American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2015, 3(2), 225-242
DOI: 10.12691/education-3-2-17
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Indigenous Conflict Resolution Mechanisms among the Kembata Society

Abebe Demewoz Mengesha1, , Samson Seid Yesuf2 and Tessema Gebre3

1Anthropology, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia

2Institute of Indigenous Studies, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia

3English, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia

Pub. Date: February 11, 2015

Cite this paper:
Abebe Demewoz Mengesha, Samson Seid Yesuf and Tessema Gebre. Indigenous Conflict Resolution Mechanisms among the Kembata Society. American Journal of Educational Research. 2015; 3(2):225-242. doi: 10.12691/education-3-2-17


The major goal of this study was to assess the role of indigenous institutions in handling/ settling conflicts in the Kembata people in Kembata–Tembaro Zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS).The research was conducted in Kedida Gamelo woreda and it was purposively selected. This selection was based on the following reasons. The first reason was that, it is the seat of the zonal administration, so it would be easy to consult the zonal culture and tourism department frequently. On the other hand, since it is the zone’s centre, it is thought to be relatively better secured than other woredas. Similarly, as casual visit of the research team to the study area indicate that resourceful informants can easily be found in the selected woreda. Kedida Gamella woreda has 17 rural kebeles. Bezenabenara, one of them is selected as the setting of the study because it is believed that the kebele is easily accessible from Durame town, which is the seat of the zonal administration. To achieve this goal, an attempt was made to collect the data in the study area by using different mechanisms. Qualitative research methodology was employed in the study for its appropriateness to assess the role of indigenous institutions in handling/ settling conflicts in the study area and data was collected through the use of interview, key informant interview, focus group discussion, personal observation and document review. In terms of sample size, the researchers have done interviews with 10 key informants, i.e. eight (8) key informants was with elders and two(2) key informants from court officials (judges) and three(3) FGDs were conducted from different target groups such as elders, youth and local authorities. Each FGD has eight (8) discussants classified based on sex. The results obtained from the study suggest that Conflicts in Kambata, as in anywhere else, may vary from trivial interpersonal disagreements to a serious dispute which might eventually lead to homicide. The most common conflict issues in Kambata are grazing land, water, farmland and borderland. There are many deeds and accounts in the daily activities of the society which are considered to be crimes vis-à-vis the norms and traditions of the Kembata community. However, the most serious ones are: beating a man with a slump and/or thin stick, Beating elderly, raping, murder, Physical damage, Adultery. There are different traditional institutions to solve the conflicts among Kembata societies. These are Reeda, Gudagambela tradition. The local communities prefer customary laws than courts due to the following reasons: First customary laws are flexible; they develop as the communities go forward and provide communities with a sense of ownership contrast to formal legal systems that are perceived as alien to a considerable number of people in developing countries in general and Ethiopia in particular. Secondary, customary law provides a fundamental and central role to maintain order in many communities. This owing to the fact that it is developed and maintained by local peoples as a result of which are suits local circumstances. In fact, the extent of the role of customary laws in maintaining order varies from community to community depending on many factors. In addition it plays an important cultural role in the lives of many people and beliefs. Thirdly, the law itself is more immediate and meaningful to all people concerned; as it is developed and imposed by the community itself that is by their own community major role in that process, yet having the appropriate limitations that should be imposed on the recognition of customary laws. Therefore, to sum up, the local systems of conflict resolution among the Kembata are the most preferable one even though the local community have already begun to use government courts as an opinion.

indigenous kembata society conflict

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