Customary Conflict Resolution among the Haro Limmu Oromo of Northwest Wallaga: The Case of Qaalluu Institution

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Addis Ababa University


This study deals with the customary institution of conflict resolution among Haro Limmu Oromo of Northwest Wallaga with particular emphasis on the role of qaalluu institution. The functions that Oromo indigenous religious institution service for the society other than religious purpose have rarely been treated in Oromo literature. Thus, this thesis aims to fill this gap by examining the role of qaalluu institution in conflict resolution and its interaction with other customary institutions and the formal institution in the area. To realize the intended objectives, the study employed qualitative approach. Important data for the study were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were collected using instruments such as semistructured in-depth interview, observation, focus group discussion and case study. The data collected from both sources were organized thematically and analyzed qualitatively. The findings of the study reveal that economic and socio-cultural factors are the major causes of conflict. Land related conflicts such as conflict over land ‘ownership’ right, claiming tracts of adjacent farmland, grazing land and inheritance are the main causes of conflict related with economic interests. Other causes of conflict like breach of agreement, false witnesses and marital conflicts which are associated with either socio-cultural or economic factors are also prevalent. The study demonstrates that diverse cases of civil and criminal matters among the Haro Limmu Oromo are resolved at customary institutions according to the long lived customary and religious laws. Qaalluu institutions play a very important role in conflict resolution and reconciliation. In spite of massive conversion of the people to the modern religions, especially Protestantism, qaalluu institution continues to serve as a setting of conflict resolution for the society regardless of their religious and ethnic backgrounds. The regular court hearing sessions of every Saturday and Sunday continue to resolve various cases ranging from simple to complex that come from broad geographical areas. The study also showed that the rationale behind persistence use of qaalluu institution for conflict resolution is deeply rooted in the effectiveness of the institution in dealing with conflicts



Social Anthropology