The Naib was the commander of a Fremen tribe or sietch and spoke for the tribe personifying the ideal virtues of the people, but did not directly command its members since the Fremen had communal conscience and respect.
Important decisions were made by him, advised by a council of wise men. The Naib's prime responsibility was to provide both water and security for the sietch. These two duties encompassed all other requirements, and every other responsibility was subsumed under them. There seems to have been implicit consensus on all specific acts directed toward these two provisions. A naib had absolute authority of life and death in order to protect the sietch.
A naib could be challenged by a man (usually of stature who combined the qualities of potential leadership with a strong sense of commitment) if his rule was unacceptable. Any challenge to unseat a naib was preceded by an implicit popular vote of no confidence: while a naib was properly carrying out his responsibilities or maintained his vigor and sagacity, he remained unchallenged or no male could effectively pose a challenge. Only when he faltered could a challenger garner the popular support.
- SIETCH, AUTHORITY STRUCTURE