When the Mushin District Council was created in September 1955, a host of separate settlements were brought together under a single administrative umbrella. But the task of drawing them into a unified political community with mutually defined goals and interests lay ahead. Mushin’s many neighbourhood leaders faced two problems if they were to wield collective strength in this emerging polity. The first was to organise their informal political activities. The second was to give their informal activities a legitimate status and identity. The leaders of the new district, therefore, looked to tradition for organising principles and self-definition. They found them in the institution of chieftaincy.