time before the advent of colonialism, the specic formulation and integration of tribal lead-
ers into the workings of a modern state apparatus was specically promoted by European
colonial authorities in Africa. In the Sudanese context, it was the British colonial authorities
that were responsible for the implementation of this type of apparatus. Employed to die-
rentiate it from administration by expatriates working for the colonial government, the term
continued to be used even aer the country achieved its political independence in 1956.
e proponents of the system thought that the ethnic pattern of decentralised governance
was best suited for traditional societies where identity groups lived in spatial and intellec-
tual isolation. Communities were physically isolated by natural barriers (rivers, mountains,
deserts, etc.) that impaired communal interaction. ey were also intellectually isolated and
characterised by illiteracy, which was widespread and compromised inter-communal com-
the reproduction oF a colonial model oF governance in post-independence sudan
munication. e traditional societies lived in a state of insecurity as modern government
institutions responsible for the protection of people’s lives and property either did not exist
or were inecient. Such communities developed their own systems of grassroots admini-
stration to cater to the provision of security and communal solidarity. In fact, tribal and
ethnic leadership preceded the Anglo-Egyptian colonial era in Sudan (1899-1955), although
it did not have a unied pattern of political institutions. Dierent local communities had
dierent structures and functions for political leadership depending on their particular
historical and cultural conditions. In a sense, the colonial administration provided the context
for political unication of the country for the rst time in its modern history.
Sudan is no exception in this regard. For the fact that European colonialism created new
states in the continents of Africa, North America and South America as well as in Australia
and New Zealand is common knowledge. Additionally, colonial powers also altered the indig-
enous political systems of the colonised; in particular they reinvented the “tribe” as the most
viable political unit to which individuals belonged, even in cases where diversication took
place (Mafeje 1971). is was in sharp contrast to the idea of “citizenship” that characterised
the European perception of a modern state, which was supposed to be part of the civilising
mission and an acceptable justication for colonialism in the rst place.
e present chapter deals with the case of promoting tribal leadership as a component of
political and security administration in Greater Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. Although
the newly introduced system has been given the name of “Native System,” it shares many
similarities with the Native Administration that British colonial authorities had introduced
in the rst quarter of the twentieth century. An important question to ask therefore is: If the
establishment of a native administration by British colonial authorities can be understood
against this backdrop, how can we understand its re-adoption by the Sudanese government
in the twenty-rst century? is chapter attempts to answer this question. However, to do
so, it follows the case of Native Administration from its early stages.
Native Administration and the
Anglo-Egyptian colonial rule (1899–1955)
As a prerequisite for the imposition of the colonial type of economy in Sudan, the condo-
minium rule was actively involved in the pacication of its opponents and consolidation
of its powers. Because of the vastness of the rural areas of the country, these goals meant
the reorganisation and management of the dierent tribes by dening their territories and
retaining their tribal leaders (wherever that was possible), and avoiding weakening them so
that the existing system should not be disturbed. In other words, a so landing policy was
adopted, with the old order gradually giving way to a new one.
e colonial government retained many of the institutions from the old regime under the
newly re-congured “Native Administration” (idara ahlia). However, it also introduced
major changes to the system. e primary function of the native administrator came to
be one of maintaining law and order within one’s identity group and between it and other
identity groups. is also meant that any anti-government activity had to be promptly
reported. e responsibility of protecting peoples’ lives and property is of course the primary
FiFty years oF anthropology in sudan: past, present, and Future
responsibility of a modern government. However, it would have been extremely costly for
the colonial rule to provide security institutions for every village and every nomadic camp.
Besides providing a cheap type of administrative machinery, the native administrators were
also responsible for animal tax assessment and collection, the protection of the environment
and the settlement of disputes. In order to increase their eciency, they were supported
by a system of “Native Courts” that ruled according to customs and traditions rather than
according to a modern statutory law.
In establishing the Native Administration, the colonial authorities adopted the philosophy of
indirect rule developed by Frederick Lugard, the then British High Commissioner in Nigeria.
e Lugardian model, as discussed by AbuShouk and Bjorkelo (2004), was a practical form
of administration and control that would leave the local population free to manage their
own aairs through their own rulers, under the guidance of the British sta, and subject
to the laws and policies of the administration. It is based on the following fundamentals:
1. A political hierarchy of local chiefs that would derive its powers from the central govern-
ment and be in charge of the maintenance of law and order, organisation of labour and
collection of local taxes.
2. A parallel hierarchy of native courts which would deal with minor criminal, civil and
personal cases in terms of customary law and general principals of justice.
3. A native treasury that would manage local revenues and pay out necessary expenses
of local authorities and social services.
4. A team of local sta which would carry out its duties under the guidance of British eld
ocers and subject to the laws and policies of administration.
e application of this model in Sudan meant that the British opted for the incorporation
of traditional tribal and village leaders in the structure of local government. e native or
tribal administration was based on an earlier system of regions divided into recognised dars
or tribal homelands. Accordingly, local gures were entrusted with administrative, judicial
and security matters in their territorial domains. e system was gradually developed and
nally legalised aer a series of ordinances in 1922, 1925, 1927 and 1928, and eventually
consolidated in the Native Courts Ordinance of 1932, which regulated the administra-
tive and judicial powers of tribal sheikhs and established a hierarchy of local courts in the
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (Abdul-Jalil 1985). Such a system provided security with minimal
sta and nance. e model was further modied when the local government framework
was introduced in 1932, and municipalities, townships and rural councils were created
in 1937. However, traditional tribal leaders with their executive, nancial and legislative
powers remained an integral part of the reformed system. A further development took place
in 1951 with the establishment of a new Local Government Ordinance. According to this
new arrangement tribal leaders assumed an honorary role in the newly established local
councils, which took over the nancial and executive powers previously held by tribal leaders.
e Native Administration provided a system of local governance, which managed the use
of natural resources and allowed various groups to live in relative peace and stability. e
the reproduction oF a colonial model oF governance in post-independence sudan
system consisted of three administrative tiers. At the top tier were the paramount chiefs
(Nazirs, Sultans, Shartais or Meliks), with variations in the title depending on the dierent
regions of the country. e paramount chief was to be in charge of an entire tribe assisted
in most cases by “Omdas” (heads of tribal sub-sections). ese comprised the middle tier of
the administrative structure. At the bottom were the “sheikhs” (village or camp headmen).
All these native administrators were granted powers to maintain law and order and collect
taxes in their respective communities. e paramount chiefs and some Omdas were also
given judicial powers to settle disputes among individuals.
A chain of command was maintained so that family heads would be responsible towards
their respective sheikhs, who in turn were responsible towards the Omdas, the latter being
accountable to the paramount chief. Mohamed (1998) argues that the system was particularly
ecient in maintaining law and order because members of the lower tier were well con-
nected and responsible towards members of the upper tier. When a crime was committed,
the paramount chief would immediately know about it through the Omda, the sheikh, and
heads of extended families who all acted as informants.
Native Administration after independence
Upon becoming independent, Sudan inherited the Native Administration system, which
successfully maintained law and order among rural and nomadic communities according
to the philosophy of indirect rule. Independence brought new demands for which the Native
Administration was not prepared. e subjects now had legal rights towards their state as
citizens and not as mere tribesmen. Because of the nationalistic trends that accompanied
independence, the system became politicised and its functions slightly altered so that it no
longer only served the purpose of maintaining law and order.
e public opinion was mostly unfavourable towards the Native Administration, especially
in large urban centres. First, the system was not welcomed by the leaders of the nationalist
movement, who were attempting to liberate Sudan from colonial rule. ey perceived of
native administrators as the stooges created by the colonial government to perpetuate its
rule. Second, following the emergence of political parties in the Sudan, the radical political
parties, especially the leists, regarded native administrators (particularly the paramount
chiefs) as the supporters of the reactionary political parties of the Umma and the National
Unionists. ey acted relentlessly to attack the native administrators and undermine their
leadership position. is gave rise to local resistance to the Native Administration by the
newly emerging educated and politically conscious segments of local communities.
e most serious blows to Native Administration came in 1964 and 1970. Following the 1964
October uprising, a resolution was reached by the leist-dominated caretaker government
to abolish the system. However, as the government was short-lived, the resolution was not
implemented because national elections brought a conservative government that ignored
the resolution altogether. But another radical government ascended to power in 1969 and
it removed most paramount chiefs in northern Sudan from oce. e military regime of
Jaafar Nimeiri formally abolished Native Administration in 1970 and in 1971 passed the
People’s Local Government Act, which divided the country into regional, district, and area
councils. e new local administration replaced the Native Administration and abolished the
FiFty years oF anthropology in sudan: past, present, and Future
jurisdiction and administrative authority of the tribal leaders. Some say this re-organisation
was the rst factor that triggered tribal conicts on a wider scale in regions like Darfur and
Kordofan. e critical weakness in modernising the administration lay in the change of
emphasis from its previous judicial role (maintaining law and order) to an administrative
role, to which political mobilisation was later added.
Since 1964, the demoralised native administrators have become less eective in carrying
out their traditional role of maintaining law and order and resolving disputes among their
tribal folk. ey were further weakened by the central government tampering with the
native courts under the pretext of the need to separate legal and administrative tasks.
By doing so, however, they introduced a new type of administration that is akin to modern
society, in which specic institutions perform specic functions. In traditional adminis-
tration, a single ruler performed all functions (i.e., administration, law, governance, and
nancial responsibilities). In practice, however, tribal leaders did not disappear from the
political scene as they continued to be acknowledged heads of their groups. Moreover, the
tribe became a political base to promote its members to senior positions in local councils,
as well as to the membership of the regional and national assemblies. Ethnic allegiance and
increasing polarisation have permeated every corner of government oces, as members of
the group are considered to be representatives of their tribes and are supposed to work for
the interests of their tribal folk. is was akin to a sort of vertical ethnic expansion, from
the local level to the regional and even national levels.
Prior to abolishing Native Administration, the Nimeiri regime had already dissolved all
political parties in the Sudan. e vacuum was lled with an emerging new social and
political force, the Sudanese Socialist Union (SSU), the only recognised party at that time.
In the rural areas SSU chapters were led by the rural elite comprising of teachers, small
traders, and local government employees, resulting in the emergence of new leadership in
the regions. Nonetheless, when decentralisation was introduced and regional governments
were formed in 1981, Native Administration was re-established in some regions (mainly
in Darfur, Kordofan, and the eastern regions). e downfall of Nimeiri in 1984 brought
additional hope for native administrators. In 1987, during the second democratic era, many
native administrators found their way to the national assembly as representatives of their
tribes. By 1989, the National Islamic Front seized power in Sudan through a military coup
in the form of the National Salvation Revolution. Since then, the Native Administration has
been subject to structural and mandatory changes to conform to the pronounced Islamic
orientation of the state.
The Ingaz regime’s policy of Native
Administration and the introduction
of the Native System in Khartoum State
e proponents of the new regime had earlier discredited Native Administration as a back-
ward system and supported attempts to abolish it. But aer ascending to power they started
rethinking their position on a more realistic basis. ey thought that embracing Native
Administration would give the regime quick access to the rural populace, which remained
the reproduction oF a colonial model oF governance in post-independence sudan
for a long time the domain of traditional parties. Moreover, native administrators could be
used to promote the goals of the regime in the Islamisation of public life.
e revival of the Native Administration in the 1990s was associated with the intensions
of the government to increase its popularity by gaining access to supporters at the grass-
roots level through their traditional leadership, much like the original intent of the British
to enhance the eciency of control by using traditional political structures according to
what came to be known as “indirect rule.” e regime had two goals to full: (a) to draw the
carpet from under the feet of traditional opposition parties who commanded large follow-
ing amongst rural population; and (b) to be able to mobilise “mujahideen” (ghters) to win
the war in the south.
In 1992, the ruling group held a private meeting in the village of Na’aima in White Nile
State to develop a strategy for dealing with Native Administration. e group ended up
reversing the Islamists’ position on the matter and decided to utilise Native Administration
rather than abolish it. In this respect the Islamic title of “Amir” (Arabic for prince) replaced
the previously used Sultan, Shartai and Nazir. e Amir is supposedly a “mujahid” (reli-
gious warrior) leading the tribe while protecting the Islamic religion and the country and
upholding the Sharia values according to the rst Muslims in Prophet Mohammed’s era.
e move to reinstate the Native Administration came from the Ministry of Social Plan-
ning which was headed at the time by Ali Osman, one of the strong men of the regime who
later became the rst vice president. Native administrators were brought to special training
camps and instructed on how to become “missionaries” to spread Islamic teachings and
preach to improve the practice of Islam. It was a vision of social engineering that motivated
the reinstatement of native administrators more than anything else. e collection of taxes,
which used to be one of the most important duties of native administrators, was no longer
practiced by them. However, the security (reporting on insurgency activities, etc.), political
(mobilizing supporters for rallies and providing ghters for popular defence forces, or PDF),
and judicial functions continued to exist. is is why many people today say that Native
Administration has become too politicised, to the extent that it lost its credibility in many
places. Native administrators themselves say that, as representatives of their communities,
they have to adapt to any political condition in order to secure the interests of their people.
One of the outcomes of the so-called Na’aima conference was to introduce what came to be
known as the “Native System” in Khartoum State. e idea was to encourage migrants from
Darfur and Kordofan to organise in units with a structure similar to that of the Native Admini-
stration in rural areas. us, they established sheikhs (headmen) and Omdas (sectional chiefs)
in dierent neighbourhoods and issued them ID cards so that they could have the privilege
of dealing with urban municipal administrators and security personnel. e main tasks for
the Native System personnel was to verify people’s identities and mobilise fellow “tribes-
men” to attend public rallies staged by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Green
Square in Khartoum. e NCP created a special secretariat for managing the aairs of the
Native System. e Native System is dierent from the Native Administration mainly because
the former was not connected to a given territory and therefore its power base was limited,
unlike the latter which plays a crucial role in natural resource management in the rural areas.
FiFty years oF anthropology in sudan: past, present, and Future
Figure 1: e structural relationship between local government and Native Administration
(adapted from Abdul-Jalil et al. 2007)
The case of Al-Hilla Al-Gadeeda: The Native
System in a squatter settlement
e rapid expansion of urban settlements into surrounding rural areas is a widespread phe-
nomenon in Africa and other developing regions. Nevertheless, each case has its particular
factors inuencing the rate, pattern, mode, and results of such a process. In most developing
countries the capital city becomes the magnet to which the rural population is drawn in
large numbers. e reasons for such trend relate to poverty, uneven development and exclu-
sion (or marginalisation). However, in countries like Sudan where natural and man-made
the reproduction oF a colonial model oF governance in post-independence sudan
disasters have become the norm, additional factors, such as drought and war, become prime
movers for large-scale rural urban migration. As a result, the city expands more rapidly than
planners perceive. Oen city planners establish new residential areas on land belonging to
the surrounding rural areas. is leads to the formation of squatter settlements, which is a
regular feature of most large cities in developing countries. is process has some important
consequences from a sociological point of view. In the case of the Sudan, a great number of
rural migrants, who moved into the urban conurbation of Greater Khartoum during the
past two decades and a half, actually come from areas where violent conicts taint human
and geographical landscapes.
From the mid-1980s onwards, Sudan has witnessed two major events that directly impacted
the rate and direction of population movement across vast areas of the country: drought and
the escalation of civil war. IDPs considered the urban conurbation of Greater Khartoum the
best place to settle because of the physical security and the chances of livelihood the area
oered. Newcomers to the city usually arrive at their destination with very little possessions
and prefer to stay in the peripheries of the city where the cost of renting is insignicant or
non-existent. Such a process usually ends in the formation of a new squatter settlement.
Occupying the westernmost outer reaches of Omdurman, Al-Hilla Al-Gadeeda is some-
times considered an extension of the Dar Al-Salam neighbourhood, which was established
as a low-income area in the beginning of the 1990s aer people were evacuated from many
illegal settlements around Greater Khartoum. By then, the newly established Ingaz regime
vowed to eradicate illegal settlements from the three towns of Khartoum, Omdurman and
Khartoum North, which constitute the national capital of the Sudan. It managed to drain
most of them successfully by giving each family a plot of 216 square meters in a planned
residential area especially allotted for low-income segments of the population.
Al-Hilla Al-Gadeeda started in the mid-1990s as a small squatter settlement west of Gabarona.
It used to be called “ras al-shitan” (devil’s head) because it was famous for its high crime
rate and local liquor brewing and consumption. Conditions there started to change in 1997
with the arrival of one Abdulla Ka, an ambitious leader from the Nuba Mountains. Prior
to his arrival in this area, he was a member of the Umma party opposition contingent in
Eritrea. When the Ingaz regime began its policy of peace from inside, according to which it
signed unmediated agreements with opposition elements from South Sudan and the Nuba
Mountains, Abdulla Ka asked the government to allow him to stay in Al-Hilla Al-Gadeeda
with his people. He renamed the place “Al-Rahma” (mercy) neighbourhood to attract new
followers. Some people named it “Hillat Al-Sultan Abdulla Ka” aer its new leader, but
recently the name Al-Hilla Al-Gadeeda has become more famous.
Acquiring a plot of land is a dream for most newcomers to the city in Sudan, where rents
are relatively high and there is no security of tenure because all available houses are owned
by individuals who can evict tenants at any time. ere are also no laws that regulate rent
rates in the country. Accordingly, when there is a chance to acquire a plot nearly for free,
people join in large numbers. As a result, squatters keep springing every now and then in the
surrounding peri-urban land. Newcomers are admitted through their representatives who
are later raised to the status of sheikhs. Specically, a tribal representative approaches Adalla
Ka asking for the allotment of a piece of land for him and his fellow tribesmen.
FiFty years oF anthropology in sudan: past, present, and Future
Driven by people’s desire to own a plot of land, squatters soon organised into smaller pseudo-
native administration units with Adalla Ka, now called sultan, at the top. His title does
not come from the Nuba ethnic group to which he belongs. It seems he got the title from
southerners who lived in the nearby Gabarona IDP camp. Traditional leaders from the south
were given this title and were recognised by the government as representatives of their people.
ey were empowered to act as Native Administration authorities in IDP camps; a cheap
substitute for a modern administrative setup in an urban context. It is much similar to the
logic by which British colonial authorities promoted Native Administration in the Sudan
as a form of indirect rule.
Per every two hundred people an Omda is chosen, and sultan Ka conrms him. Each Omda
operates through sheikhs who represent families belonging to his tribe. rough this system,
Omdas benet from the sale of land to new followers. In 2008, the price of a plot reached 499
SDG (excluding sponsorship fees). To consolidate his authority sultan Ka formed a council
for his Omdas and a pseudo native court where they sit to settle disputes, primarily over
land, between residents. Noticeably, security services are to this day almost absent from the
area (apart from two ill-equipped police stations).
Aer the Na’aima meeting, another conference was convened in Khartoum in 1995. Fol-
lowing the conference, the decision was made to allow the formation of a quasi-Native
Administration that would operate in Khartoum State under the name of “Native System,”
to dierentiate it from the British administration, which is still operative in some parts of
the country (mainly Darfur and Kordofan). A coordinating oce and state headquarters
responsible of promoting the system were established. e oce issued ID cards for Omdas
showing their tribal aliation. e Native System came about because “migrants from rural
areas in Khartoum State can be best controlled through a system similar to what they were
used to in their original homelands,” as indicated during the 1995 conference. So, they are
treated as tribesmen who happen to be in town for a limited period of time. eir dealings
with government bodies have to be sanctioned by their sponsoring Omdas. All Omdas are
incidentally members of the NCP party; hence, when big rallies are organised in Khartoum,
they are entrusted with the task of rounding up buses full of supporters to take part in
the rally. ey are also provided with some cash to full their tasks. In short, the Al-Hilla
Al-Gadeeda squatter settlement has thus far been maintained because it provides the ruling
party with supporters for rallies and elections.
e Native System operating in Al-Hilla Al-Gadeeda is therefore a part of a package or
a mechanism for the social control of migrants coming from rural areas to Khartoum.
It is also evident that the places they come from are also the same parts of the country that
are currently suering from the ongoing civil war. While government authorities consider
them as economic migrants, many of them can in fact qualify as IDPs. In addition to the
security and political functions of the Native System, the Omdas operating the system also
carry judicial functions through what they call “rakooba” (the name refers to a windscreen
under which elders sit to deliberate). From a practical point of view the rakooba can be
considered a tribunal or court that performs the function of promoting order by resorting
to customary principles of adjudication and mediation.
the reproduction oF a colonial model oF governance in post-independence sudan
Independence for most societies is a chance to get rid of some of the most characteristic
features of the preceding political system, which they have struggled to change. e survival
of the Native Administration system in Sudan aer more than half a century of indepen-
dent rule was unexpected. is is especially so because the educated elite that had led the
struggle for independence was particularly aware of the importance of replacing Native
Administration with a new democratically oriented system of local administration that better
characterised a modern state. However, public administration experts thought that Native
Administration could not be abolished immediately in the rural areas because of the lack of
proper infrastructure to run an alternative modern local government system (Salih 1974;
Mohamed 1998). Nevertheless, the system was gradually replaced in urban areas without
many problems. e abolishment of Native Administration in the rural areas had some
serious repercussions, so it had to be reinstalled. e real surprise was the reinstallation of
a quasi-Native Administration system in the capital city of Sudan, which is considered the
vanguard of modernisation in the country. Moreover, the government that supervised these
initiatives is run by a political group that had spearheaded the call for the abolishment of
Native Administration in all of the country. e reason for this change of policy is directly
connected with the need of the regime to control the immigrant population, which has
increased sharply since the mid-1980s as a result of drought and the upsurge of war in the
peripheral areas of the country. Immigrants from these areas constitute both political and
security threats that the regime has to take seriously if it intends to continue outwitting its
opponents. e introduction of the “Native System” in Al-Hilla Al-Gadeeda and other simi-
lar squatter neighbourhoods in Khartoum State can only be explained as a tool the regime
uses to secure its survival even if that means reinventing a colonial system of governance.
Abdul-Jalil, M. A. 1985. “From Native Courts to People’s Local Courts: e Politics of Judicial
Administration in Sudan.” Verfassung Und Recht in Ubersee (Law and Politics in Africa,
Asia and Latin America) 18, 2: 139-152.
Abdul-Jalil, M. A., A. Mohamed, and A. A. Yousuf. 2007. “Future Prospects for Native
Administration and Local Governance in Darfur.” In War in Darfur and the Search for Peace,
edited by A. De Waal. Massachusetts: Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University.
AbuShouk, A. I., and A. Bjorkelo, eds. 2004. “Principles of Native Administration in the
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.” Bergen: Bergen University, Centre Middle Eastern and Islamic
Studies/Omdurman: Cultural Centre of Abd al-Karim Mirghani.
Mafeje, A. 1971. “e Ideology of Tribalism.” Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 9, no.
2: 253-261.
Mohamed, A. A. 1998. “Native Administration and Societal Change: e Case of Darfur
Region.” In Current Studies on the Sudan, edited by M. M. Ahmed. Mohamed Omer Beshir’s
Center for Sudanese Studies, Omdurman: Omdurman Ahlia University.
FiFty years oF anthropology in sudan: past, present, and Future
Salih, G. M. 1974: “e Heritage of Local Government.” In Local Government and Politics
in the Sudan, edited by J. Howell. Khartoum: Khartoum University Press.
Reparation is a complement to punishment: while punishment is aimed at the perpetrators/responsible persons, reparation targets primarily the victims and/or their relatives. In this chapter I explain that reparation principles and forms of implementation have become standardised and widespread, particularly with the development of human rights movements and ideals. In such a context, the compensatory act is no longer deemed sufficient to address crimes and demands for rehabilitation made by victims and/or their relatives. Compensation can be accepted or be deemed acceptable under certain conditions and in relation to other reparation mechanisms integrating psychological, therapeutic, social, and sometimes community dimensions. In this chapter I also question the morality of compensation with regard to the promoted reparation principles, as well as the transactional relationships (exchange and contractual relationship) between victims and perpetrators, as they appear in the reconciliation mechanisms studied.
Full-text available
Introduction: On the Concept of Native Administration Both tribal and/or ethnic leadership on the one hand and local government on the other, are two types of decentralized governance. In the Sudan, the former has come to be known as "native administration" since 1922-1932. It is so called to differentiate it from administration by expatriates. It is the colonial government (1898-1956) which gave it the name. It remains to be so called even after Sudan achieved its political independence in 1956 and all types of governments fell in the hands of Sudanese nationals. As most of the population of the Sudan live in rural areas and remain to be predominately tribal or ethnic, native administration should have been labeled as tribal or ethnic administration. The ethnic pattern of decentralized governance is best suited for identity groups at their traditional stage of development; where identity groups are isolated spatially and intellectually and live in a state of insecurity. Communities are physically isolated by natural barriers (rivers, mountains, deserts … etc) which impaired communal interaction. On the other hand, they are intellectually isolated as they are characterized by illiteracy, which is widespread and it impairs inter-communal communication. The traditional societies lived in the state of insecurity as modern government institutions responsible for the protection of individual's life and property do not exist or are inefficient. Such communities developed their own systems of grassroots administration to cater for the provision of security and communal solidarity. As such, tribal and/or ethnic leadership preceded the colonial era of 1989-1956, but it did not have a stereotype of governance. Different local communities had different structures and functions for political leaderships.
Few authors have been able to write on Africa without making constant reference to ‘tribalism’. Could this be the distinguishing feature of the continent? or is it merely a reflection of the system of perceptions of those who write on Africa, and of their African ‘converts’? Objective reality is very difficult to disentangle from subjective perception, almost in the same way as concepts in the social sciences are hard to purify of all ideological connotations. Might not African history, written, not by Europeans, but by Africans themselves, have employed different concepts and told a different story? If so, what would have been the theoretical explanation? Are things what they are called, or do they have an existence which is independent of the nomenclature that attaches to them? When it comes to Africa, answers vary independently of whether the observer is a liberal idealist, a Marxist materialist, or an African ‘convert’.
Native Administration and Societal Change: The Case of Darfur Region
  • A A Mohamed
Mohamed, A. A. 1998. "Native Administration and Societal Change: The Case of Darfur Region." In Current Studies on the Sudan, edited by M. M. Ahmed. Mohamed Omer Beshir's Center for Sudanese Studies, Omdurman: Omdurman Ahlia University.
The Heritage of Local Government
  • G M Salih
Salih, G. M. 1974: "The Heritage of Local Government." In Local Government and Politics in the Sudan, edited by J. Howell. Khartoum: Khartoum University Press.