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PEACE BUILDING in SOUTH OMO

EPaRDA


PEACE BUILDING in SOUTH OMO

EPaRDA


Š 2010 EPaRDA (Enhancing Pastoralist Research and Development Alternatives)

Cover Image | Traditional necklace being put on a participants

at a peace making ceremony in the South Omo Zone

Contact Address PO Box 30807 ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA eparda@ethionet.et www.eparda.org www.eparda.org.et


Peace Building in South Omo Highlights from 10 years of peace building initiatives

Prepared by Dr. Zerihun Ambaye

Edited by William Davison Mohammed Ali Samson Haileyesus

Designed by Alemayehu Seife-Selassie

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Acknowledgements First and foremost we would like to thank Oxfam GB for its financial support of this publication. We would also like to recognise the valuable contribution made to this book by Oxfam GB particularly Mr. Waleed Rauf, Mr. Daniel Kiptugen, Mr. John Latai and Mr. Beruk Yemaneh; EPaRDA board members, Mr. Tsegaye Mekasha (Chairman), Dr. Tafesse Mesfin, and Dr. Hirut Terefe; and EPaRDA staff, Dr. Tegene Alemayehu, Mr. Fikre Endalew, Mr. Sultan Abdurahman, and Mr. Hailu Wolde Michael. In addition we would like to thank the support and encouragement given to us by the entire staff of EPaRDA and would like to note the important contribution of Mrs. Menene Woldebirhan, EPaRDA Finance and Administration Head, in the fundraising.

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PREFACE The Ethiopian Pastoralist Research and Development Association (EPaRDA) - now renamed the Enhancing Pastoralist Research and Development Alternatives (EPaRDA) - is an Ethiopian non-governmental organisation that was established in 1999 by a diverse group of professionals. The concern they all shared was an interest in improving the lives of Ethiopian pastoralists by helping them become self-reliant. They aimed to empower the communities by building on their indigenous knowledge, assisting them in areas such as agriculture, education, healthcare, and conflict resolution. This publication provides an overview of the conflict situation in the South Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State of Ethiopia, and also a history of conflict resolution and peace building efforts in the area. Additionally, it highlights the measures that have been successful in the hope that they can be utilised and improved upon in the future in order to further promote the vital cause of peace in the zone. Potential future pitfalls have also been identified in the hope that they may be avoided by those involved in finding ways to resolve and avoid future conflicts. The publication was designed to summarise the lessons learnt by EPaRDA in the area. As such, it leans heavily on the lessons learnt from the experience of the EPaRDA, which played a prominent role in conflict resolution and peace building in the zone over the past decade. The main sources for the publication were internal EPaRDA documents, such as baseline studies, project documents and reports from peace conferences; and interviews with staff members. Many other actors have assisted EPaRDA’s efforts over the past decade, including members of the various communities that inhabit the area. Additionally, all tiers of Ethiopia’s government have made a contribution to the process, as well as several partner organisations, notably: Oxfam GB; the United Kingdom’s Department For International Development (DfID); PACT Ethiopia; Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA); the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); FARM Africa; the Federal and Regional Pastoralist Community Development Program (PCDP); Cordaid; Sustainable Land Use Forum (SLUF); Weltfriedensdienst e.V. (WFD); Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia (PFE) and Health Unlimited.


PEACE BUILDING IN SOUTH OMO

CONTENTS Chapter 1

Introduction to South Omo Zone

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Chapter 2

Conflicts in the South Omo Zone

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Chapter 3

History of conflict resolution and peace building in South Omo Zone

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Chapter 4

Approaches to conflict resolution and peace building in South Omo Zone

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Chapter 5

Lessons to be learned

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CHAPTER 1 Introduction to South Omo Zone

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Area and administration

The South Omo Zone (also known as Debub Omo Zone) is located in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS), which is one of the nine regional states of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. There are 56 ethnic groups in the region, many with a distinct language and culture. The population of the region is the third highest of the regions at 15,042,531 1. About 80 percent of the population in the region live in the highlands; an area representing 40 percent of the land in the region, while the remaining 20 percent live in the arid and semi-arid areas that make up the remaining 60 percent of the land. The pastoral communities reside in the arid and semi-arid part. They are mainly focused on

1 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Population Census Commission, Population and Housing Census 2007, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Population Census Commi.ssion, 2008 NB: All population statistics came from the 2007 National Population and Housing Census

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livestock production, which is the principal source of subsistence for these communities, providing milk and cash income to cover essential expenses such as grain. The zone is bordered by the Kaffa Zone, Konta Special Woreda, Dawaro Zone and Basketo Special Woreda (north); Bench Maji Zone (north-west); Sudan (south-west); Kenya (south); Oromia Regional State (south-east); Gamo Gofa Zone, Derashe Special Zone, and Konso Special Zone (north-east, east) South Omo is one of the 15 zones in the SNNPRS occupying a total area of 23,535 square kilometres. Its capital city is Jinka, which is located 781 kilometres from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. It has eight woredas: Salamago, Debub Ari (South Ari), Semen Ari (North Ari), Hamer, Bena-Tsemai, Dassanech, Maale, and Nyangatom 2.

Geography

The altitude of the zone ranges from 360 to 3,300 metres above sea level. The total population of the zone is estimated at 557,673 people, and it has a population density of 19 inhabitants per square kilometre. The zone has four highly varied agro-ecological zones: 0.5 percent of the land is classified as highland, 5.1 percent is midland, 60 percent is lowland and 34.4 percent is desert. The mean annual temperature is 24 degrees celsius and the mean annual rainfall in the highland area is 1190.04 millimetres whereas in the lowland area it is about 300 millimetres. The major rivers are the Omo, Wayto, Bezo, Mago, Neri, and Sala. The vegetation of this area can be divided into four categories: open grasslands with a very few scattered trees; bush grasslands, which are areas characterised by grassland with scattered trees and shrubs; bush that supports trees but is dominated by shrubs; and forest, which has a canopy rising to 40 metres and is often found along the edge of major rivers. 2 Ibid

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The ethnic groups of the South Omo Zone South Omo is one of the most diverse zones in Ethiopia, consisting of 16 different ethnic groups distributed among the eight woredas.

BENA-TSEMAI WOREDA

Bena The Bena number 27,022, and live in the kebeles of Bori, Alduba, Shaba, Arego, Kako, Befo, Ansonda, Aruri and Mukecha. The Bena practice mixed crop/livestock farming, and apiculture (honey production). Their ritual leader is called the bitta; other figureheads include kogo and gedel 3.

3 The Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Council of Nationalities, Profile of the Different Ethnic Groups in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, September 2009. 4 Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, Third Livestock Development Project: Southern Omo Rangelands Development Project Ethiopia, Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, 1991 NB: All information on the ethnic groups came from the above two documents

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Arranged marriages are the norm in the community, but another form of marriage among the Bena is baskin when the younger brother inherits the wife of his deceased elder brother. The children born from such marriages do not take the name of their father, but that of the deceased. The Bena wear clothes made from sheepskin. Women ornament their clothes by including beads across their chests and waists. The senior wife is distinguished with a necklace called begnare, which she takes off when her first child gets married.

Tsemai Just over 20,000 Tsemai live in the kebeles of Bura, Gesma, Bola, Eyemele, Uf, Alo, Shala, Dumana, and Echente. They practice both rain-fed agriculture and flood retreat agriculture in addition to pastoralism. The paramount spiritual leader of the Tsemai is the bogolko. He prays for rain, good harvest, good health for the children, and also makes all sacrifices. The traditional leader of the Tsemai is the sarku dema, who acts as liaison officer between the people and the government. An assistant to the sarku dema is sark whose function is similar to the serku dema, but confined to the local area. Decisions are made by calling a bulki (general assembly) and a halki is the spokesman of the group4. The Tsemai have five types of marriages: haliko egail - arranged marriages; wawaki bais - consensual marriages; midi - marriages by abduction; shano - marriages by inheritance, and sagarte - replacement marriages. The men wear the odĂŠ, a sarong-like garment. They also wear beaded ornaments on their elbows and necks. Until marriage, young girls wear garments made from cotton or leather. Married women wear the fulat - a skirt made from leather that is narrow at the front and thicker at the back; they also wear kashe - a necklace.

Beraile The 5,002 strong Beraile sustain themselves through fishing, apiculture, farming and hunting. The spiritual leader of the Beraile is the gech.

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The Beraile have three types of marriages: adibad jika isma - arranged marriages; iama - consensual marriages; and geymanushgelkut - marriages by inheritance.

DASSANECH WOREDA Dassanech Dassanech, formerly known as Geleb, predominantly raise livestock but also engage in a small amount of crop production. With 48,067 people, they have one of the largest populations of any of the groups in the zone. Like many pastoral people in the region, the Dassanech are a highly egalitarian society, with a social system involving age sets and clan lineages. The traditional leadership of the Dassanech are chosen by the people. The Dassanech have four types of marriages: darech - arranged marriages; garu welgesa - consensual marriages; seriti - marriages by abduction; and ayodi - marriages by inheritance. The Dassanech women wear clothes made from leather. The men wear sarong-like items and decorate themselves with beads and bracelets.

DEBUB AND SEMEN ARI WOREDAS Ari The Ari live in the woredas of Debub Ari and Semien Ari and predominantly practice settled agriculture. Their king is called babi. The Ari, who with 290, 453 have by far the largest population of any ethnic group, have three types of marriages: kubsina - arranged marriages; sora - consensual marriages; and ardetin - marriage by inheritance. The people wear clothes made from sheepskin and the false banana tree - enset.

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HAMER WOREDA Arbore

Also known as the Ulde, this ethnic group of 6,840 people at the last count in 2007 is the southern neighbour of the Tsemai and lives in the hot plains north of Lake Stephanie, previously known as Chew Bahir. They use the waters of the Woyto and Sagan rivers for flood retreat agriculture and also engage in pastoralism. Each village has a ritual leader known as a qawt. The Arbore marriage types include keimaweltabe - consensual marriages; ser - marriages by abduction; yehilma - marriages by inheritance; and arranged marriages. The Arbore decorate themselves by wearing aluminium bead necklaces. It is believed that they originate from Shoa.

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Karo The minority Karo ethnic group with a population of 1,464 predominantly practice settled agriculture and animal breeding. The traditional leader of the Karo is the kati. The Karo have three types of marriages: miliko - arranged marriages; haramu - consensual marriages; and beski - marriages by inheritance. Children do not wear clothes, but the youth wear sarong-like items and decorate themselves with beads. The men pierce their ears in five places and wear earrings.

Hamer The Hamer are agro-pastoralists in the Southern Omo Valley and had a population estimated at 46,532 people in 2007. The traditional leader of the Hamer is the bitta. The Hamer have five types of marriages: arranged marriages; kindel kays - consensual marriages; yedot - marriage by abduction; ishmena - marriages by inheritance; and merima -replacement marriages. The Hamer are known for their body adornments, as they often wear a multitude of colourful beads, and women wear heavy polished iron necklaces. Hamer society consists of a complex system of age grades. Passing from one grade to another involves complicated rituals. The most significant ceremony for young men is the ‘jumping of the bulls ceremony’ - the final rite of passage before entering adulthood and marriage.

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Several days before the ceremony, invitations in the form of dried knotted grass are distributed by the initiate. The ceremony lasts three days. Late in the afternoon on the final day, around 10 bulls are lined up side by side. The naked initiate runs and vaults onto the first bull’s back and then attempts to run along the whole line; he then turns back to repeat the performance. To pass the initiation, he must make this unstable journey without falling. Upon completion of the ceremony, his female relatives submit to a ritual flogging and subsequently display with pride the resulting scars, which are regarded as a proof of their devotion.

NYANGATOM WOREDA Nyangatom The Nyangatom, formerly known as Bume, number 25,252 and live in the south of Omo National Park. They occasionally migrate into the lower regions of the park when water or grazing is scarce. The Nyangatom are agro-pastoralists, relying on cattle herding and flood-retreat agriculture, which consists mainly of sorghum harvesting. Small groups of the Nyangatom living along the Omo are specialised crocodile hunters using harpoons from a dugout canoe. The elders of both sexes wear a lower lip plug; the men’s made from ivory and the women’s from copper. Like other groups in the zone, the Nyangatom are organised into a hierarchy of territorial units. At the bottom is the opeytown (household). Beyond the household, the larger unit is the pere (village) and the head of the village is the emerun4. The traditional leader of the Nyangatom is the akatuken. The Nyangatom have four types of marriages: alaito - arranged marriages; akopor - consensual marriages; astergnar marriages by abduction; and akumar - marriages by inheritance. Children do not wear clothes, but when they come of age they wear clothes made from sheepskin and goatskin. Married women tie their hair with sheepskin and braid it at the front.

4 Ibid.

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Murile The Murile ethnic group are predominantly crop agriculturalists, but also practice cattle breeding. The Murile, who only number around 1,500, are governed by the traditional institution of karujak.

Kuwegu The Kuwegu ethnic group live in the Nyangatom Woreda and had a population of 1,974 in 2007. They are predominantly agriculturalists, but those at lower altitude also practice mixed farming. The traditional leaders of the Kuwegu are the imunkapen and the pankagudel. The Kuwegu value consensual marriages and abductions are considered as taboo. Unmarried women adorn themselves with beads and jewellery and wear dresses made from leather.

MAALE WOREDA Maale

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The traditional leader of the Maale is the kati, who is also their spiritual leader.

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The Maale ethnic group live in an area called Maale Awaki. They are one of the largest groups in the area with a population of 98,114 recorded at the last census. They are predominantly agriculturalists, but those at lower altitude practice mixed agriculture. The Maale also hunt antelopes, wild boar, and other wildlife. The traditional leader of the Maale is the kati, who is also their spiritual leader. The group have three types of marriages: areki anges - arranged marriages; ailuys - consensual marriages; and meres - marriages by abduction

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SALAMAGO WOREDA Bacha The Bacha make their living primarily from crop farming, but also engage in apiculture. Their population was estimated at 2,632 in 2007. They have four types of marriages: nitrisis ksemnde - arranged marriages; kokeb habne - consensual marriages; ishmen ardne - marriages by inheritance and shashokosha marriages by abduction. The women wear koysha, which is made from the bark of trees, and the men wear sarong-type garments.

Bodi The Bodi number around 7,000 and cultivate some sorghum along the banks of the Omo River, but their culture is very much cattle-based. Like with the Mursi, livestock plays an important role in marriage, divination, and name-giving rituals. The Bodi’s classification of cattle is complex, with over 80 words used to denote different colours and patterns. When a child is born, animals are given to him. The usual way is for the father to give one male and one female cow. At the time of marriage a father gives 10 cattle to his son and the dowry is 30-36 cattle. When a girl marries, the mother’s brother receives five cattle. The father’s brother of the same mother receives two cattle and the father’s father one cow. A wife is given about three milking animals by the husband. The traditional leader of the Bodi is the kumrut. The Bodi have three types of marriages: eukola - arranged marriages; neyneda consensual marriages; and marriages by inheritance. Bodi dress is simple: the women wear goatskins tied at the waist and shoulder, while men fasten a strip of cotton or bark-cloth around their waist. The Bodi have an annual fat-male contest. The fattest male gets to choose the bride of his choice. Males prepare for the contest by drinking milk and blood during the preceding months.

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Dime The minority Dime ethnic group of around 1,000 people occupy the northern tip of South Omo Zone and practice mixed farming. Their traditional administration is based on elders, who are known as zemu. They have four types of marriages: bakesma - arranged marriages; kokeshen - consensual marriages; sheshkebana - marriages by abduction; and mentekefe - marriages by inheritance. The women wear clothes made from leather and bark.

Mursi The Mursi are primarily pastoralists who live in Mursiland. As well as being populated by 7,500 Mursi, it is also inhabited by the Bodi in the lowlands and the Dime in the highlands to the northeast. The Mursi’s king is called kumuru, who is also the spiritual leader. The Mursi have four types of marriages: tokoto gama- arranged marriages; gama consensual marriages; pisiye - marriages through abduction; and sermay - marriages by inheritance. The women are famous for wearing lip-plates, which are made of clay. Girls’ lower lips are pierced at the age of 15 or 16. Like most Omo tribes, men scarify their shoulders and shave geometric patterns on their head after killing an enemy. During dances and ceremonies they adorn all parts of their body with white chalk paint. Males also engage in ritual stick fighting tournaments, during which pairs duel with three metre wooden lances. After the contest, the winner is carried on top of poles to girls waiting beside the arena, who decide among themselves which of them will ask for the victor’s hand in marriage.

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Languages

There are three types of languages spoken by the ethnic groups:

Cushitic

Nilo-Saharan

Omotic

Arborigna - Arbore Affa Dassanech Dassanech

Bodyigna - Bodi Mursigna - Mursi NyangatomNyangatom

Arogna - Ari Bena - Bena Dimigna - Dime Hamerigna - Hamer Malegna - Maale Tsemaigna/ Tsemakula - Tsemai

Economy The economy of the South Omo Zone is based on the physical landscape of the area and can be classified into two types corresponding to the two distinct areas: sedentary farming areas found in the highland and middle altitude areas; and the lowland pastoral and agro-pastoral areas. Elevated grounds that are intensively cultivated in South Omo Zone can be considered as areas in Ethiopia that mark the south-western limit of traditional highland ox-plough agriculture. Outside of these settled and primarily cultivated areas, there exists vast semi-arid terrain supporting agro-pastoral groups that are at various stages of transition from transhumant to sedentary livelihoods. Economic opportunities in the zone are, however, limited because of the environment and poor infrastructure. There are few opportunities for trade and, when there are opportunities, often the terms are poor. The agricultural cycle in South Omo Zone is divided into two seasons coinciding with the two annual rainfall patterns. Planting of sorghum and maize starts with the onset of the main rainy season from February through June. Staple crops planted in February are harvested in August or September. The secondary agricultural season commences with the onset of the short rainy season that starts in November and ends in December. Supplementary crops produced in the zone during this period, mainly in the higher altitudes, include sorghum, millet, wheat, barley, teff, and pulses.

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The lowland areas in South Omo Zone support agro-pastoral groups practicing a mixed agriculture that include livestock production supplemented by crop cultivation. The main animals raised in these areas are cattle and supplementary flocks of sheep and goats. Despite an increasing trend of crop cultivation, the agro-pastoralists are still regarded as seasonally migrating transhumance within their own territory by outsiders.

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The main animals raised in these areas are cattle and supplementary flocks of sheep and goats.

Erratic rainfall constrains the use of semi-arid lowlands for regular and reliable crop cultivation.

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As compared to the wetter highlands, rainfall in these areas is both low and irregular, making the agro-pastoralists vulnerable to famine and drought. Flood-retreat agriculture along the banks of the seasonally flooded rivers is certainly more reliable than rain-fed shifting cultivation. However, this system of production is limited in extent and contributes little to the overall subsistence needs of the local agropastoral groups. Shifting cultivation, the main crop production activity in the lowlands, is also unable to sustain an increasing population. The herding and opportunistic cultivation are supplemented by apiculture, the collection of leaves and berries, and hunting. These practices are carried out to make up for shortages in food during lean or troubled years, when the already vulnerable agropastoralist system fails to sustain or meet the basic needs of the local groups living in drought-affected lowland areas of the zone. The population of game animals has, in recent years, drastically been reduced due to unrestrained hunting brought about by the easy access to automatic firearms of local people.

Tourism The zone is home to a plethora of tourist attractions, including a diverse mix of natural, cultural and historical attractions5. The natural attractions include Mago National Park and partially, Omo National Park, Tama and Chelib reserves. There are also the Murille and Wolshet hunting areas, Maki, Likulan and Chew Bahir lakes, and the Omo, Woyto, Maki, Mago, Neri, and Bezo rivers. The Hamer and Bena are known for evangadi (night dancing) and bull jumping festivities. The Bodi and Mursi are notable for donga (stick fighting) ceremonies. The Dassanech, along with the Dime and Nyangaton are known for their kimmomor cultural ceremonies, while the Ari and Maale also have renowned cultural dancing events. Historical attractions in the region include the Omo Anthropology and Archaeology Site, which is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are also the Fejej and Kibish anthropology and archaeology sites, and the Gellila and Shengama Weset

5 South Omo zone Trade and Industry Department, http://www.debubomozoneti.gov.et/About_the_Zone.htm

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Historical attractions in the region include the Omo Anthropology and Archaeology Site, which is registered as a UNESCO’s world heritages sites.

caves.

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CHAPTER 2 conflicts in the South Omo Zone

Overview of conflicts Violent conflict between different ethnic groups has been a longstanding and prominent feature of the Lower Omo Valley. For example, from July 2003 to January 2009, the Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) recorded that 209 violent incidents occurred in the Karomoja Cluster, the border region between Kenya and the South Omo Zone, with 18,945 livestock raided and 267 human fatalities6.

6 Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Region, The Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN), http://www.cewarn.org/index_files/Page404.htm

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Recent years have seen a reduction in the number of incidents, with CEWARN recording its first quarter with no fatalities in September to December 2007. It put this down to an increasing number of peace initiatives reducing tensions between the Kenyan Turkana and Ethiopian Dassanech and Nyangatom, including those facilitated by EPaRDA, in addition to adequate rainfall and increased trade7.

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While the violence is primarily carried out by youthful male members of communities, elders also play their role by giving blessing to the warriors

Conflicts can occur between any of the ethnic groups, although those that share a common border are far more likely to confront each other. Occasionally, alliances are formed, such as between the Nyangatom and Toposa in 20088, but these are normally short-term and strategic, rather than of any lasting significance. Other examples of this from the early 2000s are that in the conflict between the Hamer and Nyangatom, it was reported that the Karo were supporting the Hamer. Subsequently, there was an indication that the Karo were interested in joining forces with Nyangatom following mediations. This suggests some minority ethnic groups, such as the Karo, adjust coalitions based on the prevailing balance of power. Most conflicts are between groups based in Ethiopia, but cross-border incidents also occur, such as with Kenyan communities - as was the case with the May 2005 Kenyan Turkana livestock raid on Dassanech land in Toltale Kebele, in the then Kuraz Woreda, Ethiopia9. The Kenyan Turkana are historic enemies of both the Ethiopian Dassanech and Nyangatom. While the violence is primarily carried out by youthful male members of communities, elders also play their role by giving blessing to the warriors, while women stimulate the martial spirit by singing songs in praise of the fighters and honouring them as heroes on

7 IGAD, CEWARN, Country Updates: September - December 2007, Ethiopian Side of the Karamoja Cluster, Report to Ethiopian CEWERU, February 13, 2008 8 IGAD, CEWARN, Country Updates: May – August 2008, page 11 9 IGAD, CEWARN, Alert: Ethiopian Side of the Karamoja Cluster, CEWARN, Addis Ababa, August 3rd, 2005

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their return from conflict. Although men, as the fighters, make up the bulk of casualties, women and children are also targeted, although the act is often seen as cowardly. When non-belligerents are targeted, as was the case in the 2008 clashes between the Nyangatom and Dassanech in the Kibish area, it has been suggested that the disagreement contains an unusually high level of animosity10. In pastoralist areas one of the major sources of conflicts has been disputes focusing on access to the use of natural resources, most frequently water and pasture. However, there are also many cases of conflict originating from deep-rooted cultural practices, such as heroism, asset building and collective revenge. In the past the frequency of conflicts was lower, mainly because there was less competition for crucial resources due to lower populations and there had not been so much degradation of the land. Additionally, there were less injuries and fatalities resulting from violent disputes, as traditional weapons were used, rather than the semi-automatic rifles of today. 10 IGAD, CEWARN, Country Updates: January – April 2007 For the Ethiopian Side of the Karamoja Cluster, August 15th, 2007

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Causes of conflicts Introduction Conflicts in the South Omo Zone result from a variety of predisposing and instigating factors, rather than a single cause, such as an ecological, economic, socio-cultural or political cause. Many informants and organisations have assessed that livestock raiding and competition over pastures and water are the most frequent causes of conflicts, but also conflicts result from long-existing traditional cultural practices, and administrative failings. Additionally, government policies created an environment that was suitable for these factors to come to the fore. Successive Ethiopian regimes, starting from Haile Selassie’s imperial era to the present day, have been more inclined to promote policies favouring the non-pastoral sectors of their predominantly agrarian economies by advancing policies that favour settled agriculture. Many times this has been at the expense of the pastoral communities. The extreme situation has been where government has deliberately undertaken policies

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Murder and cattle rustling began to be conducted, mostly by the youth, as a show of strength in these societies.

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aimed at eliminating the mode of livelihood of the pastoral people. This grave marginalisation of pastoral economies has led to extreme levels of underdevelopment in these areas. As well as exacerbating competition for already scarce resources, the pastoralists have also responded to this treatment by adopting warrior-like cultures.

Murder and cattle rustling began to be conducted, mostly by the youth, as a show of strength in these societies. Overtime, these notions engrained themselves in the socio-cultural life, to the extent of delineating levels of prestige and positions within the hierarchy of the respective communities. It should also be noted that, conversely, the current government’s policies have in some ways created a better situation for pastoralists compared to the previous state of affairs. The introduction of federalism to address ethnic issues, the granting of constitutional rights to pastoralists, and the decentralisation of power to grassroots level have made positive contributions to peace building efforts in the area.

The causes Competition over pasture and water One of the classic causes of conflicts is competition for access to grazing pastures and water points. This happens because of the degradation of the land due to encroachment and low, erratic rainfall. This situation led to the cattle population becoming too large to be supported by the land, which resulted in competition over the meagre resources, especially during droughts. The situation is particularly problematic when there is an imbalance of resources. If we consider the Hamer, for instance, there is no long stretch of river in their traditional territory. Also, their population is large in comparison with the neighbouring communities. So, the Hamer look for pasture and water, and in so doing encroach on the land of other groups.

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Ineffective administration When a community is preparing for war, the authorities will often learn of it. Unfortunately, the police rarely have the capability to intervene and prevent the conflict, as it has neither sufficient personnel, radios, nor vehicles. The community accepts the police as a legal institution, but knows that it does not have law enforcement power, as they themselves are better equipped with firearms. Even if the police had sufficient resources to intervene, the remote locations of the communities and the lack of decent roads would make it impractical. This ineffective law enforcement leads communities to take their own retribution.

Unfair demarcation of boundaries Most pastoralists felt that most of their pasture and water resources were unfairly divided by the colonial powers. Additionally, some ethnic groups were divided by the artificial boundaries of the colonisers. Such acts have been one of the main causes of conflict, especially when it comes to the cross-border issue. Unless a solution is found for these issues, the problems of conflict and underdevelopment may well remain chronic.

Imbalance of power in the border areas For example, on the border of the Dassanech territory and Kenya, five checkpoints with regular army and militia have been established by the Kenyans at Todongang, Loseto, Kewan, Kogro and Elerate. However, on the Ethiopian side, there are only checkpoints at Kibish, Nebremus and recently Bubua.

Dowries and cattle rustling Dowries for marriage are paid in kind in the form of livestock. As a result of this requirement, those who lack resources resort to livestock rustling from other groups, which can lead to conflict.

Cattle rustling for assets Cattle rustling is also considered a way to acquire assets. This is particularly so for the youth, because they have no assets and their inheritances are frequently shared among many siblings. Nowadays, cattle raiding is changing its form to a means of making money for the youth.

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Additionally, sometimes trade perceived as unfair, often cross border, leads to conflicts. Livestock marketing considered illegal can result in confiscation and killing on the way back from market, especially with the Turkana and Dassanech.

The proliferation of small arms The increasing proliferation of small arms is another major cause of conflicts in the zone. Currently, all of the ethnic groups prioritise the possession of semi-automatic rifles, which they consider as the best method to ensure domination of rival ethnic groups. The Nyangatom have a better type of small arms, the G3 imported from South Sudan, while all the other ethnicities have Kalashnikovs, probably obtained locally through small armament dealers, or from ex soldiers of the Derg regime. The increased access to these weapons has caused a tremendous increase in inter-ethnic conflict in the area, as well as increasing the chances of conflict resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. In addition, access to them has caused serious damage to wildlife due to widespread uncontrolled and indiscriminate hunting.

Demographic growth Demographic growth is also an important cause of conflict. Those groups with a markedly higher population - such as the Hamer - perceive themselves as having an advantage, which leads them into acts of aggression. Conversely, groups with relatively small populations, such as the Karo, suffer at the hands of more populous communities, as their weakness is well-known and exploited.

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Groups reward acts of killing and looting, with ritual ceremonies being held for someone who kills a member of another ethnic group.

The honouring of warriors Each community identifies and honours the best warriors, resulting in increased social status and prestige for the heroes. Groups reward acts of killing and looting, with ritual ceremonies being held for someone who kills a member of another ethnic group. Like in the military, successful

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fighters are decorated with visible honours for their bravery. The more people you have killed the more you are decorated and respected. Marks are put on the body - the chest, above the shoulder, or on the back - so they are visible to others. Those honoured in such a way are particularly respected by the youth and are also readily accepted as husbands by females. In most of the pastoral communities of South Omo Zone, it is also customary for men to kill when they want to engage in marriage. The respect and prestige bestowed to a hero is also extended to all his relatives; for instance, wives of those honoured will get priority access to watering points. This honouring of warriors - a common cultural practice in most communities - is one of the principal factors causing conflicts in the zone. The practice leads each individual member to act vigorously against enemies, as well as recognise allies. By doing so it fosters group solidarity, but also heightens the chances of hostilities.

Contribution of elders The involvement of elders of the community in the conflict by giving pre-raid blessings, as well as post-raid recognitions, is another factor that has encouraged attacks.

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The involvement of elders of the community in the conflict by giving pre-raid blessings, as well as post-raid recognitions, is another factor that has encouraged attacks.

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Absence of compensation Among the South Omo ethnic groups, the culture of compensation for human and asset loss is non-existent, unless forced by another actor, such as the government. Hence the mentality of taking violent revenge is not moderated.

Collective revenge Ethnicity in pastoral communities is related to identity and self-insurance. Both individual and communal security are assisted by a collective ethnic-based approach: members feel safe physically, psychologically, and spiritually in view of the support they get from their group. As a result of this, every ethnic group in pastoral communities of the zone has developed their own defence mechanism: a tradition of fighting enemies communally in retaliation. This culture of retaliation has a compounding effect and sustains conflict cycles. Pastoralists in the area feel profoundly humiliated unless an attack is revenged. Retaliatory acts receive positive reactions and are often rewarded by the community. The feeling of humiliation following an attack and the subsequent retaliatory measures are usually perceived as collective responsibilities of the entire ethnic group, irrespective of which individual, or individuals, were initially affected.

Individual security Any individual from a given ethnic group views those outside his own ethnic group with great suspicion and as a potential enemy. Whenever individuals from conflicting ethnic groups meet by chance, the probability they will fight is very high. In these circumstances, both assume that the other plans to act as an aggressor. The resultant effect of individual acts as sources of inter-ethnic conflicts has long-term consequences. Once conflicts erupt and damage to human lives and property occurs, the relationship between the concerned ethnic groups remain fractious and nurtures the perpetuation of conflicts for generations. Examples of such scenarios include inter-ethnic conflicts between the Hamer and Borana. For example, one conflict between Hamer and Borana was instigated by a Hamer member killing three Borana: two women and a man. This act mobilised the whole of the Borana against the Hamer in retaliation. Similarly, conflict between Hamer and Dassanech, Nyangatom and Karo and Nyangatom and Turkana and Dassanech and Turkana are

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known to be as a result of individual acts. In 2004, a conflict between the Nyangatom and the Turkana was initiated due to the killing of a Nyangatom by a Turkana. The Nyangatom then retaliated, killing three Turkanas. Analysis strongly suggest that a vicious conflict cycle in the pastoral setting in South Omo Zone has its roots in both individual and communal security matters, as a threat to one will invariably affect the other.

The importance of myths Myths, beliefs and historical events strongly influence the social identity, political outlook and interactions of the various ethnic groups. Thus oral histories play very significant roles in shaping the types of relationships between the different groups. Due to their inherent ability to stimulate emotions, the magnification of minor events, distortion of events, and the dissemination of false information are important factors in escalating tensions to the extent they lead to violent conflicts. This is particularly true in multi-ethnic pastoral societies, as they tend to be very easily polarised.

Negative perceptions In the pastoral areas of South Omo Zone where ethnic identity always occupy an important place amongst the communities, some associated with low social status become targets of discrimination and suffer frequent harassment. This, at times, becomes the cause for inter-ethnic conflicts. A long-standing tradition promotes other ethnic groups as primary or secondary enemies, which serves as a basis for recurrent conflicts. The primary enemies are those groups residing in the immediate neighbourhood, while the secondary enemies are those from more distant locations.

Other actors Other actors indirectly involved in the conflicts are the merchants who are smuggling in armaments and ammunitions. Usually such groups are targeted when conflicts break out as they are assumed to be giving information to the enemy.

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Seasonal factors According to pastoralists from different ethnic groups, the timing of conflicts is usually unpredictable. They are caused by individuals or groups and occur during dry and wet seasons. For example, some of the conflicts occurred during the dry season when competition for resources is at its most intense, while some occurred during marriage ceremonies and traditional festivals when the demand for livestock raiding is high and heroism, such as killing enemies, is decorated. On the other hand, some long distance livestock raiding occurred during the rainy seasons when water is available to make lengthy trips, while for others the dry season when rivers are not full is preferred. Still others prefer harvesting season when an enemy is concentrated around the river valleys. Fighting grounds are usually around the common grazing areas and watering points. Physical features act as boundaries between the different ethnic groups. Hence most of the best pasture and water sources serve as boundaries and are areas of conflicts. For example, the largest and best pasture and natural water source for the Dassanech is located in an area adjacent to Turkana land and remains an area of chronic conflict between the two groups.

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Conflict map of ethnic groups in South Omo Zone

ARBORE

NYANGATOM

BORANA HAMER

DASSANECH

TURKANA

KEY

PEACEFUL

UNCERTAIN

VOLATILE

Source: Zerihun, 2004

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CHAPTER 3 History of conflict resolution and peace building in South omo Zone

Peace is an important and necessary precondition for sustainable development of any given region. However, any of the factors in the preceding chapter can generate tensions and lead to conflict, therefore disrupting peace and shackling development efforts. In response to this, various efforts at conflict resolution and peace building have been made by various actors in the South Omo Zone. There are different mechanisms to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. These are, primarliy, traditional conflict resolution, state intervention in conflcit and non- government actors’ intervention in conflict resolution.

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TRADITIONAL MECHANISMS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION Traditional mechanisms may include negotiations between those involved in the dispute and third party involvement to attempt to settle the dispute. The people of South Omo have their own traditional mechanisms to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. External peace builders have ensured that these existing mechanisms have been incorporated into any new initiatives undertaken, such as the EPaRDA arranged peace conferences. Negotiation is whereby the parties terminate an existing conflict or prevent the coming one. The parties in the conflict who can communicate with each other will undertake this negotiation on their own. In South Omo Zone each ethnic group has its own different sub-ethnic groups, for example, the Dassanech have eight sub-ethnic groups: the Ilile, Sher, Inkuya, Koro, Rendela, Uro, Rile and Narch. Historically, the assimilation of the sub-groups has been facilitated through intermarriages to assure strong ethnic affiliation or bond. Such assimilations were also influenced by the balance of power where the minorities mainly settled around the Omo River had to shift from one ethnic group to another, such as Karo moving between the Hamer and the Nyangatom. Such solidarity of sub-ethnic groups had the advantage of increasing power and so the ability to protect vital resources - pasture, water and livestock - and, if necessary, invade others’ territory. Moreover, merged sub-groups are likely to mean increased mobility, access to biodiversity, and exchanges of experiences, as the sub-groups are specialised in different economic activities, such as fishing, crop cultivation, beekeeping, livestock husbandry and the use of traditional medicines. During conflicts the bordering subgroups occasionally facilitate conflict resolutions, as there are sub-groups in each ethnic group who are specialised in peace making and are not involved in conflicts, such as the Ikumma of Nyangatom.

Peace making groups Peace making groups are present among all ethnics groups. For example, the Ikumma sub-ethnic groups of the Nyangatom, Narch of Dassanech and the Ris sub-group of the Arbore are meant to facilitate peace negotiations among conflicting groups. However, it is far more common for peace making groups to mediate within an ethnic group, rather than between ethnic groups.

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Culture of tolerance Under the traditional pastoralist system, tolerance is an asset. All disputes do not necessarily lead to violence. The leading elders and the peace making groups investigate the causes of conflicts to assess whether they were accidental or intentional, and individually-motivated, or group-motivated. This knowledge can then help contribute to peaceful resolutions.

Under the traditional pastoralist system, tolerance is an asset. All disputes do not necessarily lead to violence.

Intermarriage This is widely practiced among conflicting ethnic groups to facilitate harmonious relations and so avoid conflict. For example the Murle are highly intermarried with the Dassanech and do not get involved in any conflicts with the Dassanech. Intermarriage has also taken place among individuals as a result of interaction through trading. This was the case between the Dassanech and the Nyangatom, and between the Dassanech and the Turkana. Dassanech accounts indicate that many women came from Turkana to purchase sorghum during harvesting and some of them got married to Dassanech. For the men, such marriages are attractive, as they are not forced to pay livestock as dowries.

Lessons from the Arbore Among the many ethnic groups, the Arbore are considered as peace loving and in harmony with many other communities. The Arbore also have sub-groups with different characteristics, which is another factor that facilitates peace. A combination of factors has contributed to the peaceful coexistence of the community: • Strategic location near Hamer, Borana, Dassanech, Tsemai territories • Governed by the principle of mutual cooperation and peaceful coexistence • Experience of making peace among different ethnic groups • Mutual sharing of their resources with other ethnic groups

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• Involved in trading across different ethnic groups • Cultural values of denouncing killings • History of common origin from different ethnic groups • Highly intermarried with different ethnic groups • A legend tells that attacking this group as an evil • The sub-clans are considered knowledgeable and powerful • Speak three languages in addition to their own

Traditional conflict resolution institutions and processes have sometimes been effective in preventing, resolving and mitigating violent conflicts. They can also be preferable to formal institutions partly because they are administered by elders who are closer to the concerned parties. Traditional leaders know local cultures, values and interests of the people more than outsiders. They are respected by local people and their words are often credible. On the other hand, outsiders lack credibility and knowledge of local cultures and values. However, new challenges are emerging with regards to traditional conflict mediation:

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Unemployment and lack of access to education among the youth has contributed to the intensification of conflicts.

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Young generation: Tend not to abide by the traditional rules and regulations. Moreover, tolerance and peace loving is not a fundamental asset of the new generations. Unemployment and lack of access to education among the youth has contributed to the intensification of conflicts. Marginalisation of traditional practices: Often under the modern institutional set-ups, local rules and regulations are not accommodated and elders with deep-rooted experience of leadership, but who are often illiterate, are not incorporated into the modern institutions.

Accountability: Sometimes district leaders are not accountable to the community; they lack experience, the commitment to prevent and resolve conflicts and are biased to their ethnic groups.

STATE INTERVENTIONS IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION One of the prime responsibilities of the government is to maintain peace and order in its territory. For this purpose, the necessary structures and mechanisms should be put in place. These may include: • The development and implementation of sound economic and social policies. • Strong management in the public sector with professional administrative personnel and an effective public service. • The existence of a sound and predictable legal framework with a reliable and independent judiciary. • The existence of effective mechanisms to deal with corruption. • A good financial system, with structures to ensure accountability and transparency • Appropriate levels of community expenditure.

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• Appropriate role for the military in civilian life.

History of state intervention in the zone We have our own traditional administration. We do not know laws since we abide by the decisions of the elders known as ‘Afar’. We believe in our culture as if it were God. However, the elders push us to create inter-ethnic conflict with the Hamer, the Borena and other groups. The government does not know about this. These elders live in an island no one reaches. We want to make peace with Hamer and other ethnic groups. Excerpt by a pastoralist elder on the impact of traditional instructions. Notes from the proceedings of the roundtable on drought and famine in the pastoral regions of Ethiopia December 2002, Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia publication.

Back in the 1960s, government was even weaker, with very little presence in the zone. According to the Hamer community, in the first half of the decade Emperor Haile Selassie’s regime did make an aerial bombardment of the Hamer after they had raided Borana territory; however, the lack of an effective administrative presence on the ground made this strong intervention very much an exception. Dr Tafesse Mesfin, a veterinarian with four decades of experience of the zone, reports that when he visited in 1968 there was a bitter conflict occurring between the Arbore and Borana. Such was the engrained nature of the belligerence that when Dr Tafesse spoke to the Arbore about the fighting, they expressed surprise that someone should question them about why they were attacking another ethnic group.

Post 1974, during the Derg period, conflicts continued, for example between the Dassanech and the Kenyan Turkana. Peace efforts were limited, although there was a border harmonisation program between Kenya and Ethiopia, which aimed to ensure that the conflict between the two groups did not escalate into a wider battle. Since the inception of the federal republic in 1994, conflicts have continued to occur, exacerbated by factors such as an increasing scarcity of crucial resources and the spread of small arms. Over the last decade, concerted peace making efforts by external actors, such as those by EPaRDA, have had a positive effect, but by no means have managed to eradicate violent disputes.

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The administrative context in South Omo Zone Policies in favour of settled agriculture over several decades has led to marginalisation and a lack of effective administration of the zone. Consequently, the limited opportunities that the area offers have not been exploited because of the prevalent insecurity. The very limited pieces of infrastructure in these areas have all been run down, and the efforts of different organisations to develop these areas have been insufficient so far.

Formulation of policies pertaining to pastoral groups in Ethiopia has been based on flawed assumptions and generalisations.

Policies According to Ayalew Gebre, the formulation of policies pertaining to pastoral groups in Ethiopia has been based on flawed assumptions and generalisations about the primitive nature of pastoralism and pastoral land use and tenure arrangements: “Since feudal times, the state was firmly rooted in the central highlands and largely conrtrolled by highlanders, who dominated the bureaucracy, and who failed to understand the nature of pastoral production nor appreciated pastoral culture. Many pastoral societies were only incorporated into the Ethiopian polity in the last one hundred years or so. 11”

Ayalew contends that the interests of successive Ethiopian governments in pastoralism have always been to ‘extract an economic surplus for the national economy’. As a justification for their extractive policies, they refer to serious faults presumed to be inherent in the pastoral mode of subsistence. Pastoralists are stereotyped as irrational and destructive users of land and so as the main cause for the problem of overpopulation and overgrazing in the lowlands of the country. Pastoralists are often blamed for bringing these phenomena upon themselves.

Capacity Challenges remain with regards to the capacities of local administrations because of the nature of the settlement patterns of the pastoralists, as well as the trans-boundary 11 Ayalew Gebre, Pastoralism Under Pressure: Land Alienation and Pastoral Transformation among the Karrayu, 2001

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nature of the conflicts. In addition, local administrations tend to react late, once violent conflict has already broken out. Furthermore, once formal conflict resolution processes are activated, they often result in an unsustainable cessation of hostilities. The underlying causes of conflict are not dealt with, so any peace remains fragile.

NON-GOVERNMENT ACTORS’ INTERVENTIONS IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION Civil society organisations (CSOs) do contribute to conflict prevention, although there are only a handful of them. Some of them have put in place innovative measures to mitigate violent conflicts and restore peace among contending groups. Their interventions include setting up peace committees; providing resources, such as cattle, to mitigate cattle raiding; brokering peace among communities; conducting peace conferences; and providing education on the rule of law and civic education with an emphasis on awareness of the importance of peace and tolerance.

The role played by EPaRDA

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EPaRDA was one of the first to facilitate and organise in-country as well as cross-border (Ethio-Kenyan border) conflict mitigation and peace building initiatives for the pastoralist communities in Ethiopia. In this pioneering move, EPaRDA, with its partners, brought face to face various rival neighbouring pastoralist ethnic groups to enable them to discuss long-standing rivalries and reach resolutions that resulted in unprecedented periods of peaceful coexistence among pastoralists that previously looked at each other as natural enemies. EPaRDA’s partners in these efforts have included all tiers of government both in Ethiopia and Kenya, many local community organisations, and a number of civil society organisations, including: Riam Riam Turkana, FARM Africa; Federal and Regional Pastoralist Community Development Program (PCDP); Cordaid; Sustainable Land Use Forum; Health Unlimited; Oxfam GB; DfID; and USAID. EPaRDA and its partners’ conflict mitigation and peace building successes over the last decade included: • Organising traditional peace settlement mechanisms-based on local peace conferences

• Organising traditional elders managed and all-inclusive (elders, women and youth) inter-community dialogues

EPaRDA, with its partners, brought face to face various rival neighbouring pastoralist ethnic groups

• Organising all-inclusive (elders, women and youth) inter-community peace weak celebrations • Organising conflict mitigation and peace building trainings for community elders, women and youth, as well as government officials. In these successful peace building interventions, EPaRDA pursued a facilitating

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Mursi women decorating each other at the EPaRDA-organised peace festival

and non-interventionist strategy that enhanced the participation of the beneficiaries in the whole peace making process via attaining their good will, acknowledging their various indigenous methods of conflict management and empowering them to conduct the peace process by themselves. EPaRDA has managed to develop a sustainable framework for peace building among the target pastoralists, which includes a mechanism for post-raid livestock return and

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management of access to grazing areas. Conflict mitigation and prevention frameworks are now strengthened through various development activities that reinforce the interest that all parties have in peaceful economic improvement. These successful activities of EPaRDA are nowadays cited by various organisations as examples to follow and EPaRDA has become prominent in the field peace building initiatives. Recently, EPaRDA was awarded the Millennium Peace Award by the South Omo Zone administration.

Examples of EPaRDA’S work: Peace making among Arbore, Hamer and Borana To attempt to solve the deep-rooted conflict between the Arbore, Hamer and Borana, a peace conference was organised in March 2002 at Konso. A total of 78 community, woreda and zonal government representatives participated in the conference. The representatives of the three ethnic groups held thorough discussions for two consecutive days regarding peace and security in their communities and agreed to put to an end conflicts among themselves. Consequently, a joint peace patrolling committee, with a total of 60 members, was formed in order to patrol and look after the peace agreements reached by the ethnic groups. Around 110 milking cows were contributed from the concerned ethnic groups and given to the patrols, which worked in weekly shifts, in order to feed themselves during the patrolling work. Finally, based on their agreement at the conference, the peace deal was wrapped up in a traditional manner in each location through traditional peace ceremonies. Following this process, the peace situation among Borana, Arbore and Hamer improved tremendously throughout the remainder of 2002 and thereafter.

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Peace making among Mursi, Ari and Bodi EPaRDA’s second peace-making engagement dealt with the organisation of a peace building conference for Mursi, Bodi and Ari ethnic groups in December 2002 in Konso-Karot town. A total of 82 participants that included communities (25 Mursi, 25 Ari, 10 Bodi), government representatives, other NGO staffs, and journalists attended the conference. The three ethnic groups duly discussed the conflict problem in their area and passed valuable decisions aimed at ensuring the realisation of peace in their vicinity. Based on this agreement, a traditional peace ceremony was held in Balamer, Ari, in December 2002 at which the Mursi gave 20 cattle to the Ari victim families as a gesture of reconciliation. This situation resulted in the peaceful coexistence of these three previously rival ethnic groups.

Organising peace conferences for four ethnic groups As a continuation of the peace building effort, a peace conference was organised for the Hamer, Borana, Arbore and Gabra pastoral communities in June 2005. This was embarked upon after observing the huge demand for a peace settlement initiative in this area given the perpetual and very alarming violent conflict that prevailed among these ethnic groups, especially between Hamer and Borana.

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The cross border conflict mitigation project that helped reduce feuds between Dassanech and Nyangatom from Ethiopia and Turkana from Kenya was a notable success

The Borana and Gabra ethnic groups live in Oromia Regional State whereas the Hamer and the Arbore people are pastoralists residing in the South Omo Zone. The communities share a common border and consequently the Borana and Hamer were involved in series of conflicts that mainly arise from a shortage of pasture and water, and cultural beliefs. These conflicts had brought instability to the communities and had become an obstacle to the proper utilisation of resources.

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Cross-border peace making The cross border conflict mitigation project that helped reduce feuds between Dassanech and Nyangatom from Ethiopia and Turkana from Kenya was a notable success. These interventions were successful partly because they were backed by community development programs that included: • Capacity building among the communities in regards to livelihood development projects • Women’s empowerment projects • Environmental protection schemes • Facilitating dialogues

The major achievements of the EPaRDA-assisted effort included: Increase in interaction The trend of conflict in the cross-border areas has been reduced by intercommunity interaction, especially in the Dassanech-Turkana corridor. The situation in this corridor was steered towards peaceful co-existence and cooperation in maintaining the peace. Interaction between the conflicting groups has also been increased in other ways: Women’s movement increased both ways; traders’ movement was enhanced during day and night; and the Turkana elders, such as Niba and Ekitela, began to travel as far as Omorate, very often from the Napikor area.

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Hamer and Borena returning stolen property during peace week at Turmi May 2009

Resource and service sharing facilitated Dassanech and Turkana cattle were seen grazing side by side in Turkana territory following the mass movement of Dassanech men and livestock into Kenya after the flood disaster in August 2006.

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Peaceful joint fishing by Turkana and Dassanech on Lake Turkana has also started. Dassanech settlement areas that are very close to Turkana became peaceful. For instance Lotikori village, a Dassanech village, is within Turkana territory. The number of Dassenech students learning at Luaragnak is also increasing. There were, however, sporadic incidents of theft and attempted raids, though the perpetrators were individuals or small groups acting independently. The actions of such peace spoilers have been checked effectively through the conflict prevention, resolution and peace building structures and procedures installed by the initiative and through traditional mechanisms.

Establishment of community-based peace committees A community peace committee has been established and is operational in the area. The committee frequently meets and discusses peace building and related issues. The restoration of stolen property to their rightful owners was made possible through the activity of the committee, which managed to collect various stolen property and return it

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to its owners. The communities’ commitment to voluntarily recover and return stolen livestock and fishing gear has also increased, as has the handing over of criminals to the police. • Organising traditional elders managed and all-inclusive (elders, women and youth) inter-community dialogues • Organising all-inclusive (elders, women and youth) inter-community peace weak celebrations • Organising conflict mitigation and peace building trainings for community elders, women and youth.

POSITIVE TRENDS

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During periods of peace, the exchange of commodities among neighbouring ethnic groups occurs and facilitates mutual understanding.

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Trading During periods of peace, the exchange of commodities among neighbouring ethnic groups occurs and facilitates mutual understanding. For example, between the Dassanech or Nyangatom and the Turkana, there have been exchanges of crops, livestock and industrial products; while between the Nyangatom and Dassanech or Hamer there has been an exchange of bullets and livestock.

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Education Some of the conflicting ethnic groups send their children to boarding schools of rival groups to facilitate good relations. Examples of this are other Ethiopian ethnic groups sending their children to schools in Turmi, a Hamer stronghold and Dassanech and Nyangatom going to Turkana areas in Kenya.

Establishment of local militia The pastoralist community has appreciated the government-supported initiatives to establish and strengthen local militia to assist local and external peace making.

Compensation There was an event where the conflict between the Dassanech and Borana of Kenya was resolved through the involvement of the Ethiopian Government. Livestock were paid to Borana by the government as compensation. Unfortunately the peace was not sustained.

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CHAPTER 4

Approaches to conflict resolution and peace building in South Omo Zone The prolonged instability and poverty in the area have deep-rooted historical, geopolitical, economic and social causes that require integrated economic and administrative treatment. Relatively less attention has been paid to pastoralist communities than fully sedentary communities, despite the fact that they are the main victims of recurrent drought and prolonged conflicts, inhabit a vast area, and have a large population. Inter-ethnic conflicts are caused by individuals or groups and occur during dry and wet seasons. For example, some of the conflicts occurred during drought and famine; some in the dry season when every ethnic group is seeking the common resources of pasture and water; and some occurred during marriage and traditional festivals when the demand for livestock raiding and heroism among the community is high. Still others occur in harvesting season when the enemy is concentrated around the river valleys. The implications of this are that ethnic conflict is possible at any time and is a serious obstacle to development. Development suffers as conflicts impose tremendous social and economic costs, including human suffering, death and displacement. Armed conflicts severely constrain development endeavours by destructing infrastructure and diverting resources from development. Similarly, the prevalence of poverty and underdevelopment does not allow the attainment of sustainable peace and security. The outcomes from these conflicts can be seen in human death, damage of assets, displacement and migration, a high level of poverty and dependency on food aid. As the cause and sources of the conflicts are diverse, the approaches to solve them and build peace need to be multi-dimensional. In this regard, interventions in conflict resolution and peace building among the pastoral ethnic groups in South Omo Zone need to consider integrated socioeconomic, governance and cultural approaches in order to achieve sustainable peace and development.

Governance approach South Omo Zone is the home for 16 ethnic groups with diverse issues that need to be handled peacefully. However, pastoral ethnic groups live in frequent conflict among

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themselves. The diversity of the ethnic groups, their culture and contradictory interests do not make conflict inevitable; rather it is the way of handling differences that matters most. Governance is a crucial factor in improving the situation. In the case of pastoral development and peace building, the administrative system at all levels is a key factor. It is the comprehensive and participatory government leadership that could lead all actors to achieve peace and development and reach a common goal. It is not the mere existence of government administration that is required, but an effective government structure with the core values of the rule of law, good governance, and community participation institutionalised. In addition to leading and mobilising efforts for development, government administrations should implement peaceful management of individual and group differences, and enforce law and order. This can be a major factor in ensuring sustainable peace and development. It is virtually impossible to achieve peace and development amidst an anarchic system, or given a serious lack of administrative capacity. The South Omo Zone is a remote area

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and there has always been a history of sparse local government administration. Additionally, government structures have not been located close to target communities. Government interventions have normally been in response to short term emergency situations, rather than long term strategic ones. The success and failures of peace building and development issues in the area can partly be attributed to the role of government administration. In this regard, it is important to look at the issue of governance in relation to the system, policy and capacity.

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It is virtually impossible to achieve peace and development amidst an anarchic system, or given a serious lack of administrative capacity.

System of governance In pastoral areas, there has been a trend of assigning administrators and experts from non-pastoral backgrounds with little understanding about the cultural values, language and other factors in the area. This created a limitation to peace building and development efforts. This is with due consideration of the meaningful contribution of the various experts and development interventions that have been made in the area. In brief, the system of governance has been inconsiderate of the values and traditions of the pastoralists and forced the communities to abide by others’ decisions on their own affairs. By doing this, it created more resistance than cooperation with the grassroots communities12. The involvement of the pastoral ethnic groups in decision-making in their own affairs is not only a matter of rights; rather it is a question of utilising their rich indigenous knowledge to ensure success in development and peace building. Therefore, it is important to adopt a decentralised administrative system that passes the decision-making power to the communities so they determine their own local affairs. If the communities are completely excluded from any share of decision-making power at any level, they are likely to question and even challenge the legitimacy of the system. In this regard, decentralisation of decision-making power that ensures the participation of local people in the decision12 International Livestock Center for Africa, East Africa Pastoralism and anthropological perspective and development needs, papers presented at conference Nairobi Kenya 22-26 August 1977, page 41- 52, International Livestock Center for Africa, 1977

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making process is an important factor13. In addition to the communities, the system of governance should also be inclusive of other stakeholders, most importantly, civil society organisations. These peace building and development interventions by all actors need to be complementary and sustainable to be successful. However, this requires a participatory system of governance at all levels. The importance of considering the governance factor in conflict resolution and peace building can more profoundly be seen in the following economic and security circumstances.

Governance and scarcity of resources Scarcity of resources is a challenge, but its effect can be minimised with the right management on the ground. Economic development has been achieved in many places under the challenges of a scarcity of the necessary natural resources. The right system of governance can generate alternative solutions. On the other hand, although resource abundance is an opportunity for economic development, it cannot guarantee development. It is how the resources are managed that matters most. Mismanagement of resources in the past has resulted in long-lasting conflicts in many places. In this regard, the natural resources have been a curse in some areas. The abundance and scarcity of natural resources cannot assure any outcome, instead it is the management that is the crucial factor 14.

Governance and individual and group security The lack of strong government institutions and proper delivery of basic services in the area poses a serious problem to individual and group security. Therefore, ethnicity in the pastoral communities is related to identity and self-insurance. Both individual and communal safety are strongly tied to collective ethnic-based security. As a result of this psychological setting, every ethnic group in pastoral communities of the South Omo Zone has developed a defence mechanism: a tradition of fighting enemies communally. All ethnic groups have their own specific defence mechanisms to be deployed against enemies15. On the other hand, some enabling government policies have been developed, such as the introduction of federalism to address ethnic issues; the constitutional rights of pastoralists not to be displaced; and the decentralisation of 13 Ibid. 14 Wright, G. and Czelusta, J., Mineral Resource and Economic Development, Stanford University, 2003

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power to the lowest levels.

Policy issues Policy issues are important in addressing peace building and development interventions in pastoral areas. If the right policy is not in place, it is difficult to be successful in peace building and development endeavours16. A thorough understanding of the conflicts in the area is essential in order to develop the effective strategies and policies needed for conflict prevention, management, resolution, peace building and to ensure sustainable

development in affected areas17. Due to the situations policies seek to influence, they could hinder productive outcomes in peace building and development endeavours and could also result in unintended consequences. For instance, the pastoralist areas in Ethiopia have been sidelined in the development process: policies and programs have overlooked the pastoralist way of life and living conditions. Therefore, it is important to have the correct policy formulation, implementation and evaluation mechanisms in place. Most importantly, the policies need to be accepted by the local communities in order for all actors to contribute to their effective implementation. 15 Ibid. 16 Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, Proceeding of the Third National Conference, December 23-24, 2003 Addis Ababa 17 International Livestock Center for Africa, East Africa Pastoralism and anthropological perspective and development needs, Papers presented at conference Nairobi Kenya 22-26 August 1977 page 41- 52

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Traditionally, all the pastoral ethnic groups in the zone have different methods that help with natural resource management, and peace making. If given due consideration, these kinds of traditions help to accelerate the efforts of the government. At the same time, the failure to consider the cultural values of the communities could hinder communities’ participation and result in the eventual failure of the administrative endeavours.

Lack of political commitment Historically, the South Omo Zone has been marginalised by administrators. One of the ways that this manifests itself is by poor resources allocation, with the area not being provided with the personnel, facilities and services it requires. The lack of attention paid to the area needs to be rectified with a sustained political commitment from federal, regional and zonal officials to facilitate increased economic activity in the area and to help to combat the challenges, such as environmental degradation and frequent conflicts.

Capacity issue Despite the setting of the right polices and strategies, the government also needs to establish sufficient capacity for implementation. The limitations regarding capacity and institutional arrangement of the government administration could make the policies and programs merely aspirations. For example, it is well-known that it is very difficult to find skilled professionals from the local communities qualified to hold responsible positions in local administrations. This indicates that there needs to be capacity building efforts to improve this situation. Government should build its capacity with professionals and the necessary materials and facilities in order to improve its service.

Economic and environmental approach Poverty generates tensions as people scramble for limited resources; and those tensions create favourable conditions for violent conflicts. This is also related to the scourge of environmental degradation, which is exacerbated by climate change and results in undesirable conditions, such as desertification. These forces increase the pressure on natural resources and increase the prospect of conflict

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and poverty among the pastoralist communities of the zone. In addition, the capacity of the local administration to mitigate these challenges is low. In addition to cyclic drought, the area is menaced by periodic outbreak of epidemics affecting livestock. The tsetse fly infestation along the banks of the Omo River, which otherwise provides grazing pasture to livestock during the dry season, adds to the troubled plight of the agro-pastoralists. The demographic upsurge in the area aggravates this problem and further increases pressure on limited natural resource, presenting a challenge to the stability and development of the area. The disparity between the rapidly growing population and the finite production base exacerbates the prevailing vulnerability of the pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the zone. It is not by coincidence that many of the most marginalised ethnicities are suffering in serious conflict situations and a vicious cycle of poverty; there is a struggle for survival, and therefore a need to break out of the cycle and gain an economic advantage. Fighting grounds are often around the common grazing and watering points. Since many of the natural resources, such as rivers and forests or grazing areas, serve as boundaries and sources of valuable resources, minorities residing in such geographical locations are always vulnerable from acquisitive attacks. The scarcity of natural resources and related environmental stresses are implicated in the conflict cycle; from contributing to the outbreak and perpetuation of violence, to undermining the prospects for peace. In addition, the environment can fall victim to conflict, as direct and indirect environmental damage can lead to environmental risks and resource scarcity that threatens livelihoods, as well as security. Preliminary findings from a retrospective analysis of intrastate conflicts indicate that disagreements associated with natural resources are likely to relapse into violent conflict in a short period of time. Therefore, it is pertinent that peace building endeavours should aim to address natural resources-related issues and ensure sustainable resource management mechanisms are introduced. Conversely, resource-related issues can be important as potential pathways for cooperation, transformation and the consolidation of peace in communities in conflict. Natural resources and the environment can contribute to peace building through economic development and the generation of employment, while cooperation over the management of shared natural resources provides new

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opportunities for peace building. Additionally, economic development can bring better access to better social services, such as health and education facilities. Generally, integrating natural resources and environment issues into peace building is no longer an option - it is a security imperative. The following table shows the trends related to the necessary natural resources for the livelihood of the pastoralist and agro-pastoral ethnic groups in the zone.

Pastoralists’ perceptions on resource use dynamics Indicators

Trend Factors

Frequency of drought and famine

+

Shortage of rain

Land degradation

+

Due to overgrazing, drought and famine

Weed encroachments

+

Drought, cross-border livestock movement, and poor soil fertility

Expansion of livestock disease

+

Shortage of fodder, livestock movement, health services, and concentration of livestock around water points and rangeland

Expansion of human disease

+

Drought and limited health services

Population size

+

Due to economic, social and political values

Engagement with farming

+

Drought and loss of livestock asset

Private land ownerships

+

Drop outs from pastoralist, drought, conflict

Settlement

+

Drop outs and influence of development interventions

Wealth difference and social inequality

+

Between the majority (livestock owners) and minority (fishing, hunting and cropping)

Dependency on food aid

+

Drought and limited range of options

Drop outs from pastoralism

+

Drought and conflicts

Ethnic Conflicts

+

Economic, cultural and political factors

Land use conflicts

+

Pasture land, crop land and national parks

Mobility range of livestock

-

Limited space and conflicts

Pasture source

-

Drought, conflict area, crop land, bush encroachment, fire wood, and degradation

Water sources (human and livestock)

-

Drought, conflict, limited development

Livestock holding per household

-

Drought, disease, raiding, marriage

Livestock diversity per household

-

Drought, limited pasture, expansion of settlement

Per capita income

-

Drought and population increase

Power of local institutions

-

Replaced by political institutions, divide between old and young generation

Diversification of income sources

-

Poor infrastructure, marketing and security

KEY: + increasing trend - decreasing trend

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Cultural approach Pastoralists by and large survive on the basis of their own knowledge of the environment and how to manage it. Any attempts to improve their situation must begin with an understanding and inclusion of this indigenous knowledge, and should be conducted through community participation. Culture encompasses all the knowledge, values, attitudes and behaviours that are shared by the communities. Aspects assist in coping with the various environmental factors, while other aspects are a hindrance to progress in socio-economic development and the prevalence of peace. Myths and beliefs, as well as age-old pessimistic perceptions of others, significantly influence the social consciousness and community interactions. Inter-ethnic conflict is associated with both individual and communal security matters. This is because individual acts can lead to a much larger ethnic conflict, often between traditionally rival groups. As well as individual acts resulting from, for example, a desire to increase social prestige, the inter-ethnic conflicts are considered as a means of ensuring the wellbeing of the ethnic group as an entity. The culture of retaliation also has a compounding effect and sustains conflict cycles in the area. Retaliatory acts receive positive reactions and are often-rewarded by the community, creating an incentive for the continuation of the practice. Contrastingly, there is the positive conflict resolution and peace building part of the cultures. Each ethnic group has traditional institutes led by elders that are directly involved in conflict prevention and management. These traditional institutes are effective in managing conflicts within their own ethnic groups – and also occasionally play a role in mediating settlements outside their community. Traditional peace making uses different techniques, such as intermarriages, jala (friendship) to resolve conflicts in a sustainable way. Cultural practices remain one of the principal factors that trigger inter-ethnic conflicts in the zone. Interventions that aim at creating sustainable results in peace building and development should take into consideration this crucial issue. In this regard, it is important to work to mitigate the effects of unwanted cultural elements that lead to conflict and act as a hindrance to development endeavours, as well as further strengthen the cultures of peace building, tolerance, cooperation, and togetherness. All ethnic groups have positive aspects in their culture that help peace building and development endeavours, as well as

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negatives aspects that trigger conflicts and hinder development. It is all about working on achieving a healthy balance. Therefore, it is important to have cultural approaches to conflict resolution and peace building, as, if they are successfully executed, they will result in sustainable outcomes with positive implications for peace and development. Cultural practices remain one of the principal factors that trigger inter-ethnic conflicts in the zone. Interventions that aim at creating sustainable results in peace building and development should take into consideration this crucial issue. In this regard, it is important to work to mitigate the effects of unwanted cultural elements that lead to conflict and act as a hindrance to development endeavours, as well as further strengthen the cultures of peace building, tolerance, cooperation, and togetherness. All ethnic groups have positive aspects in their culture that help peace building and development endeavours, as well as negatives aspects that trigger conflicts and hinder development. It is all about working on achieving a healthy balance. Therefore, it is important to have cultural approaches to conflict resolution and peace building, as, if they are successfully executed, they will result in sustainable outcomes with positive implications for peace and development.

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CHAPTER 5 Lessons to be learned

Peace building activities over the last decade have demonstrated that it is possible to significantly reduce incidents of violent conflict between the different ethnic groups of the South Omo. Of particular importance have been EPaRDA’s pioneering, and successful, efforts at internal and cross-border conflict resolution and peace building. The joint 2005 DfID-funded effort between Oxfam GB, EPaRDA, and Kenyan NGO Riam Riam Turkana aimed at reducing conflict between the Kenyan Turkana and the Ethiopian Dassanech and Nyangatom demonstrated that successful peace building initiatives could be carried out across international borders. A variety of techniques were used to encourage peace, some more successful than others. Concerted peace building efforts in the zone are still in their infancy, and if the achievements of the past decade are to be consolidated and built upon, it is vital that the effective techniques are noted and used in future initiatives.

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Peace week, conferences and committees The organisation of conferences involving representatives of the warring parties has been one of the crucial overarching tools implemented by peace builders. An example of this came with the March 2002 Konso Peace Conference set up by EPaRDA to try and resolve the long-running disputes between the Hamer, Arbore and Borana. The exercise had an intrinsic merit in that it started constructive discussions between the three communities, while also involving other stakeholders, such as members of other ethnic groups, NGO members, and woreda and zonal administrators.

“

The organisation of conferences involving representatives of the warring parties has been one of the crucial overarching tools implemented by peace builders.

An important facet of the negotiations was the establishment of peace committees comprised of members of the conflicting groups and other stakeholders. These peace committees have played a vital role by taking practical actions such as returning stolen property and advising community members on the importance of maintaining peace. As with the Dassanech’s Libemuket Peace Committee established in 2006, the involvement of ex-conflict provokers in the committees has been a deliberate attempt to stimulate peace by increasing accountability for those previously involved in conflicts. The additional establishment of a peace patrolling committee comprised of members of five ethnic groups was also critical to establishing peaceful relations. All involved contributed a number of livestock to the patrol so they could feed themselves while carrying out their duty of enforcing a peace agreement. In this manner, the conference and the resulting peace committee had a significant effect on reducing conflict between the historic enemies. The initiatives have normally been arranged to complement existing peace mechanisms and ceremonies, as with the case with the traditional peace ceremony held at Lojira, Turmi in Hamer Woreda between the

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Hamer, Mursi, Nyangatom, Dassanech, Karo and Bena, which concluded efforts initiated by EPaRDA at a previous conference. Another successful innovation has been the introduction of an annual peace week where a diverse selection of representatives - elders, women and youth - from all ethnic groups were invited to attend an event. The purpose of this is to promote the cause of peace, even among those communities that may at that time not have a problem of conflict. The event also serves to increase interaction between the different ethnic groups.

Sharing resources, increasing contacts Closely associated to the organisation of peace conferences and the establishment of peace committees is the merit of simply increasing contact between communities that generally view each other as the enemy. Encouraging the joint use of resources has proved an effective way to do this. The increased familiarity involved in sharing educational or health services, or water or grazing resources, reduces the likelihood of conflict. When these arrangements are made, communities have realised that the benefits of cooperation outweigh those of aggression. An effective way to do this was demonstrated during the 2005 cross-border negotiations. The Kenyan NGO Riam Riam Turkana helped construct health centres and water resources to be shared between the three feuding communities. The shared interests, familiarity and trust this engendered proved an effective way to lower tensions. An extreme example of this dynamic came at the Teltele-Elkuni in Borana Zone, on April 28, 2002, which was held to attempt to resolve problems between the Hamer, Arbore and Borana. One Hamer woman was heard saying: “That’s really amazing; the Boranas are people like us.” This is an example of the effectiveness of altering the antagonistic mindsets that have built up over decades by bringing people together in face to face meetings. The desired consequence of this is regular interaction and peaceful co-habitation by the communities. If groups are living, farming and trading together they are less likely to be involved in violent conflicts. This is the thinking behind the May 2006 experience sharing visit to Arbore village of Hamer Woreda for 57 women (19 Borana, 20 Arbore, 18 Hamer).

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During the visit the women discussed conflict scenarios in their areas; the crisis caused by conflicts; the past and future role of women in conflicts; ways of strengthening the relationship among the women of the three ethnic groups; and ways to enhance peace building efforts in the communities. Intermarriage between Nyangatom and Dassanech is thought to have had an impact on reducing conflict between the two neighbours, and increasing marital links between the Turkana and Dassanech are also claimed to have had a peaceful influence. The marriage of a renowned Dassanech warrior, Lotikori, to a member of the Turkana demonstrates the possibilities for integration.

Cultural focus Related to this method of shifting attitudes are attempts to reduce the importance of cultural traits that can cause or exacerbate conflicts. By encouraging female involvement in the peace committees created during the 2005 peace conference and between the Turkana and the Ethiopian communities - as with the aforementioned 2003 experience sharing visit to an Arbore village - the participants were made aware of the harmful effects of the traditional dowry requirement of livestock. This highlighting of harmful cultural practices is also effectively accompanied by efforts to promote peace reinforcing traits. Drama clubs and peace crusaders are examples of methods that have been used to accentuate non-aggressive activities, such as peaceful songs.

Providing alternative livelihoods A major lesson to be learned from attempts at peace building and conflict resolution in the South Omo is the importance of providing alternative livelihoods for the participants. Even given the belligerent cultures that exist, and the long history of disputes arising over contested resources, the provision of better access to markets, irrigation schemes to improve agriculture, or the introduction of petty trading, for example, have resulted in a reduction of conflicts. This is because these efforts succeeded in raising incomes for the communities, so reducing the need for acquisitive measures to be taken against other groups that could instigate conflict. This was a lesson learned from the pioneering cross-border effort by EPaRDA and Oxfam GB in 2005 when they sought to build peace between the Kenyan Turkana and the Ethiopian Dassanech and Nyangatom. By funding and introducing development projects to the area, such as irrigation schemes for agriculture, the focus was taken away from the grudges that had been leading to

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conflicts. One of these activities was establishment of a small scale irrigation project for 160 households by the Libemuket Pastoralists’ Association near the Ethio-Kenyan border. The scheme not only improved incomes, but also increased trading opportunities, with Turkanas frequently visiting Dassanech kebeles to buy grain subsequent to the project.

Traditional irrigation site in Hamer Gola area

This approach, complemented by other practical measures, can also be seen with attempts to deal with the frequent flashpoints over access to fishing at Lake Turkana for the Kenyan Turkana and Ethiopian Dassanech by forming fishing committees. Extra boats were provided to prevent the raiding of each other’s vessels, nets were colour coded to make ownership clear and theft obvious, early warning mechanisms were strengthened to stop flare-ups, and training was provided to improve fishing skills. This combination of deterrents and alternatives proved successful in reducing incidents of conflict. Overall, the project achieved an estimated 65 percent reduction in violent incidents in the following three years.

Improving administration Recent experiences have demonstrated that political commitment, efficient resource allocation and capacity building at all levels of government are important factors in

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enhancing peace building efforts in the zone. Also, by agreeing on by-laws for the prosecution and handing over of criminals, participants at peace conferences have been able to establish a system for better arbitrating disputes. The deal struck at EPaRDA’s third peace conference between six groups (Hamer, Mursi,

EPaRDA-dug water hole in Dassanech

Nyangatom, Dassanech, Karo and Bena) to hand over criminals to the appropriate authorities exemplifies this tactic. Similarly, setting standard compensation levels, normally in terms of livestock, for misdemeanours was another useful tool for settling disputes on a number of occasions. On a broader administrative level, the basic nature of the economy in the area, and an accompanying lack of infrastructure, is a continuing problem in peace building. Efforts made so far have demonstrated that a commitment from government and developments partners to develop the area is crucial to improving socio-economic conditions, thus reducing the need for violent competition, and providing the communities with an alternative focus to existing disputes. The realisation has emerged that the governments’ previous strategy of deploying the military to deal reactively with conflicts is an insufficient level of involvement to bring about a sustainable peace.

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Preventing emergencies Action taken by the government and partners in an attempt to prevent floods are crucial measures to prevent worsening socio-economic conditions. The primary example of this was EPaRDA and Cordaid’s South Omo Flood Victims Rehabilitation Project that focused on rehabilitating the displaced flood victims of South Omo in 2006. The disaster killed 600 people and displaced half a million. Increasing flood preparedness in order to prevent similar future events is important, as the effect of the dislocation and socio-economic deprivation that would otherwise result is likely to lead to conflict. Similarly, the efforts by EPaRDA and partner, the Federal and Regional Pastoralist Community Development Program, to improve food security in a number of woredas were aimed at preventing the harsh economic circumstances that may lead communities to resort to raids into other groups’ territories.

The way ahead What now is needed is an even greater commitment from all stakeholders, and particularly government at all levels, to increase the amount and scope of peace building efforts. Governments have to provide the infrastructure to encourage economic development, which means increased political commitment and effective resource allocation. Accompanied by a continuing increase in economic activity, particularly relatively new growth areas, such as the service industry, this will have a long lasting impact on reducing conflict in the area. This is because peace building and increased economic activity have a mutually enhancing effect. A virtuous cycle is created, whereby, for example, peace leads to increased visits economic activity, which, because of the extra income generated, leads to a reduced incentive for hostilities, particularly acquisition-focused actions. Other important factors to consider are the need to widen peace building activities. It has been noted the South Omo Zone is part of a wider Karomoja cluster shared by all clans in Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia. Although its cross border efforts with the Turkana, Nyangatom and Dassanech were a success, it has been suggested that there is a need for the Toposa of Sudan to be involved in the negotiations as well to attempt to ensure a longer lasting reduction in conflict. The idea is that a failure to involve all actors may create disparities in levels of awareness and commitment to peace from groups in the wider cluster, leading to aggressive action by some members.

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The likelihood of large scale agricultural projects in the zone is something that needs to be addressed in terms of its effect on the local communities and their propensity to engage in conflicts with each other. Another similar factor is the inevitability of increased private sector involvement in the economy of the zone. Steps need to be taken to ensure that this activity is geared towards increasing the income of local communities, thus contributing positively towards reducing conflict rather than exacerbating problems by excluding local communities from the benefits of private enterprise. The increasing number of private tour operators visiting the area is an example. If conducted sensitively and with a broad perspective, these operations could bring benefits to the local communities, so improving incomes and reducing conflict. Unfortunately, currently complaints are often heard from the communities that they are being exploited by the operators and do not receive any benefit from the visits. It is important to note that the continuation and scaling up of successful techniques is necessary not only to deal with existing problems, but also to combat the effects of emerging factor that have the potential to cause future conflicts, such as the continuing spread of small arms, the commercialisation of cattle raiding, and increasing environmental degradation caused by, for example, the spread of the invasive and unproductive prosopis tree and climate change.

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Unpublished EPaRDA source documents Dr Zerihum Ambaye, Conflict Scanning in Kuraz and Hamer Woredas of South Omo Zone, EPaRDA, December 2004

Comprehensive Report of the First Pastoralist Community Peace Week Festival, in Turmi, Hamer Woreda of South Omo Zone, 8-9 May, 2009. Conflict Mitigation and Peace, Building in South Omo, 2009 EPaRDA’s Seven Years Endeavour, (2001-2007) Ethiopian side program of joint South Omo-Turkana conflict mitigation project. Presentation to Federal Ministry of Federal Affais. Proceedings of the Konso Karot Peace conference April 2002, 2002

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Bibliography 

EPaRDA Bulletin, Volume 1, Number 1, April 2009, EPaRDA, 2009

 Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, Third Livestock Development Project: Southern Omo Rangelands Development Project Ethiopia, 1991, Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, 1991  Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, Conference on Pastoralism in Ethiopia 4-6 February 1993, Ministry of Agriculture, 1993  Ayalew Gebre, Pastoralism Under Pressure: Land Alienation and Pastoral Transformation Among the Karrayu, 2001  Richard Hogg (ed.), Pastoralists, Ethnicity and the State in Ethiopia, HAAN Publishing London.  International Livestock Center for Africa, East Africa Pastoralism and anthropological perspective and development need; Papers Presented at the Conference, Nairobi, Kenya 22-26, August 1977, 1977, International Livestock Research Institute  Oxfam-GB and EPaRDA, Proceedings of The Ethio-Kenyan Cross Border Peace workshop, October 11/12 /2004, South Omo Zone, Jinka, Oxfam GB and EPaRDA, 2004  Oxfam GB, The Building Blocks to Pastoral Felt Needs, Oxam GB Initiatives in Pastoral Development in Ethiopia 2003-2008, Oxfam GB, 2009.  Pastoralism in South Omo: Towards an Integrated Development, EPaRDA, 2001  Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, Proceeding of the Third National Conference on Pastoral Development in Ethiopia, December 23-24, 2003 Addis Ababa, Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, 2003.  Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, Proceedings of the Round table on drought and famine in Pastoral regions of Ethiopia, December 23-24, 2002, Pastoralist Forum in Ethiopia, 2002  Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, Pastoralist Perpsectives of Powverty Reduction Strategy Program, Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, 2009. 

Aden Tekle, Pastoralism: The Best-Known but Least Understood Livelihood System in


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the Drylands, (unpublished).  The Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Council of Nationalities, Profile of the Different Ethnic Groups in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, September 2009.  Wright, G. and Czelusta, J. (2003) Mineral Resource and Economic Development, Stanford University.

WEBSITES  Inter Governmental Authority On Development, The Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism, http://www.cewarn.org  Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, http://www.southinvest. gov.et/potentialDebubOmo.htm  South Omo Zone Trade and Industry Department, http://www.debubomozoneti.gov. et/About_the_Zone.htm

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SOUTH OMO

EPaRDA Tel: 251-11-65-10-507 P.O.BOX: 30807 ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA eparda@ethionet.et

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