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Erasmus Universiteit (2008)

Local conflicts between Somali and Oromo people in the context of political decentralization in Ethiopia : Comparative case study on Ma’eso and Babile Districts

Liban, M.O.

Titre : Local conflicts between Somali and Oromo people in the context of political decentralization in Ethiopia : Comparative case study on Ma’eso and Babile Districts

Auteur : Liban, M.O.

Université de soutenance : Erasmus Universiteit

Grade : Master of Arts in Development Studies 2008

Descriptif
The paper addresses local conflicts between Somali and Oromo people in the context of resent state political and structural changes in Ethiopia. The aim is to explore the underlying causes of conflicts and the intervention mechanisms used under firmly centralized governance system, and the impact of 1991 ethnically-based decentralization system on the local conflicts between Somali and Oromo communities along the border between the two states. The paper argues that the 1991 decentralization system have aggravated the already existed local resource use conflicts between different pastoral and agro-pastoral Somali and Oromo communities. There has been a long history of cultural and linguistic integrations between these two groups who live in geographically mixed settings. There has also been an ongoing cycle of resource conflicts mainly created by the physical mobility of pastoralist in search of water and pasture. This created a fierce competition over land and water sources live in an environment known to endemic poverty, recurrent droughts, and where these vital resources are scarce. In resent times however, the existed local resource conflicts have taken political dimensions mainly due to the state political and structural changes in the country. The 1991 state political and structural changes in the country demanded the formation of ethnically-based regional states in previously non ethnic-based provincial administrations ruled by highly centralized governments in the past. Consequently, the question of demarcating the boundary between culturally and geographically mixed neighboring societies like Somali and Oromo has resulted in disagreements and fresh disputes between the newly formed regional states. The paper examines the emerging challenges of the local conflicts between Somali and Oromo people along the border between the two states. Especial emphasis is given to the cases of Ma’eso and Babile districts. In doing so, the paper addresses issues such as causes, consequences and resolution mechanism used during Derg regime and under the current EPRDF led government.

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