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The Role of Sidama Indigenous Institutions in Conflict Resolution


The Role of Sidama Indigenous Institutions in Conflict Resolution: In the Case of Dalle Woreda, Southern Ethiopia

Abebe Demewoz Mengesha
Anthropology, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia

Abstract
The major goal of this study was to assess the role of indigenous institutions in handling/ settling conflicts in the Sidama Society. Sidama Communities are found in Sidama Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS). The research was conducted in Dalle woreda, Sidama Zone and it was purposively selected. 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. The results obtained from the study suggest that Conflicts in Sidama, 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 Sidama 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 with regard to the norms and traditions of the Sidama community. However, the most serious ones are: beating a man with a slump and/or thin stick, Beating elderly, raping, murder, Physical damage, Adultery. Sidama indigenous institutions have played a great role to solve different local conflicts and for the development of modern institutions. The modern institutions (Courts) have and took a strong base from the indigenous institutions in resolving conflict and preserving peace and security. Besides to modern institution, the indigenous institutions have played a great role for the emergence of cooperative unions. To sum up, indigenous/traditional/ institutions are costly and time effective in addition to many other benefits provide for the society when we compare with modern institutions. Therefore, at this time government courts encourages indigenous/traditional/ institutions to promote peace and to solve conflicts at the grass root level or at the local level.

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