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Luba Basa and Harma Hodha: Traditional Mechanisms of Conflict Resolution in Metekkel, Ethiopia

Endalew, Tsega
June 4, 2015

Source: Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg, Germany. Downloaded 27 August 2004.

Metekkel, a vast low-lying territory on the Ethio-Sudanese frontier, is inhabited by the Gumuz, Shinasha, Oromo, Agew and Amhara who continued their interactions for their daily activities. Although they have their own respective traditional mechanisms of conflict resolutions they gradually adopted Oromo traditional institutions including the Luba Baasa, Harma Hodhaa and Micu. Luba Baasa (lit. to set free) and Harma Hodhaa (lit. Breast – suckling) are Oromoo names and are used by the Gumuz and Shinasha who also speak Oromoo. Luba Baasa is more of preventive mechanism and gradually establishes ethnic integration through adoption.
The Harma Hodhaa (Harma hosisuu/hodhuu), however, establishes a kind of parent – child relationships between ethnic groups, individuals as well as within groups. The Gumuz or the Shinasha individual either representing his clan or family is supposed to suckle a breast or anointed thumb of the Oromo individual and becomes his xe2x80x98son.xe2x80x99 The whole group to which the individual belongs becomes xe2x80x98sonsxe2x80x99 to the xe2x80x98breast Father.xe2x80x99 xe2x80x98The xe2x80x98Fatherxe2x80x99 agrees to treat the xe2x80x98sonxe2x80x99 in the same way as his natural son (naturalization) and provide all the necessary material assistance.

In Oromo society, some Oromo or non-Oromo groups are considered as xe2x80x98castesxe2x80x98 and despised until they are assimilatedxe2x80xa6. They have no peaceful interaction with each other and no mutual support in agricultural activities and so on. However, rural societies particularly agricultural communities need cooperation, and for each daily interactions and mutual coexistence they should, therefore, come into terms. These institutions are intra as well as inter ethnic conflict resolution principles and are widely applied in many parts of Ethiopia; and can even meet demands out side Africa. If refurbished, the findings show that, they can be of paramount importance to policy makers and practitioners. (excerpt)


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