Dynamics of Inter-Ethnic Relations, Peaceful Co-Existence, Conflicts, and Peace Building Mechanisms Between the Gumuz and Non-Gumuz Communities (1961-1974)

Wondim Tiruneh Zeleke


Scholars believe that there is difficulty of getting a clear definition for ethnicity due to the haziness of the objective and subjective criteria involved in the determination of members of the group. Usually, ethnicity shows grouping based on primordial ties like origin, language, culture, history, territory etc which are based on objectively determined factors. A person who does not fulfill these factors but who based on his subjective interests demands to be identified with a particular ethnic group may face problems if the group does not accept him. And inability to get a clear definition of ethnicity has even led to a tendency of avoidance approach to the search for definition (Hizkias, 2001: 110). Since the arrival of the highlanders in to the Gumuz region, it had been raven by ethnic conflicts between the indigenous tribes and settler non-tribal communities. The domination of business establishments, labor force and other employment opportunities by settlers who are mainly economic migrants from neighboring highlands  and other parts of Ethiopia resulted in anxiousness among the native locals, resulting in three ethnic riots between indigenous tribes and settler non-tribal communities. By the turn of the twentieth century the state witnessed a relative change in the nature of relations between the ethnic communities. While the relations between the indigenous tribes and settler communities have relatively improved, ethnic tensions shifted to the indigenous tribes where intermittent conflict is still intensifying. However, the Gumuz of Matakal is renowned for their traditional conflict management institutions that play important role in harmonizing their relations with the neighboring “ethnic” group such as the Amhara, Agew and Oromo. However, ironically, spirals of conflicts that have continued to rent the region’s peace and stability in general and Mandura and Dibaţe Waradas of Matakal Zone in particular. These conflicts differ in their causes, nature, intensity, frequency; yet the peculiarities are often glossed over and depicted as typical inter ethnic conflicts between the highlanders or “settlers” on one side and the “indigenous “people on the other.

Keywords: Peaceful Co-Existence, Mangima, Resolutions.

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