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The Role of Blessing and Cursing in Traditional Conflict Resolution Mechanism among the Hadiya People, Southern Ethiopia

Daniel Handino, Gizaw Bekele
PanAfrican Journal of Governance and Development (PJGD) , Volume 1, pp 82-99; doi:10.46404/panjogov.v1i2.2334

Abstract: Hadiya people have maintained their indigenous mechanisms of governance system known as “Seera”. This article addresses the role of blessing and cursing in conflict resolution among the Hadiya people. To achieve this objective, a qualitative method with an exploratory study design was employed. A total of 25, purposively selected, key informants have taken part as a primary source for this study. Besides, secondary sources have been used to substantiate data obtained from the primary sources. The major findings were that Hadiya traditional institutions have been playing a significant role to solve different local conflicts where the practices of blessing and cursing are very important enforcing tools that elders use to easily approach the individuals or groups in conflict, to investigate crimes which are committed in the absence of eye witness. Speaking truth is an essential principle that is expected from the disputants and the elders who manage the resolution process to save oneself from the curse. Men and women have a significant role and mostly every meeting begins and ends with blessing and cursing. Cursing is implicit in every day but it takes place on the last day if the suspect does not reveal the truth about the case. Concerning the link, the FDRE constitution recognized the preservation of cultures and practices of each society within its indigenous institutions. The similarity between the formal and informal is also found as in both institutions the witness begins by swearing an oath which is a part of the cursing on oneself if he or she lies or tries to falsify the truth related to the case. Lastly, the practices of blessing and cursing have been affected by different factors like individual differences over the decisions of elders or negative attitudes towards the value of the practice; sometimes the corrupt behavior of some elders. Awareness creations for youth concerning elders’ honor and value, and their roles in conflict resolution and for elders, on the other, about the importance of their work and the disadvantages of malpractices are part of the recommendation.
Keywords: Behavior / conflict / indigenous / elders / witness / Hadiya / Blessing and Cursing / practices of blessing

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