Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Kathleen G. Cunningham



Governance is a common problem in African countries wherein it manifests itself in various phenomena, such as authoritarian rules, conflict, civil wars, poverty, and unemployment. The research studied to tackle this problem addressed issues on the central governmental level in terms of constitutional and institutional arrangements. Sudan is one of the most complicated cases of governance in Africa considering its long history of civil wars and dictatorships.

Using Sudan as a case, this study addressed the issue of governance in traditional communities and rural areas. The study focused on the emphasis on popular participation and civic engagement as measures to guarantee representation and equal distribution of developmental efforts. It was posited that the integration of the traditional leaders in a national structure would increase popular participation and, thereby, strengthen representation in traditional communities and rural areas.

Using political science and anthropological paradigms, a longitudinal analysis was undertaken to examine the evolution of traditional leaders in Sudan and their influence on socio-political dynamics. The study traced traditional leaders and their relationship with the central authority, and the impact of their role in the socio-political dynamics of the society from pre-colonialism and colonialism through post-colonialism. The Jabarona camp for internally displaced people was investigated to ascertain how traditional leaders influenced events within the camp and social issues were handled. This study also explored selected Africans' experiences with traditional leaders to draw lessons for Sudan.

It was concluded that traditional leaders are important for integration within a national structure. Such leaders are able to strengthen representation of the rural communities by promoting popular participation at the local and national and motivate inter-communal interaction for nation-building and stability purposes.


Copyright Owner

Rabah Ali Omer



Date Available


File Format


File Size

102 pages