By its very nature, all and sundry regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religious afflation and what have you get into hot water over and over again. As conflict is natural and inevitable, nobody escapes from this reality on the ground.
Some people do not hold a grudge whatever happens. They also get back on the track in no time at all as they do not have an inkling of idea to internalize whatever happens and whatever the cost may be. Quite the opposite, some people add insult to injury instead of making an effort to get to the bottom of the problem.
Most people know the fact that making friends help one flourish and provide a sense of connectedness in addition to shedding light on one’s excellent as well as dreadful qualities and boost self-esteem. In the same way, friendship eases stress and hardship in a range of ways apart from standing one in times of misery. Whenever communication breakdown takes place between two people, they act in response towards their predicament based on individuals’ preferences.
A number of people in no way let a disagreement last more than a few hours between them. Sometimes straightening out the minimum of discussions turns out to be a battle. Whenever friction occurs between two people, they make peace through dialogue. Unfortunately, some people pour cold water on the efforts of people who endeavor to make peace between two antagonistic groups. Even worse, there are friends who get infinite satisfaction in fanning the flames.
Quite the opposite, there are quite a lot of people who believe in making peace as it increases peace of mind. Sorrowfully, some groups are happy when they come across people on no speaking terms.
According to scholars, conflict happens to appear when individuals or groups have irreconcilable interests and/or goals. When one turns out to be an obstacle or demonstrates a tendency to become so, for another to meet his/her needs, conflict is, then, more likely to breakout. Conflict could also be a result of human greedy. Scarcity of resource is always a fact of life. There would be always a persistent competition to have a greedy control over these resources.
Without a doubt, this violent rivalry would lead to a sort of collusion, and at times even to an intense conflict. Hence, a competition for resources and other related aspect is a major cause of conflicts that may arise between/among/ individuals and nations at large.
Unquestionably, the different Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia possess a range of traditional wedding ceremonies, mourning ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and so forth. Besides, they as a feature have their own traditional houses, clothes, musical instruments and what not.
Above and beyond, there are several traditional conflict resolution institutions in the different Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. To mention just a few, Gereb in Wajerat (Tigray) and Mablo in Abala of Afar, Abagar in Southern Wollo, Michu in Metekel, Awassia in Walyta, Jarsumma and Haffi Hamee in Oromo, Guma in Waliso Oromo and what not.
The focus of this writer is not to place much emphasis on the entire cultures of all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. But the intended target of the writer is to lay emphasis on the conflict management system of the people of Sidama. How do they get to the bottom of conflicts? What are the procedures? What are the different techniques they bring into play when they face conflict?
To start with, Sidama is an abundant and efficiently inhabited area comprising its own history, culture, traditional institutions, among others. It is positioned between Shashamane and Dilla towns. And it is one of the major coffee growing areas in Ethiopia.
Furthermore, false banana, maize, cows’ milk, butter and the rest are the major foods of the people. The people of Sidama give value to cattle. The language of Sidama shares some fundamental phones, morphemes as well as syntaxes with other languages within the same sub-groups such as Gedeo, kambata, Hadiya and all that.
The people of Sidama, have exceedingly laminated father like social structure as well as benevolent family structure. The sub tribes take account of the bisallo (clans) and the aydde the later division consist all descendants of one ancestor for about three or five generations. The other one is also known as mine which is the nuclear monogamous or polygamous family. The sub tribes in the Sidama society incorporate Alatta, Haweela, Qeweena, Saawoola, Fagisa, Garbicho, yanase, Malga and Holloo.
Whenever conflict arises, the people of Sidama have their own mechanisms of solving problems. More often than not, conflict in the area arises owing to a range of things such as grazing land, farmland, borderland, water, and what have you.
In addition, conflict takes place when somebody breaches the norms and traditions of the people of Sidama community. Mostly conflict arises when somebody commits adultery, takes life, commits rape and other related aspects. The conflict as well includes dispute over land, conflict over marital issues, cattle theft, abduction and physical violence.
The cultural daily life in the Sidama society has traditionally been organized in the region of the social network within the Ola (village). They are governed by powerful elderly people. In all traditional authorities, only elders possess an absolute right to make decision. Children as well as their mothers are voiceless contestants.
They dwell in the lower stratum in decision making. There are various levels of indigenous divergence resolution institutions in Sidama society. These variations stem from kin reckoning system, geographic and topographic factors.
According to researcher, Abebe Demewoz, Sidama society posses four types of indigenous/traditional/ conflict resolution institutions. These are “Woma” (Hamlet level institution), “Gaanna” (Sub-clan institution), “Karichcha” (Clan level institution) and “Garo” (General assembles of clan level institution). But the sole criteria for the classification are carried out taking into consideration their geographical proximity and kinship variation.
Woma-Hamlet level institution
The “Woma” institution with other indigenous/traditional/ institutions, is well-regulated slightly, formalized and institutionalized. As a matter of fact, this institution is prearranged from the lowest stratum of the social order. This is the sum total of certain families who are frequently interacted with one another and are categorically interconnected by kinship system.
Their kinship type is ties of blood. They share a lot of things in common. The preconditions to involve oneself in “Woma” institution take account of seniority in terms of age and culture. The major accountability of the institution under discussion is teaching young member of the society to identify the sheep from the goat and other related aspects.
Likewise, the “Woma” institution can put right disagreement which comes to pass between wife and husband, desolation of garden resulting from farm animals. More to the point, the institution deals with wrangle over boundaries of adjoining members. Every so often, the “Woma” institution is open to see appeal of disillusioned parties and give the final verdict. While we are on the subject, the retribution may vary from individual to individual. There is as well room for forgiveness.
Gaanna- Sub clan institution
This institution is a little bit wider, more multifaceted, better prearranged than the previous institution. The place where the institution investigates cases is most commonly known as Hara- house of discussion.
Members of the institution are more or less based on blood and marriage relation. In Gaanna or Sub-clan institution, one can be a head rooted in impartiality, age and seniority and what have you. More often than not, the responsibility of Gaanna Institution revolves around entertaining and bearing in mind appeals which come from members of Woma.
If conflicting parties would like to solve their quandary, the institution almost immediately sends both parties to the Gaanna to be investigated for further decision.
In Gaanna institution, the issue of rape, abduction, theft, failure to pay a loan and other related aspects are entertained. Cases beyond the capacity of the Woma” institution are entertained in Gaanna institution. Considering its pronouncement, the Gaanna institution is a highly respected one. Its decision is respected by everyone in the community. In this institution, there are full time professionals assigned to see a range of cases.
Karicha-Clan level institution
The Karicha institution is all-embracing, multifaceted and exceedingly institutionalized. The leader of “Karichcha” institution is most commonly known as “Qara Karichcha”. The position of the person in charge is determined by oratory skills and capability of handling problems and making judgment with confidence. Moreover, personal talent in terms of communication, enduring of cultural values, norms, beliefs, seniority, age, status, social status, and what have you are taken into account.
The area where “Karichcha” usually held assembles to investigate different case is known as “Ayidda ahara” or House of Lords. Both “Gaanna” and Karicha institutions share same common mythical ancestors. The only difference between the two institutions is remoteness of common ancestor. By the same token, religious and administrative matters, issue of murder and so forth are entertained in Karichcha institution. The institution has its own distinctive excellence commonly known as “Ayiddu Seera”.
Garo-tribe based institution
The “Garo” institution is topmost Supreme Court. It is extremely organized, institutionalized and well systematized. All the Sidama society, have one “Garo” institution. The chief executive for “Garo” tribe based institution is “Moote”. It means the lord who goes in front of the institution. The principal criteria to be “moote” in the institution are being member in senior clan in Sidama society.
The fundamental duties and responsibilities of Garo are entertaining appeals from disillusioned claimants by lower institutions and praying to GOD almighty on issues pertaining to peace, drought, epidemic and what have you.
If someone kills someone accidently, elders from the institution go directly to the victims’ family for the love of begging them not to take the case straight to the court for the reason that they can solve the problem in the tradtiaon institute with no trouble. If the family members of the victims are not happy, they do not answer back unenthusiastically to the elderly people because the later ones are highly respected in the society.
Sooner or later, elder people take responsibility with the purpose of punishing criminals anchored in the customary law. After a prolonged discussion on the subject of the issue, elder people bring the slaughterer and his family members to the victim’s house and wash both families using cold water signaling that there will not be more settling of scores down the road.
At some stage in the process, if there is no river in close proximity, murderer’s sister will be made to put honey on the victim’s family seeing that women are not considered as unlawful as well as adversary. Having passed through many channels, the slaughterer is urged to grant money for the victim’s family. The murderer’s families are as well forced to give a cow which is commonly known as “Cincote adde” cow of patience. As a punishment for the wrong doing, the later is forced to give money to the council.
Despite the degree varies, conflict takes place between two people, countries, and so forth. In fact, conflict is one of the major factors negatively affecting development in any society. Conflict is natural and unavoidable. Unless it is resolved in a short time, it will miss its intended target and make an irreplaceable damage happens. Therefore, whenever conflict arises one needs to make an effort to solve the problem almost immediately before it is too late.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT