Original Research

Dispute resolution mechanisms among the Afar People of Ethiopia and their contribution to the Development Process

Kinfe Abraha Gebre-Egziabher
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 10, No 4 | a94 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v10i4.94 | © 2014 Kinfe Abraha Gebre-Egziabher | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 February 2016 | Published: 30 December 2014

About the author(s)

Kinfe Abraha Gebre-Egziabher, Institute of Population Studies, Mekelle University, Ethiopia

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Disputes are one of the major factors negatively affecting the development process of any nation. They divert resources that could otherwise be used productively; hence, there appears to be general agreement on their undesirability (Alexander 2005). Dispute- resolution practices and peace-building mechanisms remain problematic for most societies in the world including those in Africa, as most of them are trying to imitate Western modalities instead of using their own indigenous knowledge systems and skills. The dispute-resolution practices of the ancient Ethiopians in have been established for many thousands of years, and have been used to prevent loss of life and the destruction of property. This paper reveals that the dispute-resolution practices of the Afar people of Ethiopia significantly contributed to the development process. The article reveals that it is difficult to attain development without developing dispute resolution practices and it also shows that it is difficult, though not impossible, to resolve disputes without assuring development by eliminating poverty. Thus, it concludes that the ancient Aksumite, which was one of the first four great civilizations on earth, must have developed a unique type of dispute resolution practices that enabled Ethiopia of that time to be one of the leading countries in the globe during that time. No doubt every nation has its own indigenous dispute-resolution practices. It is thus possible to resolve disputes in by using indigenous knowledge systems, instead of using Western modalities. In this paper, the dispute-resolution practices of the Afar people of Ethiopia are discussed.


Afar; dispute resolution; Ethiopia; Horn of Africa; indigenous knowledge; peace building; stability


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