Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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MELESE Teshome, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia

This study delved itself to assess the micro and macro-level responses to resolve the Karrayu-Argobba conflict in the Awash Valley, Ethiopia. The analysis was made based on primary and secondary data sources. The study was conducted in three districts, Minjar-Shenkora, Berhet and Fentale. The study has found out that the Karrayu and Argobba people have both amicable and conflict relations. Their conflict is conceived in the wombs of multifarious factors (structural and proximate). In order to redress the conflicts both indigenous and state-centered approaches have been used. Formerly the two groups used their CCRMs to effectively address their intermittent conflicts. But currently it is certainly losing its historic potency and thus, ultimately became inadequate for managing their contemporary conflicts. This is largely due to the changes in the underlying causes of the conflicts from being on cultural-values to resource-based and now over boundary issue; the commercialization and politicization of cattle raiding and rustling; and escalation in the intensity of the conflict. The state machinery also played a preponderant adverse role on the stated institutions. During the Dergue regime the role of “Jarsotta Ararra” (institution of the elders) was appropriated and given to the state representatives. Currently the government peace making platform integrates elders from the two groups but it brought the unintended result of alienating them from the masses.
With reference to the macro-level responses in pre-federal Ethiopia, their conflict is conceived solely as resource-based. Hence, the measures taken were directed towards alleviating the scarcity of resources via the settling displaced pastoralists and to compensate the Karrayu for the land they lost due to the establishment of the Awash National Park. As such the Arole plain was decreed to be rendered for them though it proved immaterial. The Imperial regime also constructed a pond-Harro Ledi Robba on the Arole plain. During the Dergue, these groups encountered “unwise conflict suppression approach” and a critical alienation of their indigenous peace making approaches. In the post-1991 period, ethnic federalism is presented as a panacea to salvage the malaises of conflicts in the country. Notwithstanding this, the Karrayu-Argobba conflict continued unabated. The government created the so-called “The Joint Peace Committee (JPC) to manage the conflict. However, so far the track record of the JPC is not as impressive as it is initially envisioned. This is mainly due to lack of commitment and transparency; the fact that members of the JPC found to be empathetic to their own groups; lack of both the capacity and willingness to enforce decisions. Moreover, the local security forces lack the necessary resources to suppress violent conflict right at the time of its commencement. Finally the issue of boundary limitation proved beyond the legal mandate of the JPC.