Virtual Kollage: The political organization of the Kru ethnic group of Liberia

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The political organization of the Kru ethnic group of Liberia


THE POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE KRU ETHNIC GROUP OF LIBERIA
Introduction
Of the many ethnic groups in the Republic of Liberia, the Kru ethnic group is one. Found in the South-Eastern parts of the republic, the Kru are believed to have entered the country through the north-eastern borders between the 15th and the 17th centuries. 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
The Sub-groups
The Kru are, first of all, organized into several sub-groups. Twenty-four sub-groups have been identified. The sub-groups do not seem to have any influence over each other or any political authority to exercise over one another. It does not also appear that there is any recognized leader of the various sub-groups, none having the power to control the towns that constitute the sub-groups.

Town Chiefs
The most recognized level of political authority was that of the Town Chief. Each sub-group was divided into a number of towns which were virtually independent of the sub-group they belong to and of each other. These towns were headed by Town Chiefs. The position of the Town Chief was not traditionally based on inheritance. Any male member of the town with proven character and statesmanship could be selected to become the Town Chief. The selection was done by the elders of the town.

Council of Elders
The Town Chief was ably assisted by a Council of Elders. The Council was made up of Clan Heads and titled officials of the town. In the Council, the Town Chief acted as the first among equals. After issues were thoroughly discussed, conclusions arrived at and decisions made, the Town Chief acted as a kind of spoke-person for the Council. He did not wield controlling authority over the members or expected his orders would be followed.

Clan Heads
Each town was further divided into clans, each of which was headed by a Clan Chief. He was responsible for the maintenance of peace and harmony within his clan. He was also expected to contribute his quota when he appeared in the Council of Elders of the Town Chief, by virtue of his position as the head of the clan.

Democratic elements in the Kru political structure
The Town Chief did not lord himself over the people. He acted as a spokesperson of the Council of Elders of the town. Another democratic element of the structure was that the Town Chief was given a fixed term of office, may be four to five years. He may be selected again after the expiration of his term of office based on his performance. Otherwise, he was replaced by another person. Again, the Town Chief was held responsible for any breaches of the traditions of the land. 

SAMPLE QUESTION(S)
1. Describe the political organization of the Kru ethnic group in your country.

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