The Role of Indigenous Institutions in Dispute Settlement among the Tulama Oromo of the Sululta District: the case of Qaalluu Oofaa Abbuukko

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Addis Ababa University


This thesis attempts to explain the role of indigenous institutions in dispute settlement among the Tulama Oromo of the Sulultadistrict the case of Qaalluu Oofaa Abbuukko. There are various local dispute settlement institutions in sululta district such as jarsumma, peace settlement at linage; tokko shanne, Qaalluu institution and dispute settlement among different religious institutions. However, due to limitation of time and resource this study mainly focused on the role of Qaalluu institution to settle the dispute. The main focuse of the thesis is to explore the causes of disputes and indigenous dispute settlement mechanisms with particular area on the role of Qaalluu Oofaa Abbuukko institution in the study area. For this study I employed both primary data and secondary resources. The relevant primary data were colected through qualitative tools such as in-depth interviews, observations, focus group discussion and selected case studies. The secondary data were published and unpublished articles, journals, news papers, books, MA thesis and PHD researches. In this study I tried to set out different types of disputes taking place in the area such as, money borrowing or lending, property like land, livestock and cereals, in appropriate sexual relations, marital dispute, and inheritence and theft cases. The study also explores different mechanisms of dispute settlement, which are generaly divided into formal (state-based) and indigenous (informal) dispute settlement mechanisms. In Qaalluu institution, the disputants do not call wases (guarantors). However, insecular institution, and formal court the disputants call upon their wases (guarantors), the process takes short period compared to the formal state structures. Active decision-making and quicker decision are given to the disputants. Arbitration in the context of Qaalluu court is quicker. The procedures are generally easy and more economical, those disputants who cannot afford the above in the formal structure mostly bring their cases before this customary institution; court structure is takes place at district level. Discussing settlement the dispute and reconcilation (araarsuu) are not complex like formal courts. The last process, reconciliation, is not available in the formal dispute settlement setting. All disputants are equal before this customary institution and it is free from corruption. There are many advantages of indigenous institutions with regard to equality before customary laws. In Qaalluu Ofaa Abbuukko institution post-recouncilation the disputants and elders are enjoy together in the same room by taking traditional or local drinking this show that to confirm the reconciliation. However, in the formal court, the judge and disputants are very far apart, no freely contact and discuss with them, in addition, no false witnesses in Qaalluu. In the government system, it is usually difficult for the plaintiff to win the case because of the false evidences arranged by the accused. In the absence of evidence, the Qaalluu look at the case whereas in the absence of evidence the government court dismisses the case. Therefore, the Qaalluu court is the best choice particularly if there is no evidence for some plaintiff. Cases without evidences have no values before the formal dispute settlement mechanism. Due to this, the local people preferre to employ this strategy as the principal approach to manage dispute that they come across in their every encounters. In this thesie, we accuired the knowledge how Sululta Oromo practices customary and spiritual laws, rules and regulation in the indigenous judicial system to confirm peace and recouncilation among the disputants by using Qaalluu Oofaa Abbkko institutions. The institutions deal with some disagreements which araised from the communities. They serve equally, without payment, at village or local, safe time, solve unwitnessed issue, using native language and make oth, curse and blessing to confirm peace. The studies thus give description on how the Oromo in general and Sululta Oromo traditional institutions interact to settle the dispute, focus on harmony and knowledge of recouncilation inorder to resolve dispute



Social Anthropology