BAHIR DAR UNIVERSITY
FACULITY OF SOCIAL SCINCE
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCINCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
A THESIS SUBMITTED TO DEPARTMENT OFPOLITICAL SCINCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (CIVIC AND ETHICS PROGRAM) ON THE TITLE THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS IN RURAL LAND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN ANRS: THE CASE OF ESTIE WOREDA SOUTH GONDAR ZONE
BY: SETIE KASSIE
ADVISOR : BELACHEW GETENET(Dr)
The study has attempted to assess the role of local government institutions in rural land conflict management in Estie woreda, south Gondar Zone, ANRS. The general objective of the study is to assess the role of local government Institutions in rural land conflict management. Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches were used for the study by making one is in support of the other. The research design which was used for this study was case study. In terms of sampling method mostly purposive sampling in support of proportional sampling was implemented. Four kebeles were purposefully selected with high prevalence of rural land conflict which represents around 11% of the total kebeles in the Woreda. 144 households were also selected purposefully with proportional representation each kebele by considering the sex representation too. Regarding to data gathering tools both quantitative and qualitative data gathering tools were employed. Household survey was the tools used to gather quantitative data; focus group discussion and interview were also employed to collect the qualitative data. The collected data also analyzed by both quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques. The quantitative data are interpreted through using SPSS version 16.0 software while qualitative data were interpreted qualitatively. The study shows that the unclear land entitlement procedure, land tenure insecurity and government land appropriation schemes are some of the serious causes of conflict. Moreover, inheritance conflict, boundary conflict and conflict over vacated land (communal land) were the types of conflict repeatedly happened in the study area. Regarding to the conflict resolution mechanism, it was found that most of the land cases are managed formally even though the interest of the community was the informal or the customary one as it reduces time and money, maintains the relationship of the party, and it is believed by the rural community that the customary one is a win-win to both parties. The structures of local government institutions are not supportive enough to the rural community in terms of reaching the poor and the marginalized group which makes them to manage rural land conflict. The government structure was found weak, non-participative, biased to the rich and not inclusive. The officials and personnel working on the institutions were lack skill of arbitration, have no experience and commitment, biased and corrupted. Generally the institutions lack accountability and transparency. Unclear land entitlement procedures, lack of skilled man power, gap in enforcement of land laws, unclear land provision schemes by the government, and low coverage of the local government institutions are the major challenges of the local land governance that possibly could result in rural land conflicts. Therefore, to increase the role of local government institutions in rural land conflict management, the institutions should increase their coverage being equipped it with educated, capable, experienced and motivated manpower through providing formal and informal trainings. Customary way of conflict management should be considered in the legal conflict management systems to easily manage conflicts before cases are filed in the legal system. This reduces time, money and other resource to the community with a significant level. Hence, it is also necessary to empower and appreciate the customary conflict resolution mechanisms.
INTRODUCTIONBackground of the studyThree-quarters of the world’s population are located in rural areas (USAID, 2005). These peoples are depending directly and indirectly on agriculture and agriculture-related activities for their food and in come. In other words, billions of people are depends on land for sustenance. Land is not only crucial for rural people who have their livelihood based in agriculture, but also it is a basis of wealth and power.
As a result of the rising of global population, available land per individual shrinks continuously aggravates the presence of conflict. Consequently, resource based conflicts, especially over rights of access to land and land use, are therefore increasing in frequency and intensity (Yamano and Deininger, 2005). They also describes the conflict which is begin based on land use is transferred to prolonged conflicts. In situations where there is protracted land use conflict, access to land for agricultural production is reduced thereby leading to shortage in production and availability of food. Some times in different cases and situations the land conflict could change to a prolonged war between different groups which had a diversified effect on different parts of the society (Ibid). Alawede strengthen this idea, according to him, the land conflict become escalated to prolonged war and where there is escalation of land use conflicts into armed conflicts or open warfare, women become widowed and children become orphaned, and many others displaced. People no longer have tenure security and this badly affects production and availability of food (Alawede, 2013).
Land is at the center of social, economic and political life in most of African countries (USAID, 2009) and, it is also seen as an important economic asset and source of livelihoods that is closely linked to community identity, history and culture. Holding of land in most societies is an indication for the wealth status of a society and governments of a specific country (Zwan, 2010, cited in Ashenafi 2013). From the power it gives to owners in terms of economic wealth and its ability to grant access to land, Rural Communities can readily mobilize around land issues, making land as their central agenda (UNDP, 2008). Moreover, Land issues readily lead themselves to conflict.
Land is a vital resource in Ethiopia, where the country’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. About 85% of the country population is primarily depending on using their labor and land resources to meet their welfare needs. Smallholder farmers produce 90-95% of the country’s cereals, pulses and oilseeds and form the backbone of the agricultural sector (Tigistu, 2011). Due to this reason, land tenure insecurity and related disputes and grievances are known to have been chronic problems of socio-political and legal dimensions, in Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia, formal as well as informal dispute resolution institutions can have a big impact on reducing land-related conflicts. In the case of Ethiopia, rural land dispute resolution falls within the jurisdiction of social and regular courts and institutions which are organize to administer the land issue. But, in the new rural land administration and use proclamation of 2017 social courts have no role in the rural land conflict resolution mechanism. According to article 52 of the 2017 rural land administration and use proclamation land conflict should be resolved through negotiation between the conflicting parties and if it is not solved by them the jurisdiction of giving final decision is in the hands of the legal courts. The RLAU office at Woreda and kebele level and the Rural Land Administration and Use Committees had a power and function of administering rural land and managining conflict concerning to rural land.
According to the report of MoA, the local government institutions have faced different challenges in administering the land issues. The existing low standards of education and the scarcity of local trained manpower in rural communities, it is little wonder that the former social courts, the current kebele land administration and use committee are hardly staffed with judges of formal education and legal background, let alone any amount of professional training (MoA, 2012). The officials who work in the office of RLAU at woreda and kebele level also lacks a skill of arbitration and conflict management skill which challenges the local government institutions in rural land conflict management (Bell, 2007).
Therefore, since land is a great source of conflict in Ethiopia, the researcher going to assess the roles of local government institutions in land conflict managements in Estie woreda. Estie woreda is located in Amhara regional state south Gondar zone which almost all the peoples of the woreda are leading their lives through agriculture.
Statement of the problemSince land resources are finite within a jurisdiction, control over land rights is a means of accumulating and dispensing political and economic power and privilege through patronage, nepotism and corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa (Yamano, 2005). As a result, it is increasingly becoming a source of conflicts as there is often competition between stakeholders over access to and use of the resources. Neighbors dispute the position of their boundary, with both claiming the land. Farmers and pastoralists compete to use the same land (Palmer, D. et.al, 2009). Consequently, competition over access and use of land may breed a conflict across individuals and groups of a community. Alongside this, when symbolically or emotionally important land or property is at issue, chances of conflict and violence increase significantly (USAID, 2005). Thus, addressing land conflict issues are critical to improving governance at the specific area (Kironde, 2009).
The government of Ethiopia has taken different measures in order to reduce and prevent the land conflict. Different proclamations are proclaimed at federal level. Land administration and use proclamation, which was promulgated in 1997 and revised in 2005, is one of the policy measures taken by the federal government. This proclamation provides an umbrella framework for regional states to enact rural land administration laws. Based on the proclamation of the federal government, the regional governments have enacted their own proclamation on rural land administration and use in accordance with the situation of the regional states. Among the nine regional sates, the Amhara regional state has promulgated land proclamation (Tigistu, 2011). Different proclamations are promulgated concerning to rural land administration and conflict resolutions regarding to rural land use conflict. For example, in 2017 the proclamation No.252/ 2017 provides for the various aspects of rural land use including dispute resolutions. In this proclamation, for example, Article 52 declares that alternative mechanism of conflict resolution (negotiation and arbitration) and legal court system should apply to the resolution of rural land related disputes. According to this proclamation if rural land dispute is happened, in the first phase the conflicting parties should handle through discussion, it is impossible the arbitrators should engage based on their consensus lastly it may take to the formal courts.
For the implementation of the proclamation, different institutions have been established from the regional to the kebele levels. The institution, which has established to promulgate policy and administer the rural land at regional level, is The Rural Land Administration and Use Bureau (RLAUB). The proclamation has also proclaimed to establish the branch office of RLAUB at woreda. The woreda branch office has responsibilities of establishing Kebele and Sub kebele Rural Land Administration committee, supervising the activities of the committee, making sure that Kebele and sub-kebele Land Administration and Use committee are empowered with the appropriate trainings and the proper recording and handling of data related to land use and administration ( ANRS proclamation, 2017). In addition to the law making and executive institutions, there are also formal and quasi formal judicial institutions which are responsible to manage and resolve rural land conflict. These judicial institutions are established from the regional high court to kebele social court. The Woreda courts are being the first formal courts to be handle rural land related disputes.
Different researches were conducted by different researchers on rural land issues. Berhanu (2009) conducted the research on the effect of Rural Land Certification and Land Tenure Security. According to his research findings, the present land administration did not reduce farm boundary dispute (Berhanu 2009). Other previous researches (Gizachew, 2006; Getaneh, 2006; Solomon, 2006) also concerned mainly on land certifications and registrations. Most of them agreed that the land tenure and administration system with the certification process has not played a significant role in avoiding or resolving Rural Land conflict, while the certification process aggravates the conflict in researched areas.
Other studies have also given emphasis for the role of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms in resolving rural land conflict. The previous studies are focused on mainly about the land registration, administration and certification process and its effect on rural land administration and about traditional conflict resolution mechanisms in resolving rural land conflict. Scant attentions have been given to the role of formal institutions in alleviating land related conflict. Without the proper implementation of the designed proclamations and regulations which are promulgated to administer land, the local government institutions are not effective in managing the land tenure system and managing conflict. But, the role of the government institutions in land conflict management is not studied further. Thus, this study is motivated to assess the role of local government institutions in alleviating land conflict management in Estie Woreda. 1.3 Objectives of the studyGeneral objective
The general objective of the study is to assess the role of local government Institutions in land conflict management in Estie Woreda, South Gondar Zone.
Specifically, the study aimed to:
Assess the extent of farm land conflict in East Estie Woreda Assess the role of local government institutions in conflict management.
Identify the challenges of local government institutions in discharging their responsibilities.
The study was going to answer the following basic questions:
? What is the extent of farm land conflict in the study area?
? How do local government institutions handle rural land conflict?
? What are the main challenges that have been faced the local government institutions in discharging responsibilities?
1.5 Significant of the study
This study had offer the necessary information to the local officers and executers on the extent of rural land conflict and challenges of managing rural land conflict in Estie woreda. It also provides additional information to other researchers and inspires them to conduct further studies on such related land issues.
1.5 Scope of the studyThe Geographical scope of this research is Estie Woreda of South Gondar Zone in Amhara Regional state, therefore, the findings and conclusions forwarding in the research may not be represent or correspond to other woredas of the region or may not give the picture for other region.
In terms of content, the study was emphasizing on the government institutions in managing the rural land conflict. Local government institutions that have been considered the land administration and use offices at Woreda and kebele levels, the woreda court (first instance court). The issue scope of this research was also focuses on the rural land conflict management. 1.6 Organization of the StudyThe study was organized in five chapters. The first chapter was discuss on the introduction of the study. Under the introduction, background of the study, statement of the problem, the objectives and significance as well as its scope of the study are explained. The second chapter presents the review of related literature. This chapter discusses institutional problems, the experience of different countries in managing rural land conflict as well as the experience of different regions in Ethiopia. Besides, the chapter looks into rural land dispute mechanisms across various jurisdictions under the broad category of judicial/formal and informal dispute resolution mechanisms. The third chapter will also assesses research design, sampling mechanism and the method of analysis which employed for this research. The fourth chapter will include the results and discussion of the study. The fifth chapter is that the summery, conclusion and recommendation. After the summary and the conclusions are written the possible recommendations will be forwarded by the researcher based on the findings of the study.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITRATURES
Defining land conflicts
A conflict, as defined by sociologists, is a social fact in which at least two parties are involved and whose origins have differences either in interests or in the social position of the parties (Imbusch 1999). Consequently, a land conflict can be defined as a social fact in which at least two parties are involved, the roots of which are different interests over the property rights to land: the right to use the land, to manage the land, to generate an income from the land, to exclude others from the land, to transfer it and the right to compensation for it. A land conflict, therefore, can be understood as a misuse, restriction or dispute over property rights to land (Wehrmann 2005). Land conflicts defined as such can be aggravated if the social positions of the parties involved differ greatly.
Although we generally experience conflict as something destructive, they nevertheless perform positive functions. Sociological conflict theories underline the importance of social conflict for social change (Bonacker 1996). Land conflicts, too, can become engines of change if they lead to massive protest and consequent changes in policies and their implementation. It is therefore important to deal with land conflicts in a constructive manner, instead of ignoring them or simply trying to stop them. In any event, conflict theorists agree that conflict is unavoidable for any society:
“Conflict is an inevitable aspect of human interaction, an unavoidable concomitant of choices and decisions. … Conflict can be prevented on some occasions and managed on others, but resolved only if the term is taken to mean the satisfaction of apparent demands rather than the total eradication of underlying sentiments, memories, and interests. Only time really resolves conflicts, and even the wounds it heals leave their scars for future reference. But short of such ultimate healing, much can be done to reduce conflict and thereby release needed energies for more productive tasks” (ZARTMAN 1991: 299).
Land may be viewed from different perspectives. Some may think of it as the actual space in which people live and work; some may think of it as a set of real property rights; some may see it as an economic commodity; other may see it as a part of nation-hood and their cultural heritage. From whatever perspective, it is a resource that must be carefully managed for the benefit of future generation (UN- ECE, 2004:ix). According to this document, the information infrastructure that supports this management is known as Land administration.
Many literatures try to define land administration with varied scopes. According to UN-ECE, 1996 Cited in Yigremew (2007), land administration is the process of determining, recording and disseminating information about the tenure, value and use of land when implementing land management policies. As to the guidelines on real property units of UN-ECE (2004:5), land administration simply is the management of information about the ownership, value or use of land and its associated resources.
Another definition is that land administration is “the regulatory framework, institutional arrangements, systems and processes that encompass the determination, allocation, administration and information concerning land. It includes the determination and conditions of approved use of land, the adjudication of rights and their registration via titling, the recording of land transaction, and the estimation of value and taxes based on land and property” (Lyons and Chandra 2001 cited in Getahun, 2008). Based on this definition, land administration has a wider scope which comprised a number of different tasks, roles, and responsibilities in accomplishing issues related to land. Among those indicated key components, land administration involves a regulatory framework, institutional arrangement, adjudication of rights in land, organization of land information concerning holding rights, land value or land use and above all the updating of records.
According to Getahun (2008:12), the components of land administration are categorized in to three:
The registration of holding rights and maintaining the registered data up-to-date. This component is believed to be decisive for development and offers a base for other components, generating information concerning ownership, holding rights, value and use of land for disseminating to users.
Regulating restrictions of land use or unlawful utilization of the land against specified in the law.
Land valuation and taxation
When we come to Ethiopia, particularly as the Amhara region’s recent version of land law, proclamation No. 252/2017, Part one number two defines “”Rural Land Administration” means the process whereby rural landholding right is provided, guarantee is secured, the rent and lease value of land is estimated, the land use plan is implemented, disputes arising between land users are resolved and obligations are enforced as well as data is distributed to users being collected and analyzed concerning the above indicated issues.” (ANRS, 2017:5). This definition which is applicable only to rural land has incorporated the basic components of land administration such as the adjudication of rights in land and dispute resolution mechanisms, the regulatory aspect-controlling land use and reinforcement of obligations to put them in to effect, the task of collecting, organizing and disseminating land information to various users, administration of land rights and ensure their security.
Land administration encompasses a range of functions that ensure proper management of rights, restrictions and responsibilities in relation to property, land and natural resources. According to Tesfaye (2006:273), these functions include the areas of land tenure (security and transferring rights in land), land value (valuation and taxation of land and properties); land use (planning and control of the use of land and natural resources); and land development (utilities, infrastructure, construction planning, permits, and implementation). These functions are based on and are supported by appropriate land information system (Ibid, 273). In the document of the UN-ECE, it is also stated that the function of a land administration system is to record, maintain and make available information that can create security of tenure and support the land market (UN-ECE, 2004:5).
Moreover, the social and economic benefits of good land administration as it is spelled out in UN-ECE 2005b cited in Marquardt (2006:13-16) includes: facilitating private land ownership and security of tenure; securing private rights in land; recording public rights in land; developing a secure financial sector; providing a basis for land taxation; and providing land information as a basis for land management.
Understanding the above stated roles and benefits, scores of developing countries have embarked upon a program of establishing land administration systems and undertaking systematic rural land titling, involving land rights adjudication, registration, cadastral surveying and titling (Solomon, 2006:39). But many land administration and land titling projects lose sight of the main purpose of the exercise and concentrate on the technical aspects such as surveying, mapping and preparation of and issuing titles (Ibid, 39). Land administration and titling are not about the sophistication of these activities nor are the technical aspects end themselves. “Land administration & titling are about protecting land rights adequately and permitting those rights to be transferable efficiently, i.e., simply, quickly, securely and at a low cost and maintaining the integrity of the cadaster by continuous updating of transactions in land rights as they occur” (Williamson 2000 cited in Solomon, 2006:39). The success of a land administration and titling program is, therefore, the extent to which it fulfills those set of purposes not the number of land title it issues, notwithstanding that these numbers may be one of the indicator of successful implementation.
Whatever the level, a land administration agency ideally demands good governance, adequate resource, culturally sensitive approach, equity, quality and commitment. If these requirements are available, land administration development can meet its objectives. To the contrary, land administration becomes impracticable and will significantly disrupt sustainable development where there exists uncertainty in governance, inadequate resource, low legality, insensitive approaches, excessive control and lack of commitment (Torhonen 2003 cited in Getahun, 2008).
Conflict management is an effort to contain violent conflict, reduce the level of violence, or engage parties in a process to settle the conflict. It is the positive and constructive handling of difference and divergence (Miall, 2004). The term conflict management has come into frequent use in connection with the local governance. The local government institutions and the people living at this level face varieties of conflicts in their day to day affairs. The identification, classification and resolution of these conflicts are very important at this stage if political development along with other kind of development is to take place (D. Todorovski, 2011 cited in Ashenafi, 2013). Thus proper local land governance is critical for identifying the main sources of these conflicts in order to have an effective and efficient rural land conflict management (Khanal, 2002).
Land conflict management had been given less focus even though there are increasing incidences of land conflicts at local level (FAO, 2007). Previous studies on this topic have also been limited to some specific occurrences that are related to large-scale civil strife or politically motivated conflicts (Deininger and Castagnini, 2005). A recent study in Ethiopia, however, shows that rural households experience small-scale land conflicts with relatives, neighbors, landlords, or local governments, and that such small-scale conflicts may have significant impacts on their agricultural productivity (Yamano, 2005). There are two types of land conflict management methods: the formal/legal and the informal/customary methods, and the researcher took these methods from the FAO (2007) hand book as the main benchmarks to assess the land conflict management in the area.
Theories on the causes of Dispute/ Conflict
Different scholars came with different theories and models related to occurring land dispute/ conflict. The causes of land dispute /conflict are numerous and complex. The theories are advance to simplify the causes by looking at them in categories. The social conflict theory, neo-Malthus theory, human need theory and economic theory are some of the theories which describe the nature and causes of conflict. The central arguments of these theories are discusses in the following section.
Social Conflict Theory
Social conflict theory is a Marxist based social theory, which argues that individuals and groups (social class) with in society interact, based on conflict rather than consensus. Social conflict theory seeks to scientifically explain the general forms of conflict in society in terms of how conflict starts, varies, and the effects it brings. From Marxism point of view social class and inequality emerges because the social structure based on conflict and contradictions. Contradictions in interests and conflict over scarce resources between groups are the foundation of social society (Engels & Marx, 1848). The higher class will try to maintain their privileges, power, status and social position and therefore try to influence politics, education, and other institutions to protect and limit access to their forms of capital and resources. Whereas the lower class in contradiction to the higher class has very different interests.
They do not have specific forms of capital that they need to protect. All they are interested in is in gaining access to the resources and capital of the higher class. Karl Marx conceives largely associated conflict with the economic factor i.e., he argues that conflict could be emerged between two groups: between the bourgeoisies (who own the means of production and powerful) and the proletariat (who are working for their masters bourgeoisies and less powerful). The dynamic tension between the two classes resulted in the overthrow of dominants by dominated units and the tensions will ends up with the formation of communist system where there is no tension exist Dahrendorf (cited in Zinn & Eitzen, 1991). Another Marxist theorist Ralf Dahrendorf added additional ideas and viewed conflict as not only a mere economic factor rather as an ever-present phenomenon, occurs because of other aspects of social organization. Depending on power relation, he divided the population into haves’ and have-not’. In social organization, power is distribute unequally between haves and have-nots, there may have always a situation in every society the haves will be in conflict with the have-nots. Hence, to Dahrendorf (cited in Zinn & Eitzen, 1991), conflict is endemic to social organization. Unlike Marx, Dahrendorf views conflict as an unending class struggle between authority figures and their subordinates that never end, but merely temporarily regulated. He criticized Marx for his mere affirmations of the origin of conflict as the repression of the powerless by powerful and indicating the cures the overthrow of the owner of the means of production by the workers/powerless. Dahrendorf (cited in Henkin & Singleton 1984) proves that conflict caused by many factors, irrespective of the political and economic system. Thus, the special emphasis on the two debates provided the researcher with an interesting theoretical insight for examining the causes for many disputes in societies as individuals strive in getting better life though the available scarce resources, related to the researchers’ topic which is to assess the causes of land disputes between farmers in the research area.
Neo-Malthusian Theory The development of Neo-Malthusian theorists in the late 1960s and early 1970s, uphold that, rapid population growth will lead to per capita scarcity of natural resources like cropland, and increases the risk of violent conflict over scarce resources. Thomas Malthus (1798), in his theory on population dynamics and its relationship with the availability of resource, conflict occurs due to unbalance relationship between population and resource, world population dramatically increases whereas resources degraded. In the words of Tietenberg (1996) when society’s demand for resources suddenly exceeds their availability, rather than anticipating a smooth transition to a steady state system will overshoot the resource base precipitating a collapse. Kahl (2002) has further moderated the Neo-Malthusian theory. He argued that conflict might also arise under condition of state exploitation when powerful elites exploit using scarcities and corresponding grievances in order to consolidate power. When the Estie woreda, land dispute causes; are seen in the lens of this theory, they have some truths with the assumption of the theory. In Ethiopia during feudalism, the rich (the landlords) are using the state institution as an instrument to exploit the poor (tenants). Thus, the resource extraction to small group of elites; who controls the state land, such exploitive system when the tenants were exploited by the landlords in the past (Hussen, 2004). Despite of this, the current government stipulated in article 40(3) of the FDRE constitution, nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia along with state are granted an ownership right over rural land and other natural resources of the nation. During the transition of feudalism to democratic, and until then, farmers claim to ownership right over rural land. Therefore, this leads to land dispute between farmers.
Human Needs Theory
According to Mwambashi (2015), the human needs theory was propounded by; Abraham Maslow in 1940s and developed by other people who are John Burton; Manfred Max-Neef; and Marshall Rosenberg. The theory was the impact of the scientists’ meeting in Seville in 1986. The Seville manifest convincingly argued that violence was not genetic and that no one is violent by birth, but violence occurs when certain individuals or groups do not see any other way to meet their needs so they need understanding, respect and consideration for their needs. According to Human needs theorists, basic human needs (physical, psychological, social and spiritual) must be fulfilled which are non-negotiable (Burton, 1980). The denial or deprivation of these needs by others, individuals, groups, communities, could affect them, there by leading to conflict (Rosati et al.1990 cited in Faleti, 2006). Giving access to and preventing access to other amounts to denial of needs, and could make people to resort to violence in order to protect those needs (Faleti, 2006). Scarcity theory linked with resources. According to the theory, resources ready for use to meet necessities and demands, in general perceived to be in short supply. Human beings tend to battle for such scarce resources. Over the span of human history, man has drawn most of his sustenance and much of his fuel, clothing and shelter from the land. Land has been man’s inhabitant and living space; it has been a matter of life and death, of survival or starvation (Matter, 1986). This problem is happen in the study area (Estie woreda). Hence, the researcher to adopt the human needs theory in this study was because it identified the peoples’ needs including food, shelter, participation, subsistence and belongingness that as the study concerned in Estie woreda, and land is one of the scarce resources and the sources of basic needs in the study area. Therefore, farmland dispute between farmers occur as the outcome of peoples’ strive to acquire their needs such as land for food, shelter, water and grazing.
Economic theoryThis theory of conflict expounds the economic under currents in conflict causation. There is considerable interface between politics (power, resources, and value) and scarcity. People seek power because it is a means to an end, more often, economic ends. Communities feud over farmlands, grazing fields, water resources etc and groups fight government over allocation of resources or revenue. Scarcity, wants, needs, or the fear of scarcity is often a driving force for political power, contention for resource control, and so forth. Conflict is thus not far-fetched in the course of such palpable fear or threat of scarcity. Just as the fear of poverty and deprivation could lead to fraud or corruption; it threat of or real famine, deprivation, mismanagement of scarce resources, could propel conflict over resource control. Despite the weakness of this theory that it just showed the scarce resource needs, while in reality they not full given to people. In this, theory helps the researcher develop a conceptual framework to illustrate how land disputes emerge and helped the research in coming up with successful outcome in the study. Since, land is an important economic asset and resource of livelihoods in Estie woreda; it also linked to community identity, history and cultures.
Land Policy and Administration in Ethiopia
The Current Land Policy and Debate
Land in Ethiopia is the basic economic resource. As a result, the mode of land ownership has been and is still one of the burning political issues in recent political history of the country. Prior to 1975, Ethiopia’s land tenure system was highly complex and diverse (Deninger et al, 2007:7). During this period, the main forms were a communal Rist system in the North and a largely feudal system that encouraged absentee landlordism in the south (Deninger et al, 2007:7). In the north, communal form of land tenure was prevalent, where it was known as Rist in Amhara areas and Risti in Tigray. Rist was a land use right and access to land involving all individual member of a particular community of their ancestor to which those individual belonged ( Bruce 1976 cited in Hussien, 2001 ). However, no user of any piece of land could sell his or her share outside the family since land belonged not to the individual but to the descent group or the community
(Behranu and Fayera, 2005:5; Hussien, 2001:39). The Gult system was another mechanism of the government officials holding a huge amount of land which considered as a reward for their service giving for the government.
The 1975 land reform of Derg abolished all customary and other pre-existing rights to land and vested in the state the power to redefine rights of property and access to land (Dessalegn, 2004:1; Berhanu, 2004:320; Bruce et al,1994:2). It nationalized the lands of all rural and urban lands. During this regime, individual households had only usufruct right over the land they cultivated, a right they could not transfer by sale, lease, mortgage or gift (Bruce et al, 1994:25; Deninger et al, 2007:7).
The EPRDF-led government, although adopted a free market economy and took many policy reforms, it has retained rural (and urban) land tenure policy of its predecessor. Land remained public and government property and in the present case the land policy is enshrined in the constitution adopted in 1995. The government tried to give reasons for retaining the present tenure policy which in one hand emanates from the predication of the potential adverse effects of private ownership of land on the poor peasantry. That is, land privatization will lead to social stratifications, the eviction of a wide spectrum of poor farmers, the emergence of massive unemployment and the resurgence of tenancy institution (Hussien, 2001:49).
Many political parties, scholars, international organizations and donors don’t agree with the existing tenure policy option and advocates for private ownership of land. The central argument by those who favor privatization is that private ownership provides most robust rights to individual holders and provides the peasant with incentive necessary to make investments and long term improvements on the land and improves agricultural production (Berhanu, 2004:315). For the proponents of private land tenure system, the prevailing land tenure system is one of the root causes of Ethiopia’s poverty, food insecurity and under-development as it restricts citizen’s access to land for maximizing economic use. They oppose the incorporation of land policy in the country’s constitution, as this limits the possibility for flexible policy making to favor free-hold and land market.
Although under the present circumstance reforming the land tenure will entail amending the constitution which will be a difficult task, land tenure is and will remain at the center of the debate on Ethiopian development. But, the EPRDF led government is insistent on its firm stand by viewing public ownership of land as an “alpha and omega”. But the fact is that as the government itself, and other advocators of the public tenure policy agreed, there are still tenure insecurity and an alarming rate of land degradation in the country. By recognizing such problems and in response to wide spread criticism and pressure from several quarters, the government has initiated new policy measure to address a number of problems including that of tenure insecurity.
Land Administration System in Ethiopia: A New Policy
Land administration and use laws that focus on issues of land access and tenure security are among important measures that must be undertaken to alleviate land tenure problem. Accordingly, the Federal land administration law, proclamation no 89/1997, was enacted in July 1997. The law vested regional government with the power of enacting rural land administration and use law and establishing and strengthening land administration and use institutions and systems.
Although it was late, the four main regional governments have made their land laws. The initiative was taken by Amhara in 2000, followed by other regions, Oromia in 2002, Tigray in 2002 and SNNP in 2003 (Yigremew, 2007; Action Aid Ethiopia, 2006). The four main regional governments have established structure that are responsible to manage land administration with some variations about their organization, locations in the government hierarchy, nomenclature and responsibilities. In Amhara, Southern and Tigray regions it is named as “Environmental Protection, Land Use and Administration Authority”, while in Oromia region it is named as “Land Administration and Natural Resource Authority”(Yigremew, 2007:13; Action Aid Ethiopia, 2006:24).The new structures for land administration also extend to woreda and kebele level where land administration offices at woreda and land administration committees at kebele and sub-kebele have been established. At the central level, there is no separately established and autonomous land administration institution (Berhanu and Fayera, 2005: 7; Action Aid Ethiopia, 2006:23). But the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is made responsible for the task of land issues, for which it established the land administration and land use study team (Berhanu ; Fayera, 2005: 6-7). Issues related to natural resources management and developments in pastoral areas are within the mandates of the Ministry of Federal Affairs.
The Land Administration Initiative in Amhara Region
The Amhara regional government is a pioneer in initiating systematic land administration system in the country (Action Aid Ethiopia, 2006:25; Yigremew,2007). The region issued its first law, land administration ; use law (proclamation 46/2000), which is mainly directed towards ensuring tenure security and proper resource use. For instance, article 6(3) states that “so long as the land users utilize the land according to the established rules, this proclamation assures & secures their all holding use rights” (ANRS, 2000). In the preamble of the revised land administration and use proclamation 133/2005, it is also stated that:
“WHEREAS, it is understood that to create conducive situation in the region to fully make practical the rights of farmers and semi-pastorals to get and use land freely and not be displaced from it as ensured in the Federal and National Regional Constitutions” (ANRS, 2006:1). EPLAUA was established ; became operational in December 2001. EPLAUA has an organizational structure that stretches from the region to kebele level which is the lowest administrative structure. In 2017 the Amhara National Regional State provides a new proclamation called “The Revised Proclamation of Rural Land Administration and Use Prc. No 252/2017” and EPLAUA its structure changed RLAU and reaches from regional to kebele level.
Influence of Good Governance on local Government Institutions Land Administration
To see the role of local government institutions in rural land conflict management it is better to see the accountability and transparency level of these institutions. The land governance which is conducted through accountability and transparency is important to evaluate the roles of these local institutions in land management. As noted in OECD, (2008), good governance could be assessed using the following Good Governance for Local Development dimensions Such as, Representation, Participation, Accountability, Transparency, Effectiveness, Security, Equity (OECD, June 2008, cited in Ashenafi, 2013).
For the purpose of this study Transparency and Accountability dimensions are used to assess the local government institutions role land governance and conflict management at local level as these are the two decisive dimensions mostly used by many scholars and organizations to assess local governance of all agendas (Asia land forum, 2012).
Transparency of institutions in Land Governance
Land remains a highly complex and contentious issue, involving economic, social, political, cultural and often religious systems demanding a transparent land administration (FAO, 2007). Transparency is a critical component of a well-functioning land administration, in particular in view of the scarcity of clear and credible information on land availability and transactions, and the poor dissemination of public information on land rights and policies. The risk of corruption and inequalities are very real in land allocation and management if there is no transparent governance (Transparency international, 2004). So that, the consequences to the poor often take the form of difficult access to land assets, unawareness of land policies and legal frameworks, ignorance about land transactions and prices, misallocation of land rights, land grabbing and abuse. When in place, transparency can encourage civic engagement and stakeholders’ accountability by rendering the public decision making arena more accessible. This in turn strengthens confidence in government and public agencies, and has a positive economic impact, also on GDP. Many of the general governance principles related to transparency thus appear highly relevant to the land administration field (UN habitat, 2008).
Transparency in local land governance can be described in the form of the availability of Land information, open access to information about ownership, value and use of land, standardized procedures for determination, recording and dissemination of information, supervision and possibility of appeal (Van der Molen, 2007). The availability of information on land administration can reduce the possible occurrence of corruption and promotion of transparency on the other end. Besides, since Bribery, fraud and nepotism occur in an environment of secrecy, information availability minimizes the occurrence of these hindrances from effective land governance (Transparency international, 2004). Transparency is also best served when the public at large has the constitutional right to access the information at any time and without restrictions regarding the object of interest. Land information being open for public inspection, provides effective opportunities to monitor illegal land sales and land grabbing (ibid).
Standardized Procedures for Determination, Recording and Dissemination of Information are also useful for the reason that it is impossible to change land registers and holdings in a hidden and legally unrecognized way where transparency is indicated by. Furthermore, Openness not only prevents corruption (Mwanza, 2004) but also a system of public and corporate audits will reveal illegal manipulation of the registers (ibid).
Accountability of Local Government institutions in Land Governance
As FAO, (2007), defined, Accountability means demonstration of stewardship and is cited as important for reducing bribery and corruption. Accountability combines with transparency in the discourse of good governance as they both emphasize the necessity for institutions to make their activities open to their clients (Schultz, 2008 cited in Ashenafi, 2013). Included in these dimensions are all the factors that make customary tenure institutions accountable of their stewardship to community members, reporting on what they have been entrusted to do, responding to questions, explaining actions and providing evidence of their performance (FAO, 2007). Factors like the frequency of interaction with community members, feedbacks, and record keeping are important to measure accountability in customary tenure institutions. On the other hand, customary authorities must report regularly on what they have been delegated to do by responding to questioning, explaining actions and providing evidence of their functions (Transparency international, 2007).
Institutions involved in rural land conflict resolution in Ethiopia and Amhara regional state
There are different institutions which are participated in rural land conflict management and administering the land issue. These institutions are classified as legislative institutions, executive institutions, judiciary institutions and quasi-judicial institutions. These institutions are organized from the federal to local levels. Therefore, the institutions which are organized at federal level and institutions organized in Amhara regional states are discussed below.
7.1. Legislative institutions
7.1.1 House of Peoples’ Representatives
The House of Peoples’ Representatives is involved in rural land-related dispute resolution in the sense that it is the nation’s legislative body that lays down the legal frameworks within which issues related to rural land are handled and resolved. The Regional States are expected to ensure the administration and utilization of the rural land in their jurisdictions in accordance with the federal proclamations and regulations issued and adopted by the House of Peoples’ Representatives (Ayalew and Zekariyas, 2010).
In a country where land is state-owned but privately used, there necessarily has to be a legal basis for its administration and use. That must have been the rationale behind the issuance of Proclamation 89/1997 (Rural Land Administration Proclamation) and the current law governing Rural Land Administration and Land Use Proclamation No. 456/2005. The Federal legislation (Proclamation 89/1997) confers the responsibility of implementing its provisions on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. However, the Proclamation does not empower the Council of Ministers to issue regulations, nor does it authorize the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to issue directives for the proper implementation of the provisions. Instead, Proclamation 456/2005 places on Regional States the responsibilities of issuing detail and specific laws required for its implementation.
Accordingly, Article 17 of the Proclamation stipulates:
Each Regional Council shall enact rural land administration and rural land use law, which consists of detailed provisions necessary to implement this Proclamation.
Regions shall establish institutions at all levels that shall implement rural land administration and land use systems, and shall strengthen the institutions already established.
The above-mentioned two federal proclamations are mother laws without which Regional Councils would not be in a position to draft and adopt detailed land laws, not losing sight of the basics of the mother legislations, while accommodating the local idiosyncrasies of the respective regions.
In relation to rural land-related dispute resolution, which is the main concern of this study, Proclamation No. 456/2005 in Article 12 provides:
“Where dispute arises over rural landholding right, effort shall be made to resolve the dispute through discussion and agreement of the concerned parties. Where the dispute could not be resolved through agreement it shall be decided by an arbitral body to be elected by the parties or be decided in accordance with the rural land administration laws of the region.”
Regional Councils are responsible to issue and enact detailed land administration and land use legislations based on the federal or mother laws. Besides strengthening the existing local structures, the Regional Councils are also empowered to establish relevant institutions that play a role in the interpretation and implementation of the legal provisions (Ayalew and Zekatriyas, 2010).
Despite the provision in the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Article 52(d)), the first Federal Legislation on Rural Land Administration and Use, i.e. Proclamation 89/1997 makes no provision for the empowerment of Regional Councils to establish institutions. The current Federal Law on Rural Land Administration and Use (Proclamation No. 456/2005) is, however, an improvement on its predecessor in that it provides for the closure of this gap, by empowering Regional Councils to set up institutions. Accordingly, Article 17(2) of the Proclamation provides: “Regions shall establish institutions at all levels that shall implement rural land administration and land use systems and shall strengthen the institutions already established.”
In the Amhara Region, the Regional Council issued a declaration in August 2000 that it was the policy of the Region to establish by law institutions at various levels responsible for the administration of land and the implementation of relevant directives. Furthermore, in the first Proclamation of the Region on Rural Land Administration and Use, i.e. Proclamation 46/2000, Article (2) provided: “Appropriate body” shall mean a body to be established in accordance with the Constitution of the Region for the purposes of overseeing that a system of land administration and use is in place. It was also made clear in that same Proclamation that the “Appropriate body” shall have the power to issue directives and formats for the proper implementation of the Proclamation. The second proclamation of the Region on Rural Land Administration and Use (Proclamation 133/2006) explicitly states the Region’s “Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use Authority” shall be the body responsible to oversee the implementation of the proclamation. The current proclamation of the region (Proclamation No.252/2017) states the region’s “The Rural Land Administration and Use Bureau” to implement the proclamation through following the other zonal and woreda office.
It is necessary to discuss the role of the executive organs of the Regional States in rural land dispute resolution, because of the observed overlap or interference of their functions with the operations particularly for the quasi-formal dispute settlement mechanisms. This is to underscore that in a situation where grassroots institutions are involved in resolving rural land-related disputes, mostly before the cases are brought to the formal courts; it is difficult to imagine the separation of powers between the local executive organs and the legally empowered semi-formal judiciaries. The problem is made worse by the absence of provisions in the concerned land laws that delimit the powers of the state executive organs. As a result, in contravention of constitutional concepts and provisions, there are cases where the local state functionaries exceed their administrative roles and assume adjudicatory powers.
Proclamation 46/2000 of the Amhara Region merely states that a competent body to follow land use and administration shall be established in accordance with the Constitution of the Region. The amended proclamation No 133/2006 confers the power of overseeing the implementation of the law on the Regional Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use Authority (EPLAUA), established in accordance with Proclamation No. 47/2000. Currently proclamation 252/2017 gives the power to the Regional Rural Land Administration and Use Bureau (RLAUB)
7.2.2 Woreda Offices for Rural Land Administration and Use
The first law of the Amhara Region on rural land use administration had not conferred the power on Woreda level offices. Proclamation No. 133/2006 has, however, empowered Woreda Offices of the Environmental Protection and Land Use and Administration Authority (EPLUA) of the Region with the following important responsibilities. These are: establishing Kebele and Sub-Kebele Land Use and Administration Committees, ensuring that their membership is gender balanced, supervising the activities of the Committees, making sure that Kebele and Sub-Kebele Land Use and Administration Committees are empowered with the appropriate trainings, and the proper recording and handling of data related to land use and administration. Regulation No. 51/2007, issued to implement Proclamation No. 133/2006 broadened the powers of Woreda Offices to include hearing appeals brought to them on the decisions of Kebele Land Administration and Use Committees (Ayalew and Zekariyas, 2010). The office of rural land administration and use was established in 2017 under proc.no 252/2017. This proclamation also declears the formulation of kebele land administration and use office and rural land administration and use committee under article 49 and 50 respectively.
7.3Formal Judicial institutions
Being the first formal courts to handle rural land-related disputes, and in view of their relative proximity to the farming population, it can be said that Woreda Courts play an important role in the resolution of these issues. As a result, the manner in which the Woreda Courts treat rural land-related disputes, the speed at which they resolve the cases and the quality of justice that they deliver are matters of serious concern to farmers, forced to spend their precious farming time to appear in court because of land disputes. Compared with the grassroots informal and quasi formal dispute resolution institutions, and as the first link in the chain of regular judicial bodies, Woreda Courts are the ones that carry the burden of sorting out land dispute cases on the basis of substantive, procedural and evidentiary laws. In the light of this, the part they play in the resolution process is immense. In the Amhara Region, where the quasi formal institution of Arbitration Councils are authorized to mediate rather than adjudicate land disputes, Woreda Courts act as the initial regular judicial institutions which review and decide on such litigations (Ayalew and Zekariyas, 2010)
7.3.2Zonal High Courts
As stated earlier, most farmers cannot afford to appeal to Zonal High Courts and beyond mainly due to financial constraints and the interference of following up court cases with their time-demanding farm activities. For this reason, it is the relatively well-off rural inhabitants who can manage to lodge appeals to these courts, although doing so will still cost them a lot in various ways. As these people take risks in the quest of justice in most instances, they desire and deserve to obtain better judicial service at this level. However, as the results of discussions conducted with male and female sample groups of the farming population seem to strongly suggest, the situation is not much different at Zonal level than it is in Woreda Courts.
7.3.3Regional Supreme Courts
Hierarchically, the Regional Supreme Courts are the highest judicial bodies, and from appeal rights point of view, the last resort in the court system of the Regions. In a bid to expedite the delivery of judicial decisions, the Regional Supreme Courts operate as Circuit Courts moving around the Regions and handling civil and criminal cases, including land disputes, as Zonal High Courts also do. In addition to the above judicial institutions there are other judicial institutions like Mobile Benches/Circuit Courts and Regional Courts of Cassation which play their own role in rural land conflict resolution.
Challenges of Local Government Institutions In Rural Land Conflict Management
The need for good governance in Land Administration is undeniable as is influenced by increasing incidences of tenure insecurity and land conflicts (Bell, 2007). There were different challenges for land administrations. These challenges have been attributed to weak governance in the various institutions in charge of administering land in a given community or locality (Magel and Wehrmann, 2001; Zakout et al., 2007). Particularly, nowadays, Land governance activities have been associated with bribery and corruption, especially in the developing world and specifically in the sub Saharan Africa (Van der Molen and Tuladhar, 2007). Corruption has also another driving factor, poor remuneration of civil servants (Bell, 2007), is the main contributing factors to bribery and corruption besides to lack of rule of law (Zimmermann, 2006). Bribery and corruption tend to benefit power holders – political elites and government officials more than the poor and vulnerable groups as the poor is always damaged when there is corruption and bribery (Bell, 2007; Van der Molen and Tuladhar, 2007).
Furthermore, weak governance has been linked to lack of comprehensive regulatory framework governing security of tenure, insufficient or incoherent and improperly enforced legal provisions, lack of transparency and access to information, inequity and unfairness, lack of accountability, irresponsiveness of institutions to the demand of land users and inability for citizens to participate in land governance are the challenges for land administration (UNDP, 1997; UN-Habitat, 2004; UNHS and Transparency International, 2004; UNDP, 2006; FAO, 2007; UN-Habitat, 2007, cited in Ashenafi, 2013). Land Governance is more difficult when land and related natural resources are scarce and unmet demand is great. Where these are not met, social conflict or political violence and instability may ensue. It has become clear that, in conflict situation, socially accepted tenure arrangements and practices seem to prevail over statutory systems. This can be exemplified internal conflicts where historical grievances can lead to large scale internally displaced people (FAO, 2007).
The local government institutions faced different challenges in rural land administration and conflict management. Ashenafi(2013) identified different challenges for rural land administrations which are listed below.
I. Access to land and security of tenure
Tenure insecurity problems in customary land are complex and may stem from many sources. Commonly among them are loss of usufructs rights, forced eviction, divorce, and disenfranchisement as a result of cross cultural marriage between matriarchal and patriarchal families which leaves children without inheritance rights. But, nowadays, land is legally redistributed to citizens, though there is a land scarcity everywhere in the world (Mahama and Dixon, 2006, cited in Ashenafi, 2013).
Thus, indigenous members of customary areas could access land through the lineage system while non-community members access land through grants of various forms in many of the African countries (Ubink, 2007; Zakout et al., 2007).
II. Access to information and services
Access to land information and services is a very important factor that needs to be addressed in land governance (FAO, 2007). Sometimes it might not be difficult to establish access. However, the quality of information to be accessed is always questioned. In some occasions, land delivery is oral and in many customary areas, there are no structures for proper documentation, maintaining and recording land information. Even where information is kept, it is distorted and disorganized, mostly in the hands of individuals, thereby making it difficult to obtain comprehensive and up-to-date information on land allocation and dispute resolution (Ubink, 2007).
III. Distribution of community resources
Rights in customary land exist to protect all interest groups in the land owning groups, and are the responsibility of customary leadership to ensure that the proceeds from communal land are equitably distributed among all community members (Ikejiofor, 2006). With land becoming short in supply as a result of urbanization, population pressure, gender and intergenerational equity has become a challenging issue in customary tenure systems (McEwan, 2003). The question is whether the customary systems as they exist today have strategies that protect different groups of today and the generations to come, and therefore, there should be a fair and equitable distribution system of the community resources (ibid).
IV. Abuse of power and stewardship by the customary leaders
The object of customary land governance is that land is vested in groups whose leader is entrusted with the responsibility of administering their land for and on behalf of the entire group (Ubink and Quan, 2008 cited in Ashenafi, 2013). Chiefs and heads of families, clans and tribes are not in any way permitted to take any unilateral decision concerning the acquisition or occupation and use of land or the utilization of resources emanating from the land. This structure of customary systems should make customary tenure institutions accountable to local people because of strong kinship ties (ibid).
However, several authors suggest that accountability in customary tenure systems diminishes especially where these customary mechanisms for holding chiefs accountable have collapsed (Toulmin, 2009). Under such conditions, customary authorities abuse the power vested in them by exhibiting opinions showing that they no longer hold a fiduciary position (Kasanga and Kotey, 2001). For example, Ubink (2008) reports that in Ghana, some chiefs assume complete ownership responsibility, and display tendencies to adopt landlord-like positions with regard to customary land. They take unilateral decisions and in many cases the activities concerning the land are executed without the knowledge of the community members (Ubink and Quan, 2008). Some chiefs and headmen abuse their responsibilities by allocating large tracks of land to themselves or their associates, especially individuals who provide them with money, beasts, alcohol and material goods and services (Mugyenyi, 1988, cited in Ashenafi, 2013). In such areas, chiefs’ administrative roles in land right transactions enable them to appropriate community members’ interests for purely economic motives.
Context and Nature of Rural Land Conflicts and its Management: International Experience
Rural Land Conflicts and Its Management in East Timor
Rural Land Conflicts
The recent political transitions and governance practices gave rise to the layered land claims that traditional leaders and the local government confront today. The types of conflicts which traditional authorities and local government address, in various capacities, can be characterized as follows according to Yoder et al., (2003).
Many rural land disputes among individuals arise from conflicts over inheritance and division of parental land. Cases involving natural and adopted children are usually resolved by traditional leaders at the family or village level in accordance with local customs of inheritance that vary widely among regions. Customary decisions in inheritance disputes frequently divide the land between the parties or require both parties to divide harvest or products of the land, as sharing the land is viewed as one means of preserving a harmonious family relationship. In most instances, adopted children cannot inherit land, unless the parents have made clear provision for this. In most but not all cases involving disputes between brothers and sisters, traditional settlements favored the male descendant, in accordance with norms of land inheritance and ownership. In the absence of parental division of land among children, daughters were usually awarded land when they were still unmarried at the time of settlement. Some land inheritance cases that traditional authorities could not resolve included disputes between the adopted children and the siblings of a deceased family member, when both sides claimed rights to the land and the customary mechanism for inheritance was unclear.
Conflicts over use of agricultural or residential land among members of a lineage group are variable in frequency, but their resolution by traditional means is relatively unproblematic.
Within the rural Timorese social structure as yoder et al., (2003) explained, a unified identity among members of a lineage and the authority of elders within a family remain strong. Disputants and traditional authorities considered cases in this category to be common, minor problems, and most are solved quickly and finally by family elders without taking them to outside levels for settlement (ibid). Where an individual has planted annual crops on another’s field without permission, the settlement frequently requires the parties to divide that year’s harvest and not repeat the action. Government authorities find intra-lineage land cases complex to resolve: communally-held land is difficult to settle because of the number of individuals involved, an incomplete understanding of the internal mechanisms of inheritance, and the need for decisions made about ancestral land to be accepted by all members of the lineage.
Customary or ancestral claims versus current-use or improvement claims
Different individuals and groups are often involved in disputes where both parties base their claims on customary mechanisms for establishing land rights through use, but appeal to different time periods: one group claims an inherited right, usually because ancestors farmed that land or modified it with tree-planting, or irrigation, while the other party claims rights based on recent use and continuing improvements to the land. In this regard, at least one party would not hold a formal land certificate to the land in question. Several on-going conflicts between current land users and those claiming the same sites as ritually important or sacred land are also included here.
While customary leaders recognize the underlying strength of customary landholdings, older ancestral claims do not automatically take precedence in settlement outcomes in these cases.
Yoder et al., (2003) also put that traditional authorities found in favor of those who had more recently used the land, making significant improvements to the property, against a customary claim based on long-ago, and short-term use without leaving permanent evidence. He also added that, as to both traditional and government figures involved, these types of disputes are among the most difficult cases to settle either with interim or final agreements (ibid).
Village or district boundaries
There are many disputes about community or individual boundaries in areas with and without resettlement, but as this matter concerns both customary claims and state governance, traditional leaders are rarely able to reach a binding resolution, and most current cases have been suspended pending national guidelines on structures of local governance as these are an ever existing conflicts (Yoder et al., 2003).
Land conflicts as one manifestation of political differences
Traditional authorities have been managing politicized issues of land since long before the advent of national-level government structures in rural areas of Timor and these traditional authorities are frequently called to assist in these types of cases, and both the government officials and the traditional authorities agreed that politically grounded land conflicts are among the most intractable conflicts they ever face, with some stating that such cases are impossible to solve.
Abandoned, vacated, and absentee ownership of land
Vacating significant tracts of land that has been classified as abandoned as to Yoder et al., (2003) are significantly exposed to ownership conflicts as land is nowadays a scarce resource Several locations reported that most of the people currently using vacated land are young families from among the local residents who did not have their own land in East Timor (Yoder et. al., 2003).
Conflict Management Methods by Traditional and Local Government Authorities
When rural land conflicts arise, it is the responsibility of conflicting parties to seek assistance from traditional leaders; traditional authorities in all regions agreed that they did not first approach conflicting parties when they heard of a conflict. Local authorities set a time and place for conflict resolution, call witnesses, and sometimes make site visits to contested land (UNDP, 2007). If the case is unresolved, a wider circle of witnesses may be called. Besides oral testimony of conflicting parties and witnesses, other essential forms of evidence to land claims include trees, terraces, irrigation, fences, rock markers, paths and earthen divisions between rice fields (ibid).
Local leaders usually called disputants together within 1-2 weeks of the request to assist in settlement, and most cases were settled within one month (FAO, 2007). Sometimes they hear a case from morning until night. Small cases can often be settled by the local leaders within the space of several hours (Yoder et. al., 2003). Thus, elements of settlement processes that could be termed mediation, conciliation, and arbitration varied widely among traditional authorities (FAO, 2007). A few insisted that an arbitrated decision was the sole responsibility of the traditional authority, and that disputants had no choice but to accept and obey the decision, but most indicated that disputants played more active roles in reaching agreements, proposing solutions, and setting compensation (ibid).
As noted in Yoder et al., (2003), some traditional leaders described their role as that of mediator, moderating a discussion between the disputing parties, who optimally come to their own solution to the conflict. He also explained that government supports the local leaders use arbitration when the fault or answer is clear, but mediate when a solution requires negotiation or both parties have committed wrongs according to their custom (FAO, 2007). Frequently, decisions made by disputants, traditional leaders, and local government representatives are additionally strengthened through formal recognition by a local ritual authority (Yoder, et. al., 2003).
Transparency and Accountability of Local Land Governance in Macedonia
The involvement of all relevant stakeholders with responsibility and/or power for tackling corruption has a key role to play while designing a transparent system. This involvement of relevant stakeholders was instrumental in securing their ownership of the assessment process and of the data to be generated, and in ensuring uptake of results in local policy-making (Manila, 2003).
Users of public services, including citizens and CSOs, and other relevant stakeholders should also be consulted in the process of designing the instrument, to identify corruption “hot spots” based on their experience and perceptions of corruption and Macedonia did the same while developing its system as explained in Nahem, (2008). Such inputs by citizens in the design phase allows for the instrument to have a focus on poverty and gender, through the identification of corruption hot spots of particular relevance to the poor, women and vulnerable groups. Citizens’ participation also enhances the potential for the assessment to serve as an effective accountability mechanism between local governments and their constituencies (ibid).
Although there is not a universally agreed definition of corruption, UN habitat defines corruption as ‘the misuse of office for private gain’ (UN Habitat, 2004).Corruption can be expressed in terms of Bribery, fraud, Favoritism, Nepotism, and Clientalism, and is used as a measure to transparency of the local land governance in Macedonia.
It is obvious that Corruption has a negative effect on the gear of a development of any given nation, but, it has the most devastating effect in developing countries because it hinders any advancement in economic growth and democracy (UNDP, 2004). However, it is possible to minimize the magnitude of corruption if there is properly established transparent and accountable land governance in the local administration of a given community.
Land Conflicts and Resolution Mechanisms in Cambodia
Cambodia, with over 80% of its population still working in the agricultural sector, a majority being subsistence farmers, is a good example for a country where the handling of land as a source of rapid income, a means of speculation and a sign of gratitude for those loyal to the government, have clearly gotten out of control (Wehrmann, 2006). With about 80% of the country’s population working in the agricultural sector, land in Cambodia is one of the most valuable natural resources and forms the basis for most of the Cambodian people’s livelihood. In fact most people in Cambodia declare that land is the foundation of society and life of the country (ibid).
Land ownership and access to land are today the most frequent source of conflict in the rural as well as the urban parts of Cambodia. At the source of the current struggles is the country’s conflict- ridden past as well as its current political situation (Land Grabbing & Poverty in Cambodia, 2009): While the “democratic system of checks and balances – among state, political society and civil society institutions – exists on paper only.” The extremely hierarchical systems of power, together with high levels of corruption, have given rise to an arbitrary system of land acquisition and speculation by those in power. In addition, the “absence of an independent uncorrupted judicial system has meant that effective legal remedies for victims of forced evictions are unattainable” (Land and Housing Working Group, 2009).
Increasing land value, ineffectiveness of law enforcement, lack of community’s knowledge in legal and policy matters, and unclear roles and responsibilities of key responsible authorities are in part the driving forces leading to land conflicts in Cambodia (FAO, 2007). Statistically as reported in the NGO Forum (2009), in total an estimate of the year 2005 stated that 1 in 15 families in Cambodia were involved in a land conflicts ( Wehrmann, 2006). An NGO report on land disputes that arose during the year 2008 counted 173 officially filed disputes, each involving between 5 and 4000 families. The claimed land was either residential, farm or paddy land and those accused by the claimants of having tried to grab it were government authorities in 23.4 percent of the cases, the military in 20.6, and companies in 29.9 percent of the cases (NGO Forum, 2009).
Thus, the Government is not only failing in its obligations to protect against forced evictions, but Government authorities are often actively involved in illegal land-grabbing” (NGO Forum, 2009). As a result, villagers will generally attempt to have a powerful administrative decision maker intervene on their behalf, following the existing decision making framework in which the more powerful figure within the administration can “override a decision of a subordinate.” According to WB, (2006), usual help is sought from several authorities at different levels, though in the majority (87%) of the cases arising in 2008, the complaint was submitted first to immediate local authorities (at the village, communal or district level). In about 49% of the cases, the complaint was referred to the Provincial governor and in nearly one third of the cases the complaint was sent directly to the Prime Minister’s cabinet. While provincial courts also received around one third of the complaints, there were strikingly few cases where complaints were submitted to the actual institutions in charge of land dispute settlement: the district, provincial or national cadastral offices or the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution (NGO Forum, 2008).
This is explained by several factors, the first being an apparent lack of clarity on the responsibility of the institutions mentioned. Theoretically the Cadastral Commission has jurisdiction over land disputes involving untitled land; the courts are responsible for those where land titles exist. The second influencing factor is the fact that the formal institutions are not trusted among villagers, on the contrary, they are generally perceived as “costly, time consuming and biased toward the rich” ( Wehrmann, 2006).
In fact, a World Bank, (2008) study from the year 2006 showed that in 22% of the studied cases presented to the Cadastral Commission, bribes or other informal fees had been paid. In those cases dealt with by the court the figure rose to 68-100%.
The high costs are one reason why many land disputes never reach the courts; most villagers simply lack the resources to pay for an official complaint. As a result, human rights- as well as development NGOs have increasingly begun to actively get involved in land dispute resolution processes on behalf of the poor and marginalized. Almost no cases are reported, in which NGOs did not play a prominent role as watchdogs, advocates, legal consultants or even by submitting complaints on behalf of the victims (NGO Forum, 2008).
Equally unsatisfactory as earlier numbers, are the figures relating to the resolution of land disputes. From the cases studied for the year 2008, only about 12, 5 % were solved within that year, while other studies have shown that the process of dispute settlement can take up to ten years (Schwedersky, 2010).
9.4. Land Conflict Management in Burundi
Land is a contested issue in Burundi. Since 1972, conflicts about land have exponentially multiplied, and nowadays about 80% of conflicts appearing in court are about land (ICG 2003). Inequitable access to land, spoliation by the authorities, and a confused land tenure system are further compounded by a high population density and degradation of the land (FAO, 2007).
In the communities, a huge variety of conflicts around land exists, ranging from disputes within families about the division of the inheritance, or the limitations of plots, to those resulting from the occupation of land by displaced people, or about land-use between cultivators and pastoralists (UNDP, 2004).
The level and scale of the conflicts around land pose huge challenges to conflict resolution institutions as noted in the UNDP, (2007). As a result, Legislation on land is inadequate, difficulties arise between the customary and ‘official’ system to administer land conflicts, and the judicial system is not equipped to deal with the task placed upon it (FAO, 2007).
Therefore, the need to strengthen conflict resolution mechanisms to deal with land disputes is apparent. The Bashingantahe (locally notable leaders), or other institutions within the communities (such as the Commissions Justice & Paix of the Catholic Church) have started their own structures to minimize the chronic land conflicts in Burundi (Transparency international, 2007).
Conflict Management at Community Level
To solve their disputes around land, people in the communities in Burundi may address two systems for conflict resolution: the customary system of the Bashingantahe, and the juridical system of the state. While the former relies in the first place on conventions and customary regulations, the latter bases itself on the legislation of the state (UNDP, 2004). Apart from those systems, people may approach representatives of local authorities, or structures established by NGOs or churches, to amicably arrive at a resolution of their disputes, or to acquire consultation on how to proceed in the conflict management system (ICG 2003). The level of involvement, the reliability and the capacities of these several institutions vary from location to location (ibid).
Customarily, disputes around land tenure in Burundi were being mediated by the Bashingantahe (Council of Notables). It is composed of most respected community members (ICG, 2003). Its traditional roles is to settle local disputes, to reconcile individual persons and families, to authenticate all sorts of contracts (such as marriage, inheritance, sales, and gifts), and to represent the local population at higher level. The Bashingantahe also had to oversee the maintenance of truth and justice, to ensure the security of life and property, and to provide guidance and balance to politicians in the exercise of their mandates (FAO, 2007).
As Yoder et al., (2003) noted the council’s institutional strength is getting weakened and eroded by the Political practices under the period from 1987-1992. Despite its weaknesses, however, many Burundians, local and international organizations consider its revitalization as very important (ibid).
The Juridical System
Nonetheless, the Bashingantahe may be asked to testify or provide further explanations on the case. In case the Tribunal of the locality makes a field visit to identify the particularities of a disputed land property, the Bashingantahe are asked to be present as witnesses. If parties cannot come to agreement before the Tribunal of the locality, their case may be transferred to the Court of Appeal at province level (Dexter 2005).
The Relationship between the State and Customary Systems
While in their judgments the Bashingantahe rely in the first place on conventions and customary regulations, the juridical system of the state bases itself on the legislation of the state. All land conflicts should first pass before the Bashingantahe. Only in case those are unable to find a resolution, conflicts are passed on to the state legal system. This is advantageous in that the Bashingantahe are more familiar with the local context of a conflict and might thus decide in a more fair and win-win way (FAO, 2007).
Women and Land Rights in Burundi
Until today, customary law prevails for inheritance issues. Under customary law of Burundi, married women are excluded from inheriting land from their father, as long as there are any other male descendants (van Leeuwen, 2005). Women are supposed to have access to land through marriage: a woman will get use rights to the land belonging to her husband. This implies no ownership, and the land remains the property of her family in law (Kamungi et al. 2004). If a woman is not married and still stays in the paternal home at the time of her parents’ death, after settling her brothers, she may use for her subsistence a portion of land for as long as she is alive. If she gets any children, they will inherit property only in the line of irregular successors or they will inherit nothing at all (ibid)
3.1. Research ApproachThe type of research approach which has been employed for this research is both quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative research used to study issues expressed in quantity and numeric representations which are expressed through statistical expression (Yalew, 2017). Qualitative research involves studies that do not attempt to quantify their results through statistical summary or analysis. Qualitative research seeks to describe various aspects about behavior and other factors studied in the social sciences and humanities. In qualitative research data are often in the form of descriptions, not numbers (Abiy et al., 2009).Hence, the researcher has been used both quantitative and qualitative approach to better describe and assess the role of local government institutions in rural land conflict management.
3.2. Research Design The research design that has been employed in this study is a case study, because, it is important to investigate the issue in detail description. Case studies emphasize detailed contextual analysis of a limited number of events or conditions and their relationships.
2.3. Sampling designThis study is based mainly on the data collected from the households who faced land conflict in the study area. The following steps have been followed to select the sample kebele administrations and the sample respondents. In the first phase, four kebeles among the 36 kebeles has been selected purposefully based on their experience of repeated land conflict. Based on the data gained from Estie woreda court office Ziguara, Mekane Eyesus, Shimaglegiyorgis and Dengolt Kebeles are highly conflicting kebeles that are taken as a sample (Estie woreda court office, 2018). After the sample kebele administrations are selected, the next step is the selection of households who faced farm land disputes. The numbers of households who were participated in rural land conflict were gathered from the woreda court data base office. The households who are participated in conflict and recorded from the woreda court data base office from 2016-2018 are included in the research. The three year data are carefully gathered from the court and 1737 households are participated in conflict (Estie woreda court office, 2018).
Therefore, the sample sizes of the households which are participated in rural land conflict in four kebele are determined by the following equation;
n0=N1+N(e)2Where n0 = sample size
N= is the total number of households participating in rural land conflict in the four selected areas.
e = the level of precision/sampling error (in this case 0.08). Based on the equation the total sampled households summarize in the following table
Table 3.1 Summary of Population and Sample size of the Study Area Sample kebelesNoof household No of disputant household No of Sample HHs
Male Female Total Ziguara1621 330 105 435 36
Total 6491 1302 435 1737 144
Source EWCO (2018).
After the number of the sample size determined based of the above equation the household which participate in the study is selected randomly and the proportion of sample respondents in each KA will be determined by the number of households faced rural land disputes. Besides, Land Administration and Use Coordinator, Agriculture and Natural Resource Expert, the judges at woreda level, kebele land administration and use officers, the elders in the community were purposefully selected as they are directly or indirectly engaged in the rural land conflict management.
2.4. Data Collection InstrumentsBoth quantitative and qualitative data collection methods will be used to come up with reliable information. The quantitative data will be collected through household survey and secondary data. The qualitative data gathering tools such as focus groups discussions and key informant interview on the other hand will be used for collection of qualitative data.
Household SurveyThe data for this study was mainly obtained through a household survey. It was conducted using standard questionnaire. Survey questionnaires were purposely steered towards acquiring a wide range of information that addresses the set of research objectives. They were categorized into different modules in such a way to address the following main aspects: 1) general household profile, 2) land holdings and use, 3) to what extents they were entered in to land use conflict 4) the reasons they entered in to land conflict 5) the mechanism they used to solve land conflict 6) access to institutional services 7) their awareness about the local government institutions established concerning to land issues 8) their awareness about the attitudes of officials who work in rural land administration and use office at woreda and kebele level 9) the role of the participation of local government institutions in rural land conflict management in enhancing productivity.
The questionnaire consisted of a mixture of closed- and open-ended questions. In developing survey questionnaires, a considerable attention was devoted to the elaboration of understandable, unambiguous and well-targeted questionnaire. Care was also taken to avoid confusing terms and leading questions which could erode the confidence of respondents.
The researcher is used secondary sources to strengths the data by supporting through written facts. The documentations from the Woreda Courts and the social courts including different written documents that obtained from the Woreda Land Use and Administration Offices will be considered as a secondary source. Moreover different proclamations that are issued in Amhara Regional state regarding to rural land administrations are also considered as a secondary sources.
Key informant interview:
Qualitative data are collected by interviewing key informants. These include Woreda Court judges, lawyers, community elders who are lived in the kebele for a long time, Woreda land administration workers/officials, Kebele land administration and use officers and womens who are a victim of conflict. The data collected from key informants included the types of land conflict which is happened in the area, to what extent the local government institutions are engage in rural land conflict management, which group of society are highly vulnerable to rural land conflict, how much the conflicting parties are governed by the decisions of the concerned body such as first instance court and woreda land administrator workers. A checklist was prepared to guide the semi-structured interview with key informants. Audio cassettes were used to record the key informant interviews.
Focus Group Discussion:
FGD was used as one tool for collecting primary data in sample kebeles to collect primary data by making thorough discussion with 8-12 people. The discussion is held in each sample kebele with members of the representatives of women and youth, community elders, different individuals who were faced for land conflict cases. Members of these groups were identified with the help of kebele administrator. It was attempted to make sure that every segment of the community is represented in the FGD and the discussions are held in a purely participatory manner. Open-ended questions are used to guide the discussion. These open ended questions includes different issues like the extent of rural land conflict, the involvement local government institutions in rural land conflict management, how much the Land Administration Office contributing on land conflict management, how much courts are effective in resolving rural land conflict etc. one FGD was also organized at woreda level recruited from the head and officers of Rural Land Administration and Use office. Participants are requested to reflect their opinions on discussion issues by associating with their real life experiences, their wider knowledge. A researcher facilitated the discussion while an educated man from the group taking the notes from the discussion with the consent of the participants. Moreover, audiocassettes were used to record the group discussions.
2.5 Methods of Analysis
After collecting the required information, the researcher has been used both quantitative and qualitative method of data analysis to assess the role of government institutions in rural land conflict management. The quantitative data gathered through secondary sources and house hold surveys are quantitatively analyzed. The data collected through household survey was analyzed by using SPSS version16.0 software by using descriptive statistics such as percentiles, and ratios. Whereas, the qualitative data gathered through FGD and key informant interview was qualitatively analyze. Qualitative method is a mechanism that tries to describe events, actions, and behaviors of things deeply by word (Sharma C.K. and Jain M.K., 2008). The gathered data will be grouped in different categories based on their nature and type, after grouping it will be describe through words. Therefore, quantitative and qualitative data analyses were used to interpret the gathered data in appropriate way to get the required information.
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.1 BACKGROUND OF THE RESPONDANTS
Table 4.1 sex, age, and marital status, and family size, educational and occupational background of the respondents
No Categories Variable Frequency Percent
Male 107 74.3
Female 37 25.7
Total 144 100
2. Age 21-30 28 19.4
31-40 36 25
41-50 36 25
Above 50 44 30.6
Total 144 100
3. Marital status Single 0 0
Married 61 42.4
Divorce 54 37.5
Widow 29 20.1
Total 144 100
4. Number of family 1-3 18 12.5
4-6 49 34
6-8 53 36.8
Above 8 24 16.7
Total 144 100
5. Level of education Unable to write and read 52 36.1
Read and write 42 29.2
1-4 31 21.5
5-8 13 9
9-12 6 4.2
TVET 0 0
6.Occupational Status Farmer 108 75
Merchant 33 22.9
Daily Labor 0 0
Carpenter 3 2.1
Total 144 100
Source: Own survey, 2018
The summary table 4.1 contains the general background of the respondents who were participated in the household survey in sex, age, marital status, the family size, level of education and Occupational status. The table indicates that majority of the respondents are the male headed households (74.3%) while 25.7% are female headed households which have been selected proportionally. According to age the majority of (30.6%) of the respondents aged were above 50, (25%) of the respondents were aged from 31-40, (25%) of the respondents were from age 21-30, while the minority of the respondents (19.4%) were aged 18-30. The data interpretation show that most of the respondents belonged to age group of above 50, which indicates when age increases the probability of entering to land conflict increases (Ashenafi, 2013).
Regarding to marital status, the findings in table 4.1 show that the majority of (42.4%) respondents were married, (37.5%) of respondents were divorced, and while the rest (20.1%) respondents were widowed.
Regarding to the family size, the majority of (36.8%) respondents had a family member of 6-8, (34%) of respondents had from 4-6 family members and (16.7%) of respondents had a family member of above 8 and the res 12.5% of the respondents had the family member of 1-3. The finding indicates that the majority of the respondents belonged to the family members who had 6-8 which considered as a large family size. Having large family is significant factor to rural land disputes among farmers as reported by Berihu et al. (2015).
Concerning the educational status of the respondents, the majority of (36.1%) of the respondents were unable to write and read, (29.2%) able to write and read , (21.5%) of the respondents had reached 1-4 grade level of education, (9%) 0f the respondents had accomplished primary education and the rest(4.2%) of the respondents had accomplished secondary education. The collected data and its finding assured that majority of the respondents are not educated who are either illiterate or only able to write and read. This also indicated that the coverage of education is poor and it matters also the government institutions to teach about conflict.
With Regard to the occupational status of the respondent in table 4.1, the majority of the respondents (75%) were farmers, (22.9%) of the respondents were merchants and the rest (2.1%) of the respondents are carpenters. The finding indicates that much of the respondents were farmers who have no extra income to support their livings having greater demand on rural land.
4.2 Different cases open in Estie Woreda court from the year 2008-20010
Accordingly, statistical data made available to the investigation from Estie Woreda First Instance Court indicate that, during the three-year period from July 1, 2008 E.C to May 30, 2010 E.C, a total of 12, 905 cases were opened and considered at the Court. Of these, 3600 (27.9%) were rural land-related dispute files. According to this source, such disputes constituted the single largest type of cases brought to the attention of the Woreda First Instance Court. The rural land related cases are increased from year to year. The following table shows the distribution of newly opened cases by type and number of files for each year during July 2008 to May 2010 E.C.
Table 4.2: Newly opened cases by type and number of files
01/11/08& 01/11/09& 01/11/2010 & 30/10/09 E.C. 30/10/20100 E.C. 30/09/2010 E.C. Total
No % No % No % No %
Land-related 975 23.37 1112 25.9 1513 34.06 3600 27.9
Property 765 18.34 650 15.14 622 14 2037 15.6
Division of inheritance 264 6.33 410 9.55 509 11.5 1183 9.17
Physical harassment 453 10.86 355 8.27 365 8.23 1173 9
Child livelihood(child abuse) 496 11.89 449 10.5 372 8.38 1317 10.2
Rape and attempt of raping 85 5.04 46 1.07 39 0.87 170 1.32
Divorce 566 13.567 374 8.71 397 8.93 1337 10.36
Attempted Homicide 50 2 67 1.6 70 1.57 187 1.45
Housing land(urban land conflict) 272 6.52 380 8.85 238 5.36 890 6.89
Theft 97 2.33 162 3.77 94 2.12 353 2.73
Administrative Disputes 167 4 287 6.68 222 5 676 5.24
Total 4172 100 4292 100 4441 100 12905 100
Source: Estie Woreda Court Database accessed on 30/09/2010 EC.
In addition to the above statistical data, one of the judge who is worked in Estie worda court strengths the above idea. According to him among the cases who have been seen was land related cases and they are sensitive in the community. The rural land issue is also very crucial issue which gets much bigger emphasis between or among the conflicting parties. KI1
4.3 The Main Causes of Rural Land Conflict
The following table indicates that the main causes for rural land conflict which are considered as the serious causes ranked according to the frequency of the respondents. There are nine causes for rural land conflict as identified by (Ashenafi, 2013) and mostly observed in the community. They are arranged in rank as respondents putting as main causes of rural land conflict in their community.
Table 4.3 main causes of rural land conflict.
Main causes of conflict No of respondents ranked one in % Rank
Land tenure insecurity 29% 1
Unclear land entitlement procedure 26% 2
Government land appropriation schemes 15.3% 3
Competing land claim and use as land value is increasing 11.8% 4
Unclear procedure for inheritance including lineage 9.7% 5
Rural land scarcities 3.5% 6
Ineffectiveness of law enforcement 1.4% 7
Poverty 1.4% 8
Land holding inequalities 0.7% 9
Source: Own survey, 2018
Accordingly, land tenure insecurity is was the first in terms of rank as a source of conflict by 29% of the respondents were ranked one and land holding inequalities was the least in the causes of conflict for which only 0.7% of respondents ranked one. The Unclear land entitlement procedure is ranked two in 26%; government land appropriation system (15.3%) was the third; competing land claim and use as land value (11.8%) was ranked four; unclear procedure for inheritance including lineage (9.7%) was the fifth; rural land scarcity in 3.5% ranked sixth and poverty and ineffectiveness of law enforcement ranked seventh and eighth in 1.4% equally. From this we can understand that the land tenure insecurity, unclear land entitlement procedure and land appropriation system are serious causes of conflict in the community.
The land tenure insecurity was happened during the redistribution of land following the downfall of Dreg and the coming of EPRDF. This redistribution of land could also be attributed to the biased distribution of land by the individuals who were selected to redistribute the land to the community after the EPRDF government assumes power in 1990s (FGD1). The land tenure insecurity was also a cause for rural land conflict:
“Most of the time we are called for witnesses for a conflict between individuals due to the tenure insecurity. The tenure insecurity is happened most of the time due to the mistakes during the land redistribution that means when the land was redistributed; a piece of land was transferred from one individual to another individual with having different plants of another individuals during this question of ownership was aroused. The land redistribution also made by the kinship relationship, the one who have a relative get a better land and who have no relative was disadvantageous in the redistribution. The other reason which leads to land tenure insecurity was that the question of in heritance.”KI2
These individuals were redistributing the land as to their emotional interests. They were providing different sizes of land for a house hold with the same family size. If the households with the same family size but different size of land plots are neighbors, it is most probable that conflict will erupt. Furthermore, There were not any monitoring and evaluation mechanisms made by the wereda and regional land administration staffs and the local government in general as they were not been established very well the time land was redistributed. These individuals were not also trained and well educated, read and write was the great criteria for the selection. But also some of the committee members were included.FGD2 The different rural land conflict which were identified as a rural land conflict in the focus group discussion were inheritance conflict, boundary conflict and the land holding and entitlement respectively.
According to the findings the second main cause for rural land conflict was unclear land entitlement procedure. The rural land entitlement mainly conducted on registration of the rural land and giving “green book” for the land owners. The farmers were considering this book as their assurance of ownership and gave special emphasis for it. This land registration and entitlement procedure were had different problems. According to Birhanu (2005), low support of the respective administrations for program, the absence of continuous monitoring and evaluation at all levels were some of the problems encountered during the registration. The other problem was with regard to extra lands. This idea was supported by one of the key informants “when the conflicting parties come to the court one of the great reasons is that the un clear procedure of rural land entitlement. Some individuals holding the lands of others by giving bribe or other illegal practices”KI3
According to the focus group discussion the land entitlement procedure is a serious cause for rural land conflict. The land registration and certification is not free from problems. Still there are different individuals who are in conflict due to these unclear entitlements. The officials who are represented to perform this entitlement or registration are corrupted and biased for the rich. The risk of corruption and inequalities are very real in land allocation and management. Corruption is seriously affect the land allocation and distribution system (Transparency international, 2004). There are individuals who are holding the communal land and a land of “motekeda” illegally by crating unfair relationship with the officials and the commute which is organized to perform this. FGD3
W/ro Sifirashe is a household living in Dengolt kebele. She had a land inherit from her father which was used by four individual (her father and other three neighbors which are brothers each other). This land was served as a grazing land since the land was redistributed. After her father was died she was using the land for grazing communally with other partners. But when the land registration was begun she was asked the individuals to register the land in each book. The answered her “it is not registered in private books; we can use it without registration”. She was believed them. While after the registration was over they refused her to use the land and saying “you have no the right to use the land because it is our private possession. She had accusing them in the court to use the land. Though when the court investigating the case the land was registered in the book of other three individuals without knowing her. The land registration committee with the kebele land administration and use officers are doing this by crating unfair relationship with the individuals. Even though, she was accuse the individuals the court decided for them because she had no evidence.
4.4 Types of Conflict
Table 4.4 types of conflict frequently happened in Estie WoredaTypes of conflict Respondents answering rank one in % Rank
Inheritance conflict 40.3% 1
Boundary conflict 23.6% 2
Conflict on vacated ownership of land 19.4% 3
Customary or ancestral claim Vs. current used improvement claim 10.4% 4
Intra lineage conflict 6.2% 5
Source: own survey, 2018
Inheritance conflict was the most noticed type of conflict followed by boundary conflict (Table 4.4). Inheritance conflict is mostly happened between family members any supported by the unclear land registration procedure. From the respondents 40.3% of the respondents were put inheritance conflict in rank one. According to the information getting from FGD was that “since there is no clear rule or law regarding to inheritance, individuals are most of the time entered to conflict. Individuals are preparing false inheritance procedures and try to use on behalf of the benefit of other individuals” FGD4. According to the key informant interview inheritance conflict was more serious because it affects the social interaction of the community. It also ruins the life of families and might be leads to another conflict which reached the loss of life of individuals KI5. In addition, unclear transfer of inheritances by parents over their children could create conflicts upon entitlement among brothers and sisters. The living tradition of taking inherited land was seen as an important thing for raising the social value of the inherited individual. In Amhara, land is beyond economic value, it is seen as a means of getting social value and dignity (USAID, 2009). Hence, this may create a conflict over getting a dominance of one on the other. These were the mostly recurred types of conflicts but not the only. FGD1
The second type of conflict was the boundary conflict. This type of conflict – may be seen as economic conflict, was also the conflict noticed in most poor and marginalized people. As boundary conflicts are also seen as a cover for other reasons of conflict as it is easy to start it up. This also could be attributed to the unclear land entitlement procedures, government land appropriation schemes, in effectiveness of enforcement of law and land scarcity and poverty in the community in general. Moreover, the traditional way of demarcating boundaries with short span may burst conflicts on the effort to expand boundaries by settlers. FGD5. A conflict over ownership of the same land with public holdings was also another type of conflict experienced in the study area. This may be observed in the ownership of hills and grazing lands for the purpose of livestock rearing. Conflict over ownership of vacated land (communal land) is another types of conflict for which it happened when individuals used this vacated lands for grazing or farming without the consent of either the government or the community. The head of Estie woreda Rural Land Administration and Use office agreed on this, according to him “the ownership of vacated land was a great source of conflict in the Woreda. The farmers are accused each other in the use of these communal lands and coming to as to solve their disagreements regarding to the use of this lands. Individuals were registered the communal lands as their private property.” KI4
Status of Rural Land Conflict Management
In section the nature of conflict (is conflict negative always), what were the mechanism of conflict resolution, were man headed or female headed household vulnerable for conflict and other related issues.
Table 4.5 the nature of conflict
Is conflict is negative always in nature? Frequency Percent
Yes 144 100
No 0 0
Total 144 100
Source: own survey, 2018
According to the finding all of the respondents were believed conflict is negative in nature. The respondents were thinks that nothing was got from conflict; no one is profited from conflict. It ruins the relationship between families; disturb the social interaction of the people; highly affect the economy of the conflicting party particularly and the country in general.
Table 4.5 conflict affected both men headed and female headed households equally?
Is conflict affected both men headed and female headed households equally? Frequency Percent
Yes 73 50.7
No 71 49.3
Total 144 100
Source: own survey data, 2018
The finding in table 4.5 indicates that rural land conflict is not equally affected both men headed and female headed households. 50.7% of the respondendent believed that rural land conflict was not equally affected both men headed and female headed household rather female headed households are highly venerable for rural land conflict due to cultural and customary dominations or discriminations of the women. When women were entered in to conflict it is difficult for them to get justice due to the reason that cultural domination and the access of institutions which gives faster response for such cases. One of the key informants agreed by this “women were mostly affected by the rural alnd conflict because they considered as physically weak and unable to conduct a strong debate with their rivals. When they entered to conflict it is difficult for them to get justice.”KI7 . One of the women household who enter in to conflict was supported this idea “we women are highly affected by rural land conflict, because the societies highly dominate us to gain our benefits. Due to the great responsibilities we had in the house it was difficult to protect our own benefits through the formal procedures” KI9. Women were denied equal tenure rights with the same degree of security as enjoyed by men, then society as a whole and children in particular, suffer. When women enjoy equal rights, conflicts are reduced, environments are improved and household living conditions are enhanced. Gender discrimination in land rights is culturally engrained (GTZ, 2008 cited in Ashenafi, 2013).This clearly indicates that there is a gap in laws and its implementation in the ground. Ineffective law enforcement could be the main reason for the discrimination of women in the land related issues in the specific study area (Ashenafi, 2013). While the rest 49.3% of the respondents respond that rural land conflict was equally affected both men and women headed households.
Table 4.6 to whom individuals face conflict with
The following table indicates that with which individuals entered in to conflict to be aware about conflict was happened between the relatives, neighbors or with other individuals.
With whom you have faced conflict with? Frequency Percent
With neighbors 50 34.7
With family member 72 50
With someone in the community 22 15.3
Total 144 100
Source: own survey competition, 2018
Conflict may happen either with neighbors, or across family members, or with someone in the community. It is found that about 50% percent of the respondents faced a conflict with family members (table 4.6). This is in matched with the result that the type of conflict mostly occurred was inheritance conflict where family members who thinks the inheritance was belongs to them. This idea was supported by one of the key informants “most of the time the conflict is aroused between the family members, when we see the cases inheritance conflict takes the precedence than other cases” KI8. On the other hand, about 34.7% (table 4.6) of the respondents faced conflict with the neighbors who shared the same border in different plot of lands. Only about (15.8%) of respondents responded that they faced a conflict with someone in the community.
Table 4.7 frequency distribution of ways of conflict management
What is your choice of conflict management? Frequency percent
Formal 14 9.7
Informal(traditional or customary conflict resolution) 112 77.8
Mixed conflict management mechanism 18 12.5
Total 144 100
Source: own survey, 2018
According to table 4.7, 77.8% 0f the respondents responded they have chosen informal(traditional or customary) mechanism of conflict management, 12.5% of the respondents chosen mixed mechanism and the rest 9.7% 0f the respondents chosen formal mechanism without any priority. Therefore, the informal way was the commonly chosen means of conflict management practices. According to Ashenafi(2013),during ancient times, where there was not well established formal way of conflict management, the traditional or customary way is the only and preferred one. The legal system was very poor in terms of reaching the community and its structural and institutional incapability besides to the inexistence of land policies, laws and regulations if it exists otherwise there was no such a formally established system. Moreover, since formal education has introduced to Ethiopia during late 19th century, there was no skilled manpower that can either judge based on legal documents or prepare legal documents and act accordingly. This may lead to habituate and recognize the informal way of management as their priori (Ashenafi, 2013).
One of the focus group discussions explained that:
“Regarding the way of conflict resolution and preference of the local community, it was found that the customary way of conflict management was primarily chosen by the community because of the fact that the resolution is based on the win- win policy- that benefits both sides. Hence, the legal land conflict management would consider supporting the informal one on the assumption that it supports government on doing such routine works. It could also reduce the cost that the government could incur to manage rural land conflicts. On top of this, it is important to give recognition as much as the mechanism leads to sustainable conflict management. The evidence from the survey also revealed that most of the conflicting parties selected customary one as it is based on win-win and acceptable approach that lead to sustainable conflict management and establishing of strong relationship with the community.”FGD2
From this we can understand that the community is selected the formal mechanism as a last option, their primary option is the traditional conflict mechanisms. When they choose the formal mechanisms they faced for different problems. There are delays in decision making mechanisms, there is no win-win approach in formal mechanisms, there are also decisions made by false information (false witness). But in recent time most of the conflicts are gaining its final decisions through formal mechanism because these traditional or customary mechanisms are not supported by formal mechanisms. If the case is decided by traditional mechanisms and one party taking the case to the formal mechanism, the formal court completely denied the decision of the informal mechanism KI3. This case is clearly seen in The Revised Rural Land Administration and Use Determination Proclamation of the Amhara National Regional State, Proclamation No.252/2017 article 52 gives the power to resolve rural land dispute is given primarily for conflicting parties in negotiation (agreement), secondary the power of seen the rural land case was given for the courts (from Woreda court to the high court). The proclamation totally excludes supporting the traditional mechanisms in managing rural land conflict even though they are preferable by the community.
The respondents also totally agreed that they faced delayed when they try to resolve conflicts in the court. The case was taken an average of 2-3 years from the beginning of the first day the case was seen up to the closing of the case all the appeal processes are finished. There are different reasons for the delay, According to the key informant “yes the cases were delayed here in the court because of different reasons such as the accusers were not totally fulfilled the evidences, the witnesses are not polite to come on the given period, lack of personnel in the court proportional to the case, the rural land issue is complicated by itself and so on” KI8. Therefore, the institutions are not enough capable in resolving rural land conflict.
4.6 Transparency and Accountability of Local Government Institutions in Rural Land Conflict Management.
The role of local government institutions in rural land conflict management is depends up on the level of transparency and accountability of the institutions. According to Molen, the transparency of the local land government institutions was attempted to measure using the criteria of availability and access of information to community about the land ownership, value, and its use, availability of standard procedures, recording, and dissemination of information, supervision by local authorities, and the possibility to appeal as are noted in Van der Molen, (2007). These institutions were become acceptable in the community in the way that they were highly interacting with the community.
Table 4.8 Level of Accountability of the local government institutions
Criteria/ measurements Responses Total
Strongly disagree disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq.
The local government institutions are responsive as demand arise from the community – – 79 54.9 34 23.6 31 21.5 – – 144 100
There are mechanism for questioning and explaining the ongoing land activities in the community – – 58 40.3 49 34 37 25.7 – – 144 100
The community is involved in every land related issues and have a say on it – – 39 27 42 29.2 63 43.8 – – 144 100
Kebele land administrator and land judges are elected by the community and could be fired by the community if necessary – – 81 56.2 40 27.8 23 16 – – 144 100
Source: own survey, 2018
According to the factors used to evaluate the accountability of the local land government institutions, the land the land government institutions were not found responsive as demand arises from the community because they do not give a quick solution for different cases. 54.9% of the respondents respond that they are not responsive for the demand of the community. In addition to this, there were not mechanisms for questioning and explaining the ongoing land activities in the community since 40.3% of the respondents disagree on the mechanisms of questioning the local government institutions. Besides, the community was involved in every land related issues and had a say on it, 43.8% of the respondents were agreed that the society were involved in the land related activities while the rest 56.2% of the respondents responds “neither agree nor disagree” and “disagree” which indicates that he level of participation of the society in each and every land related issues are problematic. The societies have no a strong decision making capacity in every land related issues. Moreover, Kebele land administrators and land judges were not elected by the community and could be fired by the community if necessary. The finding indicated that 56.2% of the respondents responded that the kebele land administration committees are not elected with the full participation of the community; they do not fired by the community if necessary with the consent of the government officials. The FGD group were also strengthen this idea because they said that the rural land administrative committees were not selected by the full participation of the individuals, rather someone who serves as a social court before also assigned as a rural land administrative committee today FGD5.Currently there were not land related judges assigned in the society because the power of seen the case related to land conflict was vested for only the formal judges according to the proclamation no.252/2017 of the Amhara national regional State Revised Rural Land Administration and Use proclamation. These judges are also appointed in federal and regional level only.
Case 2 The case of 366 households in Dengolt, Mekane Eyesus and Achikan Kebele administrations
There were 366 households they were in debate with the local government Institutions concerning he land issues such as the municipality of mekane Eyesus town, estie woreda Rural land Administration and Use office and Estie woreda court. When the Mekane Eyesus town administration municipality was distributing a land for the towen dwellers by taking a rural land from Estie woreda Rural land administration which was holding in the hands of the farmers. But, after distributing the land the farmers were gathered and asking a fair compensation for the plough land, the response was not satisfactory for them.
They were Taking the issue to the woreda rural land and Administration and Use office to solve the problem to gain a fair compensation and in demand of the office to protect their rights of gaining a fair compensation for a plot of land where they paid a tax. But the response that was given by the woreda office was “I have no awareness about the issue and you can bargain with the town municipality”. Later the households went the case to the Zone Rural land Administration and Use office in demand of their right. The zonal office wrote a letter to the woreda office to resolve the problem in favor of the farmers, but the woreda office was failed to answer. Lastly these farmers were went he case to the woreda court and accused both the town administration and the woreda Rural land Administration and use office while the court was failed to answer their questions. The court answered this case is not seen by the formal procedure of the law rather it should be finished through administrative mechanisms. The household were still in problems either they do not get a fair compensation or not using their plot of land for farming.
The above case indicated that the local government institutions are not responsive for the community. They are not developing the habit of check and balance between them, rather than supporting each other in order to gain a political profit.
Table 4.9 The transparency level of local Government Institutions
Criteria/ measurements Responses Total
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq.
Land information is always available in the community 1 0.7 64 44.4 38 26.4 41 28.5 – – 144 100
There is open access to information about ownership, value and use of land – – 72 50 36 25 36 25 – – 144 100
There are standardized procedures for determination, recording and dissemination of information – – 43 29.9 73 50.7 28 19.4 – – 144 100
There is a supervision by the local authorities – – 49 34 55 38.2 40 27.8 – – 144 100
There is always a possibility of appeal – – 29 20.1 43 29.9 72 50 – – 144 100
Source: own survey, 2018
Accordingly, only about 28.5%of the respondents (Table 4.9) were found that they agreed on the availability of land information, while 26.4% of the respondents were not have wither there is information regarding to land or not and the rest 44.4% of the respondents did not agree the availability of information regarding to land issues. Moreover, about 50% percent did not agree with the open access of information about land ownership, value, and use. It can be asserted in the other way that, there is no system for open access that may be due to the lack of professionals that can handle all the land issues with efficiency. About 50.7% respondents also affirmed that they do not have the awareness on the availability of standardized procedures for determination, recording, and dissemination of information about rural land.20.9% of the respondents were totally disagree on the existence of standardized procedures for determination, recording and dissemination of information that supported for the disagreement by majority of the respondents on the non-existence of open access to information.
Concerning to the supervision by the local authorities the finding indicated that 34% of the respondents did not agree for the existence of supervision. In addition to this 38.2% of the respondents were neither agree nor disagree and only 27.8% of the respondents were agreed by the existence of supervision. If there is not enough supervision of authorities, the transparency problem could be exacerbated. It is expected that with lack of open access to information in addition to the lack of standard procedures of recording and dissemination of information about rural land, the supervision may be low. If it is so, the transparency problem could be seen easily. And, what was found from the survey, supervision was very low. Lack of check and balance even may enhance to corruption where it was found that staffs of local administration are corrupted and the rural community may develop suspicion about the fair management of a conflict. However, the possibility of appeal may reduce the doubt regarding fairness even though appealing could lead to waste of time, energy, property and other resources which were described by respondents as the mere challenges of conflict management through legal procedures especially to the poor and the marginalized groups.
4.7 The Structure of Local Government Institutions
Availability of well-designed government structures and procedures about rural land conflict management could boost transparency (Ashenafi, 2013). However, with unclear government structures, the role of government institutions in conflict management and the level of transparency were found very low. According to the FGD, Local government institutions could be well structured to address the needs of the society. In the decentralization of power in Ethiopia most of the government structures are structured up to the kebele level but not all. For example the structure of the judiciary remains at woreda level. The absence of formal judiciary at woreda level strongly challenges the conflict management system in the woreda. The conflicting parties are highly venerable for extra costs and wastage of time. FGD4.The majority of the respondents also did not agree on the support provided to the community by the local government institution, due to the fact that the available institutions were not adequately equipped with skilled and experienced personnel. It is true that inefficiency may be the feature of these institutions if they lack the necessary element of skilled and experienced personnel, where it is easy to see their supportive nature as low.FGD2 The head of estie worda court also agreed by this idea “due to the lack of skilled man power it is difficult to address the problems of the society. We have a shortage of personnel which affects as to provide a quick response for the communit”KI8 Moreover, there is only one Rural Land Administration Officer at kebele level which is difficult to cover within a single individuals.
Besides, it was found that local land governance structures and institutions were weak in terms of the coverage, and capability to reach and serve the community. Most of the respondents agreed that the institutions at kebele and wereda level are nonresponsive, weak, biased to the rich and non-participative in nature (see table 4.8 and 4.9). This could be attributed to the incapability of the local land governance and lack of experience of the land governance staffs working in the structure and specifically in the institutions at both kebele and wereda levels.
For the questions which was prepared to measure the relationship between the local government institutions and the community about 49(34%) and 55(38.2%) of the respondents revealed that the relationship between the local institutions and the community was very weak and weak respectively. This may be due to the weak structure of institutions equipped with unskilled, inexperienced and less motivated staffs that could not be able to enhance the relationship. Besides to the relationship of the local government institutions with the community, knowing the existing status of the structures of institutions is vital on assessing the local land governance at the community level.
Table 4.10 The agreement of respondents on the structure of local government institutions
The role of local government structures in rural land conflict management Responses Total
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq.
Weak – – 24 16.4 30 20.8 84 58.3 6 4.2 144 100
Ineffective – – 48 33.3 33 22.9 49 34 14 9.7 144 100
Non responsive – – 26 18.1 50 34.7 51 35.4 17 11.8 144 100
Corrupt – – 11 7.6 23 16 104 72.2 6 4.2 144 100
Do not encourage participation – = 36 25 25 17.4 60 41.7 23 16 144 100
Not transparent – – 34 23.6 25 17.4 60 41.7 25 17.4 144 100
Biased to the rich 13 9 48 33.3 44 30.6 39 27.1 – – 144 100
Source: own survey, 2018
The finding identified that the structure of local government institutions in terms of managing rural land conflict were weak, ineffective, non-responsive, corrupt, not encouraging for participation, not transparent, biased towards rich, and highly discriminating the poor and marginalized groups of the community. Table 4.10 indicates 58.3% of the respondents agreed on the weakness of local government institutions, 34% and 35.4% of the respondents also agreed on the ineffectiveness and non-responsiveness the institution. Especially 72.2% of the respondents agreed that the local government institutions are corrupt. Corruption also highly affects the efficiency and effectiveness of the institutions. Corruption has a negative effect on the gear of a development, hinders any advancement in economic growth and democracy (UNDP, 2004). 41.7 % 0f the respondents also respond they are not transparent, which indicates they perform their duties without participating the community. Most of the respondents also agreed that these institutions were biased to the rich meaning discriminating the poor and marginalized groups.
Table 4.11 Attitudes and skills of experts and heads of kebele and woreda rural land administration and use office
Criteria Responses Total
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq. % Freq.
They have good arbitration skill – – 78 54.2 31 21.5 35 24.3 – – 144 100
They have enough experience/experienced 13 9 48 33.3 44 30.6 39 27.1 – – 144 100
Updating themselves on formal and informal training – – 38 26.4 96 66.9 10 6.9 – – 144 100
They are willing and respectful to support the conflicting parties 23 16 43 29.9 33 22.9 45 31.2 – – 144 100
They have the energy and commitment 33 22.9 52 36.1 32 22.2 27 18.8 – – 144 100
Strongly believes in participation and representation of the poor and marginalized 18 12.5 38 26.4 71 49.4 17 11.8 – – 144 100
Source: own survey, 2018
The finding indicates that the attitude and skills of different officials and experts in rural land conflict was problematic. Most of the respondents believed that the officials were having no commitment and energy in order to manage conflict. Due to the lack of confidence, energy, commitment and weak attitude towards the capacity of conflict management the institutions were failed to manage conflict. Thus, based on criteria of having good arbitration skills, adequacy of experience, having updated themselves, willingness and respect to support conflicting parties, the commitment they have, having a belief to customary solution, and strong believe in participation and representation of the poor, it was found that the respondents did not have a confidence.
4.8 Challenges of Local Government Institutions in Rural land Conflict Management
There were many challenges regarding local government institutions in rural land conflict management. There were different factors regarding to the challenge of local government institutions in rural land conflict management, some of them were found that unclear land entitlement procedures, gap in enforcement of the law, unclear government land provision schemes, Capacity and experience of individuals in the land governance at local level, and Low coverage of government institutions were the major challenges of rural land conflict management raised by the focus group discussants.
As discussed by the focus group discussion unclear land entitlement procedure was the first problem/challenge of the institutions. This unclear land entitlement paves the way for the happening of another challenge like boundary instability among the land holders. The unclear entitlement was happened because of the complicated land registration registration process. The land registration was conducted by the committee who was not enough educated. The head of woreda Rural Land Administration and Use assured that the registration process is not still finished which makes still difficult the office to manage the conflict.
The accessibility of the judiciary in the kebele was another challenge for rural land conflict management. It was difficult to reach on the specific time and place due to the absence of trained officials, the community have no the access of the judiciary nearly. To get the service it is obligatory to come to the woreda unless it was impossible to get the service. The kebele and sub kebele rural land administrative committees were having not enough knowledge and training the land related conflicts.
5.1 Conclussion, Summary and Recommendation
The research, which was dealt with the role of local government institutions in rural land conflict management, was used to employ both qualitative and quantitative approaches with a research design of case study to come up with key findings. In terms of sampling, purposive sampling with proportional representations was employed. This study was includes four kebeles in Estie Woreda purposefully selected in which conflict was repeatedly happend. Purposive sampling and proportional representation was used to select the 144 respondents who had experienced conflicts in the last three years. The key informants and group discussion members also selected purposefully. Accordingly, the following conclusions have been drawn from the findings.
The study revealed that unclear land entitlement procedure was the first source of conflict. This unclear procedure may be originated from the lack of clear procedures, guidelines, policies towards rural land, and low implementation capacity of implementers. Due to the lack of awareness of individuals, the corrupted officials, and the unsafe administration of the communal lands the entitlement procedure was difficult and unclear. The land tenure insecurity was also a serious cause of conflict in Estie woreda because of the biased distribution by the individuals who were selected to redistribute the land to the community in 1990s after the EPRDF government assumed power. This may create unclear demarcation of boundaries among neighbors that could lead to conflicts in the meantime. Due to the unclear entitlement and biased redistribution of the land which leads to land holding insecurity inheritance conflict and boundary conflict were the frequented happened types in the Woreda.
It was found that most of the rural land conflicts raised at local level were managed formally, though the preference of the community was the informal method of conflict management. This may be due to the advantage it had over its counterpart of the formal system in terms of time, money, maintaining relationship of the litigants, and its superiority over creating win-win solutions.
The effectiveness and efficiency of the local government institutions was measured by their transparency and accountability level. Based on the factors used to measure transparency and accountability in the questionnaire, the study revealed that both of them were found at their minimal level. The local government institutions were found weak in terms of coverage and capability to reach and serve the poor and marginalized group, both the Woreda Rural Land Administration and Use office and the court. This might affect the effectiveness and efficiency of those institutions in managing rural land conflict and worsening the prevailed land inequality and livelihood instability. The officials who were working in the institutions were also found that they lack knowledge, experience, and motivation to know about the policies, laws and regulations of land, they have a low arbitration skill and they do not updated their knowledge through formal and informal training especially the members of land administration committees.
There were different factors that challenged the local government institutions in managing rural land conflict. Among the challenges that the study had revealed the unclear land entitlement procedures and the complicated nature of the land cases were identified as the most challenging. This was because the land registration and entitlement was done by uneducated ad untrained individuals without giving continuous training. Gap in the enforcement of the law, unclear government land provision schemes, capacity and experience of individuals (lack of skilled personnel in both RLAU office and the court) in the land governance at local level, and low coverage of government institutions were also other challenges found by the study.
Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations were forwarded, nut these recommendations are only the view points of the researcher in accordance with the findings of the study:
As we see from the finding, the local government structures are weak and biased. So, government should strengthen the structures of these institutions via increasing the coverage towards poor and marginalized groups, updating the knowledge of the officials and personnel by providing trainings, enhancing participations, and inclusiveness. It is better the regional and zonal officers continuously supervise the working of the institutions at Woeda and kebele level beyond only accepting monthly or annual reports.
There are more delays in conflict management at kebele, wereda level. This is mainly because each simple case went to the woreda court and the organ which was there in kebele is unable to settle the conflict. Moreover, the experience and knowledge gap of the wereda court judges in relation to the diverse local contexts was another factor for the delays. Therefore, the mobile benches better to see continuously the cases in order to avoid the delay times, the branch of the court are better to adjusted at some selected kebele level, and giving the simple land issues to seen by the Social courts which was before by equipping the social court in knowledge and training might decrease the delay times.
The land registration and entitlement procedure was ineffective and inefficient; it was repeatedly changed and was done manually by untrained personnel which become a great source of conflict. Therefore, this registration and entitlement should be registered formally by using technology (GIS) which is necessary to avoid the insecurity problems.
As we see from the findings communal lands were sources of conflict in the woreda because these communal lands do not get proper protection from the government institutions, when individuals are using these lands for their personal benefit it leads to a conflict. So, it is better to distribute those arable communal lands for the land less youths and un farming communal lands should also given for the youth to protect and use on it.
The study indicated that most of the land conflicts were settled legally even though most respondents were in favor of the informal one. Hence, the legal method should accredit the customary way of conflict management in the litigation process as its main input provider. So that, these customary institutions should first see the cases, and if it is beyond their capacity, they submit it to the formal institutions in charge by attaching their recommendations, the wereda court. Any case that is not first submitted to the customary institution and seen by it should not be directly filed at the legal institutions. This mainly reduces the time and resource wastage besides to the maintenance of relationship of litigants. However, this should be backed by the national and regional governments through a policy framework that enables to establish a policy and set a framework. The local government and people should also strengthen their role at re-establishing the informal court. Because the Revised Amhara National Regional State Proclamation om Rural Land Administration and Use proclamation 252/2017 totally forbidden the role of informal or traditional mechanism in rural land conflict management.
Corruption was also another factor which challenges the local government institutions to manage rural land conflict because the officials at kebele and woreda level were corrupted. Hence, it is better to create a continuous awareness about the society how to fight against corruption and the corrupt officials, and penalize and make accountable those corrupted officials in a clear legal procedure.
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