Ethiopia: Ministry Upholds Traditional Reconciliation Mechanisms

Incorporating traditional reconciliation mechanisms into the justice system helps establish lasting peace and augment democratization process, said the Ministry of Peace (MoP).

Speaking at a panel discussion organized under the theme 'Reconciliation for Ethiopia', MoP State Minister, Frealem Shibabaw, said the panel discussion is aimed at utilizing the potential of the traditional reconciliation mechanisms in building peace.

In this regard, the ministry is working with religious institutions, stakeholders, the community, universities and other stakeholders to execute the traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, she added.

She reminded that as Ethiopia's constitution allows the implementation of traditions which are in line with its principles, the ministry is working to establish structural institution which provides reconciliation services by combining the traditional and modern mechanisms.

Samuel Tefera (PhD), Advisor to the Minister of MoP, on his part said that in countries like Ethiopia with multifarious dispute resolution traditions, reconciliation remains the most effective dispute settlement mechanism as it enhances the democratization process.

"Since Ethiopians need to pursue peace through reconciliation and peace starts from individual and moves to the community and country level, everyone needs to act as peace ambassador," said Samuel.

He noted that the traditional mechanisms are effective in such a way that they eliminate the enmity between the adversaries whereas the modern legal system focuses on punishing the wrongdoer.

Keyredin Tezera (PhD), Anthropologist and Diversity Researcher, told The Ethiopian Herald that various verses of Hadith and Quran presents reconciliation as virtue while they reprobate revenge.

Both holy books state that Allah did not listen to prayers of people who hold grudges.

As both Holy Bible and Holy Quran claim forgiveness and reconciliation as the principal pillar of their religious doctrine, thus, the MoP is implementing a reconciliation mechanism involving religious leaders is crucial, said Keyredin. The researcher indicated that Gurage, Silte,

Somalia, and Afar uses Quran verses while reconciling since it facilitates the process; he stressed the importance of involving the youth in the reconciliation process.

The Gome - Gamo's traditional reconciliation tradition is an archetype of effective traditional reconciliation and the tradition disallows any form of revenge and promotes forgiveness and reconciliation.

As to Gome - meaning sin, sinful nature causes instability, poverty, infertility, and destruction to the doer, learnt from the panel discussion, he added.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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