CENTRAL

Ethiopian Peacemaking Database

In the brand new Central Region, created in 2023, we showcase 15 practices.

Ethnic Group: Kebena

Name of Reconciliation: Bobina Geletita

Location of Reconciliation Process: Gurage

Themes: Elders; representative; judge

About Bobina Geletita: 

The Kebena people have different types of traditional administrative system. These administrative have their own power in their respective level. Bobina Geletita is the well-known Kebena people traditional conflict resolution system. Bobina Geletita has four sub levels, such as: upper level of conflict resolution method (Bobina Geletita), second level of conflict resolution method (Oget), third level of conflict resolution method (Elidegna) and the lower-level conflict resolution method (Quye Baliqi).

As mentioned above Bobina Geletita is the upper ruling body of all the others. All serious cases like murder are resolved here. Bobina Geletita consists of twelve elder judges and six councilor representatives elected from clans of Kebena.

Leaders of Bobina Gelitita have high level of authority. Cases like homicide, physical injury, development and governmental problems are solved here. If somebody kills someone else in Kebena society, this case will be handled in two ways. The first one is “Madela” meaning full blood, when an individual intentionally killed somebody. The second is “Yemadela Madela“, an unintentional killing of somebody. Both of them are resolved in Bobina Gelitita. “Madela” is killing somebody cruelly and intentionally; Bobina Gelitita looks in to it seriously because it may cause ethnic conflict among the people.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Yem

Name of Reconciliation: Chalo

Themes: Elders; Judgement

Location of Reconciliation Process: Yem

About Chalo: 

The reconciliation system in Yem is known as chalo traditional reconciliation and judgment system. Chalo means supreme in English. It is not well known about when and who started the chalo system. Nowadays the chalo system is well accepted and given a vital place. This system tends to solve anonymous crimes like betrayal, robbery and firing house. On other hand it sustains mutual understanding and closeness among the people.

The reconciliation and judgment process in yem takes place according to the weight of the crime and the willing of the accuser. This judgment process takes place in three stages. The reconciliation process starts from the lower stage and goes to the higher one. One of the stages takes place by the clan leaders called “jiga“. The jiga has the responsibility of sustaining peace between the two parties and sometimes has the power of making decision and punishing the guilty.  According to the power of stages, the problem is first seen by the lower stage called “mila” then it is taken to the “jiga“. And finally, if it is beyond the jiga power it is taken to the higher level where it is seen by the chalo system. First the victim goes to the jiga and explains the accusation then the jiga makes an appointment and announces everyone to be present on that day. On the appointment day the victim puts his accusation and the accused person defends himself. If the accused person is found guilty the jiga makes the division on that day but if it is not solved it will be appointed for other day for further detection. If the case is not solved on the second appointment it will be seen by the higher stage where it will be seen further and made decision.

Click here to read the full research paper (Amharic)

Ethnic Group: Silte

Name of Reconciliation: Harat

Themes: Witness; elder; mother

Location of Reconciliation Process: Silte

About Harat: 

Herat is Silte traditional reconciliation system, it has a direct meaning of reconciliation in English. When conflict happens in Silte the witness shouts “herat! Herat!” and other people who heard the shout come by and shout “herat! Herat!” until the conflict stops. That is why the Silte people called the system “herat“.

The elderlies and mothers have their part in the process, they are the main character because the community respects the elderlies. Anything that happens in the society are under their control. Mothers are frightened too; it is said let not a mother curse you. All kinds of conflicts are solved in herat mostly murder cases.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Hadiya

Name of Reconciliation: Hiraga

Themes: Judges; women

Location of Reconciliation Process: Hadiya

About Hiraga: 

Hiraga is traditional reconciliation system in Hadiya. Hiraga has been peculiar Hadiya cultural administrative system and it is still used. Hiraga is natural wisdom used to solve social problems in Hadiya people. The owners of this incredible culture are called “hiragano“. Hiragano are not judges, they are well talented and wise people that are chosen by the people for this purpose only.

Hiragano works with different administrative classes and respective judges. Due to their acceptance over the people murder cases are solved by hiragano and hiragano only, because the system is free from the interference of any group. In Hadiya women are attentively participating in reconciliation process. In Hadiya when the case is above the wisdom of men it is taken to the women. Women have three main traditional reconciliation procedures to solve the conflict. The first one is “lend siko, lend mecha and ment heficho“. These three actions show the vital role of women in Hadiya reconciliation system.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Hadiya

Name of Reconciliation: Itencha

Themes: Family; clan; judges; elders; forgiveness

Location of Reconciliation Process: Hadiya

About Itencha: 

Itencha is traditional reconciliation system of Hadiya people. It has direct meaning of reconciliation in English. In this system minor conflicts like letting cattle to graze other than ones grazing land to higher cases like murder. The judgment is classed in this reconciliation system starting from a single family to the whole clan. The grandfather solves the case of family conflict; when conflict is between two and more families elders are chosen to deal with that. The judges in different class have to be chosen and accepted by the people.

When two parties get in to conflict the accuser brings the case to the judges and explains the case to the judges then they are asked to bring surety. The accused party explains the case as it is misunderstanding between two parties than it is an accusation the both parties are called for the judgment. Both parties are asked for surety. After that both of them start to explain for the judges and other elders that are gathered around.

The judges decide on the case by looking in to the case deeply and giving many appointment dates. The punished party is obliged to obey the punishment. The accused party is not punished beyond their capacity. It may be cattle, money. If the crime is theft they are obliged to return it. The final part is to sustain peace between both parties, let the accuser forgive the accused and the accused to ask an apology from the bottom of his heart.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Gurage

Name of Reconciliation: Joka

Themes: Judges; debate; decision; forgiveness; compensation

Location of Reconciliation Process: Gurage

About Joka: 

The Gurage have no centralized institutional political power or leadership. Local power is rested in lineage; these decent groups, display corporate rights, obligation and influence. In contrary the religious or ritual system is highly centralized.

The Joka reconciliation system has 3 main parts; the debate, the decision making and forgiveness part. The debate; after the praise the debate starts. The first speaker is the victim. The dupe starts the speech by acknowledging the judge, then he describes the case one by one. After hearing the dupe, the judge gives the chance to the offender to speak. The offender will either defend or confess his mistakes. If he defends the judge asks for witness from both parties. The judge will ask some questions and they are supposed to answer it by poem.

The decision making; after the debate the judge will give an open floor for the people to tell their opinions about the issue. The judges ask the people to give them several minutes to discus and decide. Until the elder people make “Shilela and Kererto“. The judgement will be based on the roughness of the mistake. If the offense is murder the offender is asked to pay 3 cows and other mileage to say sorry. If the dupe agrees with the decision then forgiveness takes place, but if the dupe don’t agree with the decision then they give for both to do another debate and do the same process.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Gurage

Name of Reconciliation: Kerta

Themes: Elderly; Belief; Punishment; Food; Drink

Location of Reconciliation Process: Gurage

About Kerta: 

The Gurage people don’t want to revenge even though they had an issue among themselves. If someone revenges for something done to him or to his family it is believed that this issue will pass to generations. So they tend to resolve the dispute in traditional reconciliation method. Kerta is one of the reconciliation methods in Gurage people to resolve a dispute. Kerta means traditional forgiveness and prayer system.

Kerta is a method to resolve huge social, economic and cultural problems to the eternity. The judges are believed to be hereditary, represented by the people, afraid of lies and don’t ask payment for their service.  When somebody commits crimes like full blood, killing deliberately and this individual is punished by God, he will go to those Kerta judges to consult them about stopping this punishment from going through his race. The process of forgiving depends on the weight of the crime he committed. Then elders are selected form the family and the members of the family contribute money accordingly. Food and drink will be served and the two parties will sit together. The offender will pay the compensation as decided by the elderlies and ask for forgiveness. Conflict will be resolved and peace will sustain.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Kembata

Name of Reconciliation: Kokota

Themes: Elders; clan; circle; tree; women

Location of Reconciliation Process: Kembata

About Kokota: 

Kokota is traditional reconciliation system in Kanbata. Kokota means whole Kambata in English. The elders who sit on judge chair are out of different clans who doesn’t discriminate people depending on wealth and relativity. The process takes place under tree called “halecho“, and sit on circle they assume there is God in the middle of circle and if any one lies dies.

The main goal of kokota reconciliation is to sustain justice and to remove blood shade after conflict. The elderly people have responsibility of decelerate the rate of revenge in the community. The process is well known for just participation. Women have a vital role in the reconciliation process; it is believed that anyone who trans passes kneeling and begging women is cursed. The youth have its own part too.

Click here to read the full research paper (Amharic)

Ethnic Group: Halaba

Name of Reconciliation: Oget

Themes: Hierarchy; tree

Location of Reconciliation Process: Halaba

About Oget: 

Halaba has its own traditional reconciliation process. Oget is one well known traditional reconciliation system in Halaba. Oget has direct meaning of council in English. It has hierarchical structures and appliances according to the weight of conflict.

Oget has a lot of systems, the system takes place under big tree, the responsibility to prepare the tree goes to the accused person. Oget has at least three classes named as “korto, gumguma, loko, murte, fita“.  All three parts have their according responsibilities and actions in reconciliation process. Likewise, there be different kinds if conflicts such as simple conflict, average conflict and heavy conflicts; different procedures for different conflicts in accordance.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Hadiya

Name of Reconciliation: Sera

Themes: Hierarchy; curse; truth; justice

Location of Reconciliation Process: Hadiya

About Sera: 

Sera is traditional reconciliation system that Hadiya people use. There are hierarchies in sera system; if the case is simple it is proceeded in the lower structures like “mine, nefere or molo” and heavier cases are proceeded in higher structures like “besulo, begicho or begira“. The precondition to group the cases is whether the conflict resulted in death, possession destruction or permanent injury.

There are two kinds of reconciliations. Simple conflict reconciliation and heavy conflict reconciliation. The procedures and structures for simple conflict is much easier than that of heavy conflict. The main goal of Hadiya sera reconciliation system is to declare truth and to sustain justice across the society. In addition to that the system is well known for just participation of the society. If anybody rejects to obey the law the sera put different kinds of burdens up on him/her. Duncha is one kind of burden, it is kind of cursing the one who rejected to obey the law.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Halaba

Name of Reconciliation: Sera

Themes: Elders; jury; tree shade

Location of Reconciliation Process: Halaba

About Sera: 

Sera is one of the reconciliation systems that takes place widely in Halaba society. In Halaba it is believed that starting from self-dispute a people can get in to dispute with other people, with nature and the environment they live in. Halaba has a system of reconciliation and self-administration starting from the very beginning and it is called sera meaning norm.

In Halaba sera those possessing problem discuss and debate in accordance to solve the problem. Ogete is a jury that takes place under a tree shade when a dispute takes place; it is democratic process. Ther are two kinds of reconciliation system; the first one is “tiro” meaning hidden crime and the second one is “lelaha” meaning clear and witnessed crime.

The victim goes to the elderlies’ house in the morning, going to somebody’s home in the morning is unusual so the elderlies asks if there is any problem. Then the victim presents the case to the elderlies. Then the elderlies go to the village of the victim and asks the dwellers about the truthfulness of the case. If the case is simple dispute the elderlies make the two groups to forgive each other and solve the case. If the case is heavy it is taken to the ogete where it will further be seen.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Sodo Gurage People

Name of Reconciliation: Sera (Zeber)

Themes: Elder; Religion; Prayers; Forgiveness; Rituals

Location of Reconciliation Process: Gurage

About Zeber Sera: 

Zebr Sera is a reconciliation process that is practiced in Sodo district of Gurage zone. Resolving conflicts according to the culture is lifelong practice in Sodo society.

The reconciliation process starts by electing the elderlies known as “Gurz” who are respected in the society. After the election the reconciliation proceeds. First the murderer’s family goes to the religious place where the victim’s family follow up. Then the female member of the murderer’s family rings the bell of the church. After hearing the bell, the people come around to know what the problem is. Then the elected elderlies appoint date to see the case. On the appointment date the murderer’s family gather up and chose high place and pray for their God. The reason they chose a high place is to make their voice audible for the victim family. Even if the victim family heard the prayer, they don’t come. Then the elderlies team up with the family and the prayer may continue seven days.

The prayer and the question of the elderlies may be answered or not. If the victim family don’t accept it then they condemn the family and it is believed that the dishonor goes to the victim family. As a result the victim’s family accepts the call and prepares for forgiveness.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Ezha Sebat Bet Gurage

Name of Reconciliation: Wegever

Themes: Elder; drinks; food; confession; apologies

Location of Reconciliation Process: Gurage

About Wegever: 

Wegyer is traditional reconciliation system mainly practiced in “Sebat Bet Gurage”. The meaning if “Sebat Bet” is seven houses; it is believed to have 7 languages and cultures but when it is counted in detail it is approximately about 25 cultures. Even though their language differs they can communicate easily. “Ezha” is one of those seven Gurage houses which practice the “Wegyer” system. Like other houses “Ezha” have their own language and culture.

Weyger takes place mainly in the house of famous, respected and gentle elderlies. These elderlies are well informed the traditional norms, culture and morally acceptable behaviors. After the appointment date is known everything necessary to welcome the “Yogiyerye” who conducts the process like coffee, food, sometimes alcohol and different cultural drinks are served before that day.

The reconciliation process begins by the speech of the elders. Then the two conflicting parties are given the chance to put their debating ideas accordingly. The elderlies listen to both sides and ask questions to know who is the dupe and who is the offender. After deciding which one is the offender, they ask him to confess by himself. If he confesses, he is obliged to apologies. If he doesn’t believe that he is guilty he will be asked a surety to see the case from home. Finally, if the offender proves himself innocent, he will be free and the process ends.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Gurage

Name of Reconciliation: Yejoka Barik

Themes: Poetry; Traditional Drink; Tej; Feast; Forgiveness; Hugging

Location of Reconciliation Process: Guraje Zone

Yejoka Barik Process: 

The Gurage have no centralized institutional political power or leadership. Local power is rested in lineages; these descent groups, display corporate rights, obligation and influence. In contrast, the religious or ritual system is highly centralized; ritual officials sanction the authority of the political elders. Their cultural system of peace and forgiveness is called YEJOKA BSARIK. It stands for the elder people who involve in the judgement process. BARIK means elder people. The process includes 3 main parts: debate, decision making, and forgiveness.

The process begins under a sycamore tree, with praise for the elders. After the praise, the debate starts. The first speaker is the dupe (victim). He will never use offensive words. The judges will then give the chance to the offender to speak. The offender will either defend or confess his mistakes. If he defends then the judge asks for witness from both sides. The judge will have some questions for both of them. In this process, they don’t speak normally. They actually speak using poetry, which is created on the spot.

After the debate, the decision-making starts. The judges will give open flour for people to share their opinions. They also give questions to the offender and dupe. After listening
to all those debates and answers, the judges ask the people to give them several minutes to discuss the parties and their decision. Until then elder peoples make “SHILELA” and “KERERTO”. Traditionally named as “WEG”. After the judges came up with decision, they ask the peoples to pay attention. The judgement will be based on the severity of the mistake. If the offend is murder, the offender will be asked to pay 3 cows and to say sorry for what he has done. If the people and the victim don’t agree with the mulct, then they give chance for both to make another debate and do the same process.

If the dupe and offender agree with the mulct then the elders move on to the reconciliation process. this will be the last part of the process. The aim of this system is making reconciliation between the offender and the victim. In this reconciliation process the first thing occurs is that the elders start teaching why we have to forgive and how to forgive. This teaching process will aspire both the offender and dupe to come to make peace and love between them. After this event the judges will ask if both of them want to forgive and to make peace with other. This word will be spoken by elder peoples because they have big respect in the community. So that most of them will agree to make peace. The judge will ask them to hug and say sorry each other. Then the crowd will show their happiness by saying “ELELLLLL”. Then “TSIWA YIKERBL”, TSIWA is something they will drink, it could be “TELA” or “TEJ”. Also, there will be sheep or goat. First the elders will praise and bless the SHEEP and TSIWA. Then their will be ERID celebration. After the cooking is done, the elders will invite both the dupe and offender to drink from one cup. They do this because they consider making this will increase the love between them. Also, the elders ask them to serve food to one another. This will increase the love between them. After they eat the food and drink, the judges will make a schedule for the offender to pay the mulct. Then they praise and bless each other and say GOOD BYE.

Click here to read the full research paper (English)

Ethnic Group: Gurage – Sebat Bet clan

Name of Reconciliation: Yejoka Qicha

Themes: Oath; Land; Elders; Fire; Grass

Location of Reconciliation Process: Guji and Borena Zones

Yejoka Qicha Process: 

Yejoka Qicha is a traditional reconciliation system specifically practiced by tribal groups named Sebat Bet (Seven Houses) who are part of Gurage Zone, located in the Southern Regional State of Ethiopia. The name Yejoka Qicha is coined from the Gurage language word Ej weka which means lean on the hand, the word was used to represent a fallen tree that started to grow back leaning on its branches. People of gurage have their traditional administration system named Sera, which is led by a council of administrators, who are selected by tribe leaders and the elderly with a strong oath to not trust pass the regulations. The forms of the administration system differ from tribe to tribe. Yejoka Qicha is led by the council of Sebat Bet.

In Yejoka Qicha there are different conflict resolution systems based on the conflict type and weight of violence:

  • Yedem Qicha: is used to settle when violence like murder takes place between individuals or groups of people. The system has its way of pointing out and punishing the guilty, mostly by making the guilty pay compensation to the victims’ families. The weight of compensation depends on the level of violence. The guilt collects compensation from its family members and relatives to reflect the wrong deed and how shameful it was. Then they will get an oath named Gurda to not get into conflict again, by slaughtering a lamb and wiping their bodies with the lung of the lamb if violence happens between individuals, by digging a hole and setting fire in the whole then by pouring water on the water and saying my clan will be destroyed like this fire if I do wrong again, if the conflict is between groups.
  • Yeqiye Qicha: this system is used to settle conflicts of interest like grazing land, boundary, etc. In such conditions, the owners select elderlies on their preference, and the elderly place a stone with a strong oath (gurda) to allocate their boundaries and not to cross each other’s boundaries.

Click here to read the full research paper (English)