Op. Cit.


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The term kingolle includes almost every form of force used by competent authority, and therefore it is nowadays often applied to imprisonment and forcible measures adopted by the present government. In its milder forms, in Ukamba, an offender’s village was destroyed, and he was expelled from the district. If this was done in consequence of a wrongful withholding of property, it was taken by force, but in no case was violence to the man himself permitted, and he could claim for injuries done to him. Such measures were often adopted in cases of a man refusing his brothers their rightful share of inheritance; it was usual to warn the man by sending him a fire stick. It was only on persons who repeatedly offended that kingolle was inflicted, and when it amounted to a sentence of death this implied that the offender had become so incorrigible that he was regarded as a danger to the public. If such was the case the elders would assemble and consult as to what should be done. If they found it was necessary to kill the offender, elders from remoter parts were called, and the case was explained to them. Everyone who made charges against the man had to declare these on the oath of kithito; the fact that the offender’s death would exclude the possibility of false declarations being amended later, would, of course, debar them from venturing frivolous charges. This done, the elders called to aid consulted in secret, and if they decided that the man must be killed, his nearest relative was called and asked if he would give his consent. If he refused it, the sentence could not be carried out, but the relative was required to swear by kithito that if the man repeated his offenses he would not withhold his consent to the sentence. If such consent was obtained everyone armed himself, the offender was hunted down, and when found, the relative who gave his consent commenced the attack by throwing earth at him. This gave the pursuers the right to attack the v ictim, and to despatch him with arrows or any other weapons. He was, however, entitled to defend himself as he could, and no claims for blood money or hurt could be made on either side. Thenceforth the matter was never spoken of, and no one could ask who had killed the man. In Kikuyu the procedure was identical with that in Ukamba, excepting that the consenting relative had actually to kill the man by strangulation.

In Theraka there was no such death sentence, but under the same circumstances a man was publicly beaten. The beating would, of course, be very severe, and could go to any extent short of causing death. A man so punished was thought to be able to bring a terrible curse on people if he spoke, and, therefore, if he made any efforts to speak he was immediately gagged.

The procedure in the death sentence is of great importance, as any omission would deprive it of its essential grounds for justification. I have only known of one case of kingolle in which a witch was killed, and although her own son took the principal part in the execution, the perpetrators admitted later that the omission to call in elders from remoter parts invalidated the plea that it was a legal sentence of death under native law.1

1Dundasn/an/an/an/an/an/a, , 258–259.


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Chicago: "Op. Cit.," Op. Cit. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed September 16, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=N4TFFNQ2YIX67D6.

MLA: . "Op. Cit." Op. Cit., in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 16 Sep. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=N4TFFNQ2YIX67D6.

Harvard: , 'Op. Cit.' in Op. Cit.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 16 September 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=N4TFFNQ2YIX67D6.