Volume 7 Issue 2 (2018)

Traditional Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in Kaffa Society of Ethiopia

pp. 128-142  |  Published Online: July 2018  |  DOI: 10.22521/unibulletin.2018.72.5

Bisrat Gebru Wolde


This paper is aimed at investigating the traditional conflict resolution mechanisms of Kaffa society. Exploratory design was used in this study as the issue was being studied for the first time. The participants of the study are elders, religious leaders and influential people from the study area. Those participants were selected using purposive sampling technique. The data for this study was collected using semi-structured in-depth interview and Focus group discussions. The findings of this study show that land disputes, marital conflicts, drinking alcohol, clan conflicts and religious conflicts are the major types and causes of conflict in Kaffa society. It is also found that there is gender difference concerning the immediate actions taken in the incidence of conflicts. While women mostly limit their action to verbal insults, men tend to opt to physical violence. The most common traditional conflicts resolutions mechanisms in Kaffa society are Shimgelena, Tommo and Eqqo systems. While shimgelena is also widely used in other communities of Ethiopia, Tommo and Eqqo are indigenous to Kaffa society. Although those traditional conflict resolution mechanisms are most effective among older people, younger people tend to disregard the mechanisms due to ‘modernity’ and religious reasons.

Keywords: traditional, conflict resolution, shimgelena, tommo, eqqo.


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