From Harold Barclay, People Without Government: An Anthropology of Anarchy:
If the Tiv and Lugbara award certain powers to a man without making him a king, the Anuak of the southern Sudan perhaps institute the status of king with its symbolic trappings but stripped of its powers. These horticultural people live in villages each of which has a headman who holds a 'court' and keeps sacred emblems of the village such as drums and beads. He is approached by others with signs of respect such as obeisance and the use of a special vocabulary. Although his house is no better than anyone else's, the fence posts are decorated with the skulls of animals killed to provide for the feasts he offers his people. While he has the trappings of kingship, the headman has in fact little power and is largely at the mercy of fellow villagers. As long as he can provide feasts he has good standing and his villagers will see to it that everyone shows the proper respect to the headman in his 'court'. He is, with the help of other third parties, able to persuade both the killer of a fellow villager to make compensation and the victim's kin to accept it.
Anuak, however, do not believe a man should hold the headship for very long and, definitely, one who can no longer properly feast his followers deserves no support. He will then find his followers deserting him. A major faction opposing the headman and no longer respecting him will arise and install a rival who must be the son of some previous headman. Such an event leads to fighting in which the old headman may be deposed. Despite the quarrelling and intrigue which surrounds the headman office, it does operate as a unifying force in village affairs, which are otherwise defined by a segmentary lineage form of organisation similar to that already discussed. Although different factions may appear in a village, they are not revolutionary ones: no one seeks to abolish the position of headman.
In south-eastern Anuak headmen are drawn only from a 'noble' clan, which apparently comes from outside the Anuak country. Necklaces, spears, stools and drums are emblems of the office and there is much struggle, intrigue and fighting to obtain possession of them. The holder has, as elsewhere in Anuakland, little authority in his own village, but if he can mobilise an armed force he could sometimes extend his influence and even gain a usually tenuous control over neighbouring villages.
Thus, among the Anuak, we see the beginnings of a centralisation of authority, based initially upon a ceremonial and symbolic role and expanding in the south-east into a recognisable predatory form of organisation.