African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 381

Full Length Research Paper

The value of indigenous social knowledge* in managing intra and inter-group conflicts: Experience from South East Tigray, Ethiopia

Abrha Tesfay Asmerom
  • Abrha Tesfay Asmerom
  • Department of Political Science and Strategic Studies, Mekelle University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 04 March 2016
  •  Accepted: 01 September 2016
  •  Published: 31 August 2017


This article portrays the importance of home-grown cultural values and institutions in addressing intra and inter-group conflicts in South East Tigray, Ethiopia with particular reference to Wejerat community. The paper draws that indigenous social institutions in the community provide an opportunity to maintain peace, justice, order and security within and outside the community with minimum cost by the application of social knowledge. It promotes social bond, peaceful co-existence and enactment of order at family, intra and inter-communal level. The paper yet examines that the community placed more focus on the cultural system presided over by various sections of the society like a council of elders, clergy men, women, etc; for dispute or conflict settlement and justice dispensation including homicide. It concludes that some social institutions are intact while some are nearly disappearing due to the influence of socio-cultural and political dynamics. The intact indigenous social institutions irrespective of their limitations such as Debarte (institution of women), Demer Ahiwat (at family level up to 7th line), the church and Gereb (usually at inter-group level) that are applied by the Wejerat community offer great prospect for peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationships at intra and inter-group level in pre and post-conflict periods than the modern technique of dispute resolution in law courts, particularly in areas where government oversight is weak and ineffective.  


Key words: Indigenous social knowledge, Gereb, Debarte, Kanchi system, Demer Wejerat.