In all the tribes there are definite post-initiation institutions having political functions to perform. Each institution is called kiama (pl. biama in the Meru group and chiama in Kikuyu). The functions of these bodies are not, however, by any means exclusively political. They have also social functions, and though there may be representatives of every male post-initiation set as members membership is still to some extent dependent on the individual’s social status. They have, moreover, various judicial powers. This complexity of function makes it difficult to find an English word which fits them. They have been called clubs, courts, and councils. They have, however, secret rites of initiation and various grades, and perhaps the most convenient word to use is ‘lodges’, although in fact they may be clubs or courts or councils (legislative or otherwise) according to their functions of the moment. The native word, kiama, is itself too wide in meaning to suit our purpose.