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109 Seiten, Note: 3.68
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Maps
List of Acronyms
Glossary of Local Terms
1.1. Background of the Study
1.2. Statement of the Problem
1.3.1 General Objective
1.3.2. Specific Objectives
1.4. Research Methodology
1.4.1. The Research Approach
1.4.2. Data Collection Methods
22.214.171.124 Semi - Structured Interviews
126.96.36.199. Informal Interview
188.8.131.52. Focus Group Discussions
184.108.40.206. Non Participant Observation
220.127.116.11. Case Studies
1.4.3. Method of Data Analysis
1.4.4. Ethical Considerations
1.5. Scope of the Study
1.6. Significance of the Study
1.7. Limitations and Field Experiences
1.8. Organization of the Thesis
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURES
2.1. Definition of Key Words: Border, Borderland and Conflict
2.2. Theoretical Perspectives and Literature Reviews on Land Conflict
2.2. 1.Resource Scarcity Theory
2.2.2. Guerin’s Approach
2.2.3. Territorial Identity Approach
2.2.4. Competing Views against Borderland Conflict
2.2.5. Causes of Land based Conflicts
2.2.6. The Role of Border in Land Conflict
2.2.7. Consequences of Cross Border Land Conflict
2.2.8. Mechanisms of Land based Conflicts Resolution
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY AREA
3.1 Geographical Location and Physical Features
3.2. Socio-Demographic Characteristics
3.3. Economic Activities
3.4. Land Tenure System
CROSS BORDER LAND CONFLICT
4.1. Background to Cross Border Land Conflict in Metema Woreda
4.2. Uderlying Causes of Cross Border Farmland Conflict
4.2. 1. Seasonal Ethiopian Farmers
4. 2.2. The Problem of Metema Woreda Land Holding Reform Process
4.2.3. The Present Ethiopian Government Large Scale Agricultural Policy
4.2.4. Illicit Firearm Availability along the Border
THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE BORDER FOR THE CROSS BORDER LAND CONFLICT
5.1. Borderland People’s Perception (imagination) of the Border
5.2 The Contribution of the Border in Cross Border Land Conflict
5.3. Competing Claims About the Precise Location of the Ethio- Sudan Border
5.3.1 The Claim of Ethiopian Borderland people
5.3.2. The Sudanese Claim
CONSEQUENCES OF CROSS BORDER LAND CONFLICT
6.1. Loss of Life, Property Destruction and Retaliation
6.2. Infrastructures Hindrance to Development in the Borderland
6.3. Socio-Economic Impacts on People in the Borderland
6.4. Impacts on Farmworkers
6.5. Impacts on Women
6.6. Impacts on Farmers Housing Condition and Socio Cultural Organizations
6.7. Land Tax Burden on Ethiopian Legal Farmers and Investors and Resentment
LAND CONFLICT RESOLUTION MECHANISMS ALONG THE ETHIO- SUDAN BORDER
7. 1. How to Resolve the Border Contestation?
7. 2. The Nature of Cross Border Conflict Resolution through Government Bodies and Local Elders
7.3. The Effectiveness of Cross Border Conflict Resolution
It is my great pleasure to thank all people who helped me in the process of completing this thesis. But of all, I would like to thank Almighty God, which gave me strength and patience to attend my education with commitment and to be successful throughout the journey of my study. And also I thank God for saving my life from a serious car accident on April 30, 2018 and let me get back to my research work.
Next, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my benevolent advisor, Dr. Getachew Senishaw, for his constructive comments, guidance and encouragement throughout the course of the study. I really thank him for his consistent polite behavior while he was guiding me. Without his innumerable effort, this paper could not have the present flow and quality. My heartfelt appreciation also goes to Kiya Gezahegne, a staff and PHD student at Addis Ababa University, for her expertise and sisterly invaluable guidance and support during my data collection and writing up process.
It is also my pleasure to thank Metema woreda officials, farmers, investors and residents who involved in the study, for their willingness to give me valuable information about the issue under study. My sincere gratitude also goes to my benevolent family and friends who were supporting and encouraging me throughout my study.
Finally, I would like to thank NORHED, for being a sponsor for my Masters education altogether. Without the financial support of such organization, accomplishment of this thesis would not have been possible.
The problem of cross border farmland conflict along the Ethio-Sudan border has been an alarming issue but it has never got scholars’ attention. Therefore, the study aimed to investigate cross border land based conflict in Metema woreda along the Ethio-Sudan border. Specifically, the study investigated the underlying causes of cross border land based conflict, the role of the border in the conflict, its consequences and conflict resolution mechanisms. To achieve the aforementioned aims, the study employed qualitative research method of data collection which includes of informal and semi structured interviews, focus group discussions, case studies and non-participant observation. The study has found out that Ethiopian farmers who seasonally come from different areas of Amhara region to the Ethio-Sudan contested borderland is among the causes of the conflict. In addition, the problem of the recent Metema woreda landholding reform process and the present Ethiopian government investment led agricultural policy are also the reasons behind the conflict in the area. Further, the conflict has been intensified by the proliferations of illegal firearms in the borderland. Moreover, the prevalence of unclear and contested international border has made the conflict to be worse. As a result, the conflict results death, revenge, property destruction and creates adverse impact on cross border socio-economic interactions of people in the borderland. In order to resolve the stated conflict, official centered conflict resolution approach has been highly used in the area. However, occasionally local elders are invited by borderland officials to be involved in resolving the conflict. Generally, the contested nature of the Ethio-Sudan border plays an adverse impact in the cross border land based conflict.
Figure 1: A border lander at his farmstead holding illegal firearm
Figure2: Gwang River, which serve as Ethio-Sudan international border
Figure 3: Amira River bridge, the border of Metema Yohannes - Gallabat towns
Figure 4: Laloo Tree
Figure 5: Contractual place of workers with employers
Figure 6: Borderland temporary farmsteads
Figure 7: Welcoming the Sudanese at the border when they came in to Metema Yohannes town to plant memorial trees
Map 1: Geographical location of Metema Woreda
Map 2: Map of Tumet investment area, along the Ethio-Sudan border
Map 3: Delelo investment area, along the Ethio -Sudan border
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
In Africa, a large majority of the population rely on agriculture and thus access to land is vital for their livelihood strategy (Anseeuw and Alden, 2010; Ansoms and Claessens, 2011). Thus, land in Africa is a valuable, and immovable resource of limited quantity and is a central element in the varied and complex social relations of production and reproduction within which conflict between individuals and groups are bred (United States Agency for international Development [USAID], 2005).
In the past, many African countries were blessed with relative land abundance. Today this situation has changed radically in many of the African countries. At present, people are increasingly competing to get access to arable land and pastures, and land conflicts are becoming more and more common across the continent (Lund, Odgaard and Sjaastad, 2006). Competing claims to land and natural resources and inequitable access to land as well as inadequate access for the poor has been, and is, a source of conflict in a number of African societies (Derzwan, 2011). Particularly, in border areas, conflicts are common between communities and which can be followed by armed fights to pursue their claims to a parcel of land. Broadly, such conflicts have been fought at local, provincial, and national levels. However, the impact of the conflict is immense at the local level, among the borderland communities (Alao, 2007).
In addition, the failure of African governments to recognize and resolve lingering disputes emerging from land issue has triggered extended protests and violence, disrupting vital production and in some cases even destabilizing once venerated economic and political success stories in Africa (Anseeuw and Alden, 2010).
Similar to the rest of Africa, Eastern Africa, is the scene of many conflicts related to land and natural resources. Land conflicts arise from the increasing demand due to population growth and as a result of continued depletion of these resources (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa [UNECA], 2012; Kironde, 2012).
As indicated in the report of UNECA and UN HABITAT (2012), land and conflict are closely linked, since land is a highly desired resource by communities and individuals. In Eastern Africa, land, associated with its inequitable access, degradation and demographic pressures, has been a key driver for conflict. Besides, most countries in Eastern Africa have deficits in good land governance including legal pluralism, failure in enhancing land tenure security, state sovereignty over land, poor conflict resolution mechanisms, non-transparency and non-accountability particularly, in allocating large tracts of land and rights (UNECA, 2012). However different the causes are, land conflict creates extensive negative effects on economic, social, spatial and ecological development. This is true in developing countries and countries in transition, where institutions are weak, opportunities for economic gain through illegal actions are widespread and many poor people lack access to farmland (Wehrmann, 2008).
In Eastern Africa, cross border and regional land use conflicts include land tenure and property rights, land use conflicts, migration and cross border disputes over contested regions (Tech, 2012). For instance, Abdi (2012 ) stated that over the last three or four decades, the border areas of Kenya have been a major arena for a variety of conflicts, associated with competition over access to land, water and other natural resources due to increasing demographic and environmental pressure. Land conflict also involves struggle overland to retain or to capture state power (Boone, 2012). Hence, cross border conflicts can be about borders that are uncertain or unaccepted. Therefore, cross border conflict is occur not due to mere land resource demand but it also occurred because of a question of national sovereignty as well (Ramsbotham and Zartman, 2011).
Lack of congruence between state borders remains a perennial source of border dispute and conflicts (Anderson and O’Dowd, 1999). In case of Ethiopia and Sudan, their border was delimited single- handedly by the British political commissioner, which has been created border dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia for many decades. Still now it is the cause of the on-and-off tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia (Baharu, 1990; Teshome, 2009).
Administratively, government structures in borderlands tend to be based on the political wants of the center, and thus designed according to national templates. Therefore, local government officials were clearly oriented towards their respective capital cities and respond to cross border conflict according to the order given by the central state (Porter, 2015).
Generally, as cross border land based conflict is a common problem along the Ethiopia- Sudan border in Metema woreda, the study was carried out to investigate such cross border land based conflicts.
Land is a fundamental economic and symbolic resource for the vast majority of African peoples, representing a key building block for societies (Anseeuw and Alden, 2010; Ejigu, 2006). Given such importance, land is a conflict ridden resource. Hence, among others, conflicts about land occur between neighbors over borders ( Lund, Odgaard and Sjaastad, 2006 ) . Cross border rural conflicts over land have been going on over a long period in Africa, but very little scholarly attention has been given to them. At the present, most such conflicts go unnoticed and unreported unless large-scale killing and injuries takes place and the state intervenes militarily (Bujra, 2002).
Specifically , in the border areas of East Africa, there have been increasingly frequent conflicts over land claims and border issues. The issues become severe mostly when the local communities are denied the opportunities to benefit from the land in their locality (Okumu, 2010). As most borders has a colonial legacy, the intention to change the historical border or to claim territory which fell on the other side of the colonial border has been a source of cross border conflict in many countries (Bujira, 2002). For instance, according to Asebe (2016), there had been cross border land based conflicts along the Ethio-Kenya border; however, such border based conflicts were exacerbated by political actors who influence communities’ perception against others.
In Ethiopia, land is the major means of livelihood in which more than eighty percent of populations rely on. Thus, people have high interest for land. Due to this reason, people try to access land in any possible ways and desire to control their farmland using violent means whenever they come across people who have similar interest over times. In fact, the cross border land conflict is also caused by the question of national sovereignty.
Increasingly, land based conflicts have been occurring along the Ethio-Sudan borderlands specifically in Metema woreda since the 1980’s. This period is associated with population increase, high demand for food, and the creation of new type of agriculture-industry connections (Ansoms, and Claessens, 2011), which increases land demand among different categories of people more than ever before. Since then, along the border, both Ethiopian and Sudanese farmers’ and investors started to pick opposite claims over the ownership of land in the borderland. This is because, as Mulatu (2015) noted, Ethiopia and Sudan share a common border about 750 kilometers which was drawn through a series of treaties between Ethiopia Anglo-Egyptian condominiums rule. Nonetheless, to date, this boundary has not been clearly demarcated. This created controversy over the ownership of lands along the Ethio-Sudan border area, which has been the reason behind the conflict.
Studies have been conducted on cross border land based conflict. Among them, Meala (2011) studied the eruption of conflict in the late 1990’s along the Ethio –Eritrea border but her focus was at inter-state level territorial cross border conflict. Besides, Asebe (2016) studied cross border inter-group conflicts along the Ethio-Kenya border accentuating on the political actors that mobilized people so as to change peoples’ perception on their identity against others, resource availability, ownership, utilization right and governance. Moreover, Tesfaye (2017) studied cross border inter- group conflicts along the Ethio - Kenya border, but his study highly focused on the dynamics of inter-communal conflicts in Moyale. Furthermore, Cascao (2013) studied cross border land and water resource conflict, which has been existed in Gambella due to the immigration of people from South Sudan and the rest of Ethiopia. However, his focus was on how conflicts exponentially increased due to political motivations of people. Even more, Tasew (2017) conducted study in the Ethio-South Sudan border accentuating on the how state intervention softened up or weakened the local system of conflict resolution.
The aforementioned studies gave due attention to the inter-state conflicts (Meala), the changes of inter- group cross border conflict (Asebe, Tesfye and Cascao) even though their emphasis differ from each other as stated above. Above all, the aforementioned studies were done on borderland areas where similar ethnic groups existed on both sides of the border. Therefore, the roles of border in cross border land based conflict in distinct borderland communities remained untouched. Hence, as the cross border land based conflict along the Ethio-Sudan border has been common between distinct communities, the study aimed to fill in the aforementioned contextual and empirical gaps of knowledge.
The main aim of the study was to investigate cross border land based conflicts in Metema woreda along the Ethiopia - Sudan border.
- To describe the causes of cross border land based conflict in Metema woreda along the Ethiopia- Sudan border.
- To explore the role of the border in cross border land conflict along the Ethiopia-Sudan border.
- To describe the consequences of cross border land conflicts in the study area.
- To understand conflict resolution mechanisms employed in the area to address cross border land based conflicts.
Kothari (2004) states that research methodology is the study of how research is done scientifically and a way to systematically solve the research problem. Thus, the methodology part describes the full picture of the research procedure on how the research under study was investigated. Therefore, in this research, the research methodology comprises the research approach, methods of data collection, scopes of the study, methods of data analysis and the ethical considerations followed in the data gathering and writing up processes.
Khotari (2004) argued, qualitative approach to research is vital for subjective assessment of attitudes, opinions and behaviors of the people concerning a particular issue under study. This study; thus, used qualitative research approach which helped to investigate the issue under study in depth.
As Vanderstoep and Johnston (2009) argued, when the research aim is more of narrative understanding, a qualitative strategy is preferable since it provides a richer and more in-depth understanding of the issue under investigation. Besides, Marvasti (2004) argues that qualitative research provides detailed description and analysis of the quality, or the substance, of the human experience about a particular situation. It is with this rationale I employed qualitative method, which helped me to describe the causes of cross border land conflict and to explore the role of the Ethio-Sudan border in land based conflict, redressing mechanisms of conflicts and consequences of land conflict. As the aim of this study was to understand the opinions and experiences of people about land based conflict by establishing rapport with informants in a natural setting, qualitative method was highly relevant. At the same time, it gave informants an opportunity to express their ideas and feelings freely in their own words. In other words, quantitative method may not be highly relevant for the context of the study as it may hinder respondents from expressing their idea freely. So, it is better to employ qualitative method and it was the rationally for exclusively employing qualitative research method. In line with this, Dawson (2002) states that qualitative research approach is crucial to study the attitudes, behaviors and experiences of research participants by spending plenty of time with them.
For this study, the data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were obtained from Ethiopian side concerned government officials, farmers, investors, and farm workers. On the other hand, the secondary data were collected through consulting different scientific works by previous scholars. Therefore, books, journals, conference papers, articles and internet websites were the sources for such information used in this study. To achieve the intended aims of this study from the primary data sources, information were gathered from the natural settings using in-depth interviews, informal interviews, focus group discussions, observation as well as case studies. The reason for using all such instruments for data collection was to triangulate the findings of the study so that the data can be accurate. In the same vein, Bloor, et al . (2001) argued, triangulation helps to make cross check; the corroboration of findings produced via one method by findings produced via another method, indicating that those findings are unlikely to expose to instrument biases.
Semi -structured interview offers an opportunity to develop a conversation along one or more lines without most of the usual chatter that accompanies such talk. At the same time, through the use of open-ended questions, the interviewee is given the chance to shape his or her own responses or even to change the direction of the interview altogether (Fife, 2005). Therefore, taking in to account such advantage, semi-structured interview was conducted with Ethiopian borderland officials, farmers, investors as well as farmworkers. Official informants were selected using purposive sampling while other informants such as farmers, workers and investors were selected based on a snowball sampling technique. Accordingly, ten officials, six investors, seven farmworkers and fifteen farmers were interviewed. Majority of informants were males since female informants were not easily available in the area, as the farming place and residential places are in different places. Females are confined at home in different parts of Amhara region, so accessing female informants was very difficult for research data. Nonetheless, for interview, I included four females who had farmland and lived in Metema Yohannes town during data collection.
I determined numbers of each category of informants based on the saturation of data. As Bloor and Wood (2006) and Vanderstoep and Johnston (2009) stated, the size of a qualitative sample is considered as sufficient when the criterion of redundancy is met and this is done when an additional informant does not significantly add new information and understanding. These interviews were held for an average of one hour and thirty minutes with each respective informant. This method of data collection helped to obtain information about the causes of land based conflict, the impacts of the contested Ethiopia-Sudan border in land based conflict, about the implications of land conflicts and the nature as well as effectiveness of conflict redressing systems.
As the study is aimed to provide an ethnographic account, the semi-structured interview has helped me to understand the opinion, feelings and experiences of different socio-economic groups on cross border land based conflicts. Therefore, this data collection method offered freedom to informants to express their ideas and enabled me to obtain detailed data using probing questions. At the time of the interview, I was taking notes and asked probing questions.
As Bernard (2006) argues, informal interview is crucial to get detail and accurate information on sensitive issues such as conflict. Therefore, through informal discussions, information was gathered on land based conflict from the five Ethiopian farmers and three Sudanese farmer border town residents, who spoke Amharic language. Three of the Ethiopian side interviewees were females and two of them were males. On the other hand, the Sudanese interviewees were males because of getting Sudanese women in Metema Yohannes town were difficult. Gathering data from both sides helped me to see the diversity of ideas. With this method, I gathered information from Ethiopian farmers mainly about the causes of cross border farmland conflict and the contribution of contested border to the land based conflict in the area. I also had informal interviews with the Sudanese who were selected by snowball sampling technique with the help of my field assistant. Issues mainly on the competing claims about the border of the two countries and conflict resolution mechanism of border contestation were discussed with them in more flexible and relaxed manner. The interview was held in Metema Yohannes town when they came to refresh in the town. The interview was held on April 21, 22 and 23/2018.
FGD helps researchers to develop an understanding about why people think the way they do, members of FGD can reflect new ideas, and replies of each discussant can be challenged by other participants (Bryman, 2004). For this reason, this tool was employed so as to triangulate the data obtained through other research tools. In view of that, I conducted three FGDs that were held among farmers and urban dwellers. The FGDs were assured gender balance. Each of the FGDs consisted of six members based on the recommendations by Walliman (2006) as he states the researcher should use small number of participants as much as possible to let all participants discuss on the research theme.
Each focus group discussants were purposely selected with the help of my field assistant. The total numbers of the FGDs were determined based on the research purpose and time consideration.
The FGD with farmers was conducted in Metema Yohannes town, on August 24, 2017 and the FGD with urban women residents was held on March 24, 2018 in the same town. The third focus group discussion with the youth residents of Metema Yohannes town was conducted on August 21, 2017. Each of the focus group discussion was conducted for two hours. Each of the FGD sessions was held after having appointment with discussants about feasible date and time.
When I conducted three of the FGDs, I assumed the role of facilitator by forwarding the themes of discussion. I also assumed the role to keep the discussion to be focused on the theme and gave equal chance for each participant to express their view about the issues under discussion. Beyond these, I assumed the role of taking notes and recording the discussion. Therefore, through the FGD, I got data on the socio-economic and territorial identity related causes of conflict, the contribution of the unclear border for cross border conflict, consequences and conflict resolution mechanisms of cross border land conflict in the area.
As the study environment was highly insecure, conducting participant observation which Social Anthropology calls for was life threatening. Due to this fact, non-participant observation employed. This tool was used, specifically to look at the nature of farmsteads along the border, infrastructures and developments in the borderland, women involvement in the borderland farming activities and, the nature of the border between two countries. Additionally, the observation was made to understand the Ethiopian and Sudanese socio- economic cross border interaction in the twin border towns of Metema Yohannes and Galabat. Therefore, observation was crucial to achieve the aforementioned issues. In this regard, Khotari (2004) argued, observation is a scientific tool and the method of data collection for the researcher, when it serves a formulated research purpose and systematically planned and recorded.
Case studies help to study a social unit or event in depth. In line with this, Kothari (2004) and Payne and Payne(2004) state that case studies are useful to intensive investigation of the particular unit under consideration and its main aim is to locate the factors that account for the behavior patterns of the given unit as an integrated totality.
Thus, to supplement the data obtained through the aforementioned instruments, I used nine case studies in this research. The cases were developed from the in-depth interviews. These cases were selected with the aim to support the findings of the study on the cause, the roles of the border on land conflict and conflict resolution systems. Beyond all the aforementioned data collection methods, I used telephone conversation to contact few of my previous informants to get data about the conflict that occurred in July, 2018, after I returned from field.
Following the data collection through the aforementioned methods such as semi structured interview, informal interview, FGDs, case studies and observation, what followed was categorizing, combining and thereby analyzing of the collected data. Before the final analysis of the data, the collected data were sorted and categorized in accordance to its source and issues. For the purpose of lucidity and easiness, each of the data collected through different data collection tools, was transcribed and expressed in to meaningful and organized information.
Accordingly, the data were analyzed thematically in a coherent manner so as to produce meanings from the data collected. Likewise, Ezzy (2002) states that thematic analysis involves identifying themes within the data and the categories into which themes will be sorted transcribed and expressed in logical flow with interpretation. Brewer (2000) further argues thematic analysis involves the process of bringing order to the data, organizing what is there into patterns, categories, presentation and interpretation, which involves attaching meaning and significance to the analysis.
Abiding to certain social science ethical codes are relevant not to peril the wellbeing of research participants. For this reason, in the process of contacting with informants to gather data and on the write up process, the research followed certain ethical procedures.
In the first place, an effort was made to verbally explain the objective and relevance of the study to potential participants in an easy language followed by a request for. By doing so, the I got the consent of research participants from their will without any kind of deceptive mechanism.
Afterwards, before proceeding to the interview and facilitating focus group discussions, I gave participants a chance to determine a place of interview so as to avoid any discomfort. Accordingly, the interview and focus group discussions were conducted in a place of informants’ choice. Following this, on the onset of the interview and FGDs, informants were asked about their willingness to be recorded in the interview or focus group discussion process. Additionally, confidentiality and anonymity of informants were kept. Therefore, in the writing up process of the research, pseudonym was used for informants so as to ensure the ethics of anonymity. By all the above stated ethical standards, the welfare of the research participants was hardly jeopardized in the research process.
It is known that cross border land conflict between people along the border area of two independent nations is undeniably a highly sensitive issue. Therefore, taking neutral position, all the research findings represent the ideas of the informants.
This study was delimited to investigate cross border land based conflicts along the Ethio- Sudan borderland focusing on the underlying causes of land conflict. It also scrutinizes the role of the border in land based conflicts. In this regard, the study considered the contradictory claims held by the borderland people of both sides about the precise location of the border. However, the main emphasis of the study was the opinions and views of the conflict by residents of the border on the Ethiopian side. Because of lack of research clearance from Sudan, I did not include sufficient the Sudanese side concerned informants.
While the main focus of the study was cross border land based conflict between Ethiopian and Sudanese borderland farmers and /or investors, it also assessed the conflict among Ethiopian farmers in Metema woreda along the Ethio - Sudan border to understand the impact of the local land based conflict on the cross border farmland conflict. The study also assessed the way in which cross border land conflicts along the Ethio-Sudan border were being resolved. Therefore, informants of the study were mainly Ethiopian borderland people such as security administrative officials, farmers, investors and farmworkers. These categories of informants were chosen to participate in the study since they were supposed to be closer in experiencing the cross border land conflict. Besides, Sudanese border town residents who had farmland along the Ethio -Sudan border were informants of the study since these categories of informants could be easily obtained when they come to Metema Yohannes town.
Concerning the spatial foci, the study was delimited in Metema woreda, along the Ethiopia-Sudan border, which shares about sixty five kilometers of common border. The entire border in Metema woreda was chosen for the study because of the seasonality of conflict in each specific place along the border area and the availability of farmers and investors who have farmland along different areas of the border in the woreda. Ethiopia-Sudan border of Metema woreda was chosen for the study because of the prevalence of high flow of immigrant seasonal farmers to the border area from adjacent woreda for own farming. That makes the cross border conflict immense in the area.
The study will be important to concerned officials because the findings of the study might enable them to manage or resolve the conflict. In other words, the information from the research will help concerned officials to have a scientific light regarding what is going on, what people feel, what should be done and how it should be done along the Ethiopia-Sudan border in response to land conflict. These could help concerned officials to formulate appropriate measures or to use the output of the research as an input in land administration policy to tackle the problem.
The study will also serve as springboard to forthcoming researchers who have aspiration to carry out study on the same theme. For this reason, the findings of this study will have a possibility of replication in more comprehensive manner and thus, the relevance of this research would be sustainable.
This study was conducted on the basis of two rounds field work undertaken at different times. The first round was conducted from half of July until the end of August 2017 and the second round was from half of March up to end of April 2018.
When the fieldwork was carried out, I came across certain challenges, which became part of the limitations of the study. The first was shortage of finance and lack of statement of research clearance from Sudanese officials in Khartoum, which hindered me from getting to different Sudanese towns that Ethiopian borderland people claim as a historical Ethio-Sudan border. Also it hindered me to conduct formal interviews with borderland Sudanese people about cross border land conflict, which might affect the balance of ideas in the findings of the study. However, to get over such problem, informal interviews were made with some borderland Sudanese people who spoke Amharic language in Metema Yohannes town. Nevertheless, the study highly emphasized on the views of Ethiopian border landers.
Besides, because of the unsecured nature of the remote borderlands, observation was not made in insecure borderland areas particularly in South of Metema Yohannes town. However, the problem was overcomed, by having interview in Metema Yohannes town with farmers who had worked in these farmlands and who owned farmlands in those insecure places.Moreover, as there was no study in the Ethio-Sudan border concerning cross border farmland conflict, literature that describes the situation of the area was an unattainable task. This might not make the analyzed field data as strong as expected.
The process of data collection from the field was not a simple task. When I first arrived in North Gonder zone and asked the administrative official to write support letter for woreda level officials, I was informed that the cross border conflict was totally over and told to focus only on the historical inter -state level conflicts.
At the onset of the field work, people were not interested to speak about land conflict issues since they perceived speaking about it results in a punitive measures. For this reason, in the early weeks of the field work even though I was clear on the aim of the study, most informants including government officials whom I met did not trust me as an academic researcher. Instead, I was suspected of being a political spy with the aim of gathering information on government officials and other community members about the cross border land conflict and to prosecute them. However, gradually when rapport establishment began with the support of the field assistant who was familiar with the community, informants began to be willing in expressing their views and feelings about land conflict and willingly started to call the me by phone whenever they experience or hear new issues regarding the cross border conflict.
In spite of all such challenges, sufficient amount of data was obtained with the support of closer friends, officials and community members. The challenges faced in the field were a lesson on how to approach to an informant to obtain factual information and the need for adequate preparation before going to the field for a research.
This thesis is structured in to eight chapters. The first chapter presents the overall background of the study, the statement of the problem and set forth the aims of the study. Besides, the research methodology such as research type, methods of data collection, method of data analysis and ethical considerations are incorporated. Moreover, the scopes, significances, limitations of the study and field work experiences are presented under this chapter.
The second chapter deals with the concept of key words and theoretical approaches of the study. Besides to this, the chapter reviews empirical literatures of the competing views against borderland conflict, the causes, and the role of the border in land conflict, the conflict resolution mechanisms and implications of cross border conflict. The context of the study site is presented under chapter three.The field work data about the causes of cross border land conflict and the impacts of the border in cross border conflict is presented under chapter four and five respectively. The next chapter deals about the different implications of the cross border land based conflict. Chapter seven deals with the conflict redressing mechanisms being used in the study area and conclusions are outlined under the last chapter.
This chapter focuses on the theoretical perspectives and review of literatures on land based conflict. Therefore, the meaning of key words such as conflict, border, and borderland are dealt. Also the theoretical perspectives on cross borderland conflict and review of literatures on land based conflict have presented.
The concept of the border is now widely used in a variety of contexts throughout the social sciences. It is a place where national and individual identities are continually contested, shifted, and accommodated (Alvarez, 1995). The word ‘border’ refers to the institution of inter-state division according to international law (Derje and Hoehne, 2008). However, borders are always a social construction; these constructions are often embedded in a spatial context (Messmer, 2007). On the other hand, borderland implies the physical space along the border. Therefore, borders and borderlands mutually define one another,which mean the existence of the border constitutes the borderland (Derje and Hoehne, 2008). Borders and borderlands illustrate the conflicts and contradiction in a hierarchically organized world (Alvarez, 1995). Besides, due to the proximity of the two concepts of ‘conflict’ and ‘border’, it is argued that any conceptualization of ‘borders’ requires a substantiated understanding of social conflict, thereby accounting for the social preconditions of any particular border (Messmer,2007).
Conflict is inevitable aspect of human interaction which occurs when two or more individuals or groups pursue mutually incompatible goals (USIP, 2011). It is present when two or more parties perceive that their interests are incompatible, express hostile attitudes, or take pursue their interests through actions that damage the other parties (Muhabie, 2015). Therefore, conflict exists whenever incompatible activities occur. The action that is incompatible another action prevents, obstructs, interferences or injures the other actor or actors interest (Deutsch, 1973). Similarly, Smith (2005) stated that conflict implies all situations that threaten national and/or individual security, that involve two or more actors, and that include an incompatibility of goals. These conflicts are directly or indirectly engendered as a result of the impediment of the necessity of sharing, acquiring, maintaining or preserving natural or human resources (Deutsh, 1986; in Ibrahim, et al., 2014).
For instance, given various roles of land, access and rights to land are crucial issues in underlying land-related tensions and conflict. Thus, ‘land conflict’ implies competing or conflicting claims to land typically by groups that involve broader and deeper competing interests which are not easily resolved through negotiation or adjudication within the existing legal framework (Bruce and Holt, 2011). In this study, the term conflict implies contestations, hostilities, and physical confrontations caused by land claim and it can be occur between two or more people. Having this in mind; here are crucial theoretical approaches which explain the situation of land based conflict in the study area.
The proponent of the theory was Homer Dixon (1991), who proposes that resource scarcity forces people to migrate to resource rich areas. The social tensions arising from this predicament are a kin to relative deprivation, and causes inter personal or inter group resource based conflict (Cramer, 2005).
The theory argues scarcity appears in three forms. Whereas demand-induced scarcity caused by increases in demand caused by population growth, supply-induced scarcity arises from a depletion of the environmental resource, such as, erosion of farmland. The third, structural scarcity occurs because of unequal distribution of or access to, resources (Homer Dixon, 1991). While structural scarcity can result from poor natural resource governance, it can also occur in a well-functioning governance structure, as the outcome of different land use decisions (UNEP, 2012). According to this theory, scarcity of agricultural land might produce migration, which could create conflicts as migratory people interest for land clash with indigenous populations. Thus, the clashes arising from migrations could affect the healthy operation of a society (Homer Dixon, 1991).
Resource scarcity approach avoids the determinist trap of predicting direct conflict over a looming scarcity of renewable resources. Instead, a broad set of environmental and social linkages. Since, the threat of overpopulation and an alleged inability of societies to adapt to conditions of environmental scarcity are responsible for conflict (Billon, 2002).
However, as cited by Cramer (2003), Fairhead (1997) argues, the approaches depoliticize the cause of conflicts. Besides, it overlooks the impact of the feeling identity in land conflict. In spite of such faintness, resource scarcity approach is relevant to this study since it supports the situation of migrate farmers from land scarce areas to the Ethio-Sudan borderland in search of farmland, which is among the reasons for cross border conflict in the area.
The approach analyzes the structure of resource allocation to explain people social behavior. It argues that social conflict arises from the structure of resources allocation among actors involved under different conditions. It tends to analyze how resources are arranged among people and how particular allocations of resources change people’s social behavior (Guerin, 2009). The approach also aimed to find out resource allocation conditions that reduce conflicts. For instance, when a community and a multinational corporation have a conflict over certain land, the better solution is changing the structure of land allocation.
According to the approach, governments should make laws or rules about land ownership and how one actor comes to possess land and not another (Guerin, 2009). The restructure of resource allocation should benefit every individual (Munro, 2008).
The theory is delightful since it describes how sharing resource rights among users within the resource boundaries or transferring resources between resource boundaries are extremely important and timely issues on the agenda of policymakers (Albiac, Soriano and Dinar, 2008). However, the approach overlooks to consider other social factors such as migration of people from land scarce areas to relatively land accessible areas and clash with the indigenous population, which is filled by the arguments of resource scarcity theory. Despite this, Guerin’s approach is also relevant to the study since it describes structural causes of land conflict and forwards a solution to land conflict.
A cornerstone of contemporary border studies is considering the theory of territorial identities. This approach was backed by achievements of Fredrick Barth, David Newman and Anasi Passi in the 1980’s (Kolossov, 2005). Anthropologically, territoriality is the maintenance of an area ‘within which the resident controls or restricts use of one or more environmental resources (Cashdan, 1983). According to this approach, the impacts of border in everyday life of people cannot be understood without an analysis of its role in social consciousness and the people’s self-identification with territories (Kolssov, 2005).This implies that territorial specification of group membership produces a sense of “homeland” and a particular territory becomes a “homeland” since all group members believes in that it defines who “we” are and feel sense of obligations for its protection (Goemans, 2005). In border studies, emphasize is given to territorial identification over ethnic identification of group members since borderland people are highly attached to the border.
Territory constitutes an important component of individual, group, and national identities, not simply because state territories are delimited by fixed boundaries but because territory has a symbolic dimension which determines attachment and affiliation to particular spaces and places (Newman, 2006). In view of Ansi Paasi, one proponent of this approach, territorial units such as national territories are seen as ‘historical products, not merely in their physical materiality but also in their socio-cultural meanings.
As per this approach, group members will sacrifice their blood to defend the homeland because of the territorial definition of the group creates sense of “ours land” and “theirs land” (Kolossov, 2005). The structures and forms of practice and ideologies that have developed historically may crucially shape the existing patterns attitudes and sense of ours feeling (Paasi and Prokkola, 2008). The construction of the meanings in the communities about their borders occurs through narratives that provide people with common experiences, history, memories and thereby bind these people together and thus led to the sense of our feeling to a particular territory (Passi, 1998).
The strength of the approach is it goes beyond the physical notion of territory since it gives high emphasis to the intangible and symbolic dimensions of territory, which is reflected through feelings of territorial attachment and sense of ownership to particular places (Newman, 2006). However, it overlooks the economic motives of people for their strong attachment to a particular territory. Nonetheless, this approach is also relevant for this study since Ethio- Sudan cross border conflicts occur usually because of sense of territorial ownership.
In the borderlands due to the growing populations and fixed or declining natural resources, especially land and water, become a factor in most local clashes across the east Africa region. Dozens of borders across east Africa are unresolved and contested (Tech, 2012).
There are considerable tensions and an increasing potential for inter-state conflicts in eastern Africa over natural resources on borders or in borderlands (Okumu, 2010). Even though most of studies on state borders in the Horn of Africa have accentuated on its problematic side as Markakis (2006) noted in Dereje and Hoehne (2008), the Horn of Africa is associated with natural and manmade catastrophes, which often have a cross-border dimension, and with border conflicts. And for the reason, for long time such borderlands are predominantly perceived as marginal spaces inhabited by underprivileged people who suffer from lack of infrastructure and political participation, from repression, and inter-state conflict.
However, the opposite is true as Dereje and Hoehene in their study entitled '' Resourcing State Borders and Borderlands in the Horn of Africa’ ’ (2008 ) noted that people who are living along the border endowed with economic, social and political opportunities and thus, they adjust themselves to exploit such opportunities.
Without denying the problems of border areas, in the age of globalization and increased international cooperation, however, border areas also signify some new opportunities (Gogoi, Goswami and Borah, 2009). Though, connections across international borders have historically been a source of both tension and livelihoods for borderland communities (Johnson, 2010). Borders can become an opportunity when borderland residents can maintain some freedom of movement across and around it (Flynn, 1997).
When borders divided two places which were the same, usually one side may be richer and the other side poorer, more expensive and more powerful than the other, leading to cross-border exchange and new social relationships (Bacas and Kavanagh, 2013).
Regarding the two aspects of border, Anderson, et al. (2002) states that territoriality is inherently prone to generating conflict and the growth of rival territorialities in a space filling process. Particularly in circumstances of conflict, its advantages tend to become disadvantages, generating further conflict. Due to the aforementioned realities, while I emphasized on studying the problematic aspect of the Ethio-Sudan border, I mean cross border land based conflicts along the Ethio -Sudan border, I do not deny the existence of advantages that the border offers for the borderland people.
In other words, I had no intention to claim borderlands of the study area as exclusively a conflict prone area. Therefore, I studied land conflict as one aspect of social phenomena along the border of the study area.
Land in Africa is never just a commodity or a means of subsistence. Because it has so many other meanings, and combines being a factor of production with its role as family or community property, a capital asset and a source of cultural identity and/or citizenship (Lund,et al., 2006; Ejigu, 2006 ). Not only do it serves as a commodity in the local or global economic structure but it also plays a prominent cultural role for many local communities and may even be a point of pride for the nation as a whole, a part of the country’s patrimony, which is one of the reasons many developing nations want to control their land (United States institute of Peace [USIP], 2007).
Therefore, land is undoubtedly the most important natural resource in Africa. Its importance transcends economics into a breadth of social, spiritual, and political significance however, most studies in Africa have succeeded in identifying only some aspects of land conflict (Alao, 2007). As it is highly important resource, policy on land ownership affects all aspects of peasants’ lives: economic wellbeing, land use decisions, efficiency in land use and social relations (Belay, 2016). As stated so far, land is much more than an economic input or asset. It is also a source of identity. Hence, in many societies land and identity are inextricably linked.
The history, culture and ancestors of communities are tied up in land. Without land, a community may lose its distinctive identity (UNECA, 2012; Kingale, 2012). As land is not only a source of livelihoods, with the increasing population in the light of dwindling land resources and environmental stress in a situation of land governance deficits has led to numerous land conflicts: between societies, between communities and states and between communities and investors in all the countries in the east Africa regions (Kingale, 2012). Analogously, United Nation Human Settlements Program (2012) stated, land has an important economic value and part of community identity, history and culture. Communities, therefore, can readily mobilize around land issues, making land a central object of conflict. All in all, the vital importance of land issues to social and economic development is unquestionable (Lund, et al., 2006). Hence, land is an object of conflict between communities.
The economy of many developing countries relies on subsistent agriculture. Therefore, land is the fundamental resource for the rural area residents to increase their productivity. As interest on land possession and control is increasing from time to time among farmers, land becomes the main cause of conflict (Berihun, Behon, Betelehem and Mewcha, 2015).
Additionally, land based conflicts in developing countries caused by the failure of the prevailing land tenure systems to respond to the challenges posed by appreciation of land in a way that would enhance effective tenure security (Deininger and Castagnini, 2005). Besides, Bruce (1993) has argued that east African’s farmers lack full freedom to management decision concerning his or her farm. Further, United Nation Environment Program (UNEP, 2012) describes the existence of unclear, overlapping or poor enforcement of resource rights and laws in many developing countries.
In these countries land is regulated under a combination of statutory and customary forms of tenure. Disagreements regarding these ‘rules’ as well as uncertainty over resource rights are often at the heart of conflict. Moreover, migration, which may occur because of certain pushing factors such as land shortage or due to the desire to exploit new opportunities in other areas, can affect issues related to access and control over land and this causes conflicts with the indigenous population (Lund, et al., 2006).
In associated with migration, in many developing African countries, conflicts are caused by the competition for access to and uses of land. The competing claims over certain land to use it for agricultural purpose aggravate the potential for conflict (Derzwan, 2011; Lund, et al., 2006). Analogously, Ejigu (2006) stated that resource scarcity, absolute or relative lack of access to land and forest resources could eventually result in migration to other areas and conflict.
In the same vein to the above statements, UN-HABITAT and UNEP (2012) states that in developing countries the competition over land and water, are on the rise. This is being further aggravated by environmental degradation, population growth and climate change. In fact, scarcity as a cause of land conflict can be natural and artificial. Natural scarcity caused by overpopulation or other environmental problems that result in an imbalance between the population and land available for agricultural purpose. On the other hand, artificial scarcity arises from forced migration (Alao, 2007).
Therefore, the mismanagement of land in such occasion often contributes to conflicts. However, it needs to be stressed that the functional deficits of institutions are not the core reason for land conflicts. Instead, profit maximization by a multitude of actors that may be unjust land grabbing or exclusion of disadvantaged sections of the population from their legal land are the driving force of land conflict (Wehrmann, 2008). United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (2012) has argued triggers for land conflicts in eastern Africa are population pressure, degradation of land and poor land tenure system.
In short, due to its economic, social and emotional importance, land is also an important source of power. Perceived threats to security, livelihoods or identity can mobilize communities to engage in conflict (UNECA, 2012). Tied to what have been said, a recent concern over access to land in the region comes from the growing commercial pressure over land including large scale land acquisition by both internal and external investors.
The latter is sometimes referred to as land rush, or land grabbing (USECA, 2012).This exposes the local people to land problem and thereby, it creates conflict (Peace building, education and advocacy Programme [PBEA], 2015). As foreign investors lease and purchase large tracts of arable land across developing countries of east Africa, such large-scale land acquisitions or ‘land grabs’ displace smallholder farmers ,which has been a cause of conflict (Thaler, 2013).
Clear demarcation of the boundaries of community land can remove the threat of encroachment by outsiders. Conflicts historically often erupt first in conjunction with land transfers, especially to outsiders. Where such transfers occur and are socially accepted, the terms should be recorded in writing to avoid ambiguity that could subsequently lead to land-related conflict (World Bank, 2003).
Many foreign agricultural investments in Ethiopia raise questions about the levelness of the playing field between host-country governments and investors, and the interests of the population at national and local level. The motivations of both investors and host-country government are scrutinized, often superficially, and local users of the land in question are usually cast as victims (Mosely, 2012). On paper, land deals in Ethiopia promise to assure food security. But when people directly lose their land without adequate compensation, it becomes worse off and more food insecure.
These local-level impacts are not currently well documented in Ethiopia, partly due to the political sensitivities of carrying out this kind of research in many key land investment areas (Keely,Wondwosen, Eid and Kidewa, 2014). In relation to this, the FDRE constitution article 44 (2), states that all people who have been displaced or whose livelihoods are affected as a result of state programs have the right to obtain compensation in form of monetary or alternative means of compensation. However, the implementation of such article on the ground is questionable particularly, in areas of foreign agricultural investment areas in Ethiopia. For this, persistent protests of people can be an indicator.
In Ethiopia and Sudan, land deals tend to be characterized in the media as displacing the burden of food insecurity from wealthy (or wealthier) states onto already distressed populations in land-rich but relatively poorer countries (Mosley, 2012).
In principle, the FDRE Constitution article 49 states that '' government shall as all times promote the participation of the people in the formulation of national development policies and programs; at the same time it shall also has the duty to support the initiatives of people development initiatives’’. Nonetheless, in practice, the implementation of the article in investment sector is not effective since it does not involve people in broad sense. Besides, it is not based on the will of the people as people along the Ethio- Sudan border are claiming on foreign investment in land in the borderland.
All in all, land grabbing foreign investment is among the causes of land conflict along the Ethio- Sudan border where foreign investment in land is practiced. Because Metema woreda borderland has been an area where foreign farming activity is practiced.
When I consult the general land tenure system of Ethiopia so as to look at the impact of local land administration on cross border land conflict, Belay in his research ''Land Resource, Use and Ownership, Past, Present and Future ’’ (2016) argues that in pre 1974 Imperial Ethiopia, the common land tenure system in the northern part of Ethiopia was rist system, through which people access land based on family ties. Through the proclamation of March 1975, the Derg regime undertook a thorough and radical land reform that nationalized land and made it state property.
According to UNECA and Kirondle (2012), under the current regime land is owned by the state while people have used right. However, in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of the country the customary land tenure system is recognized.
The FDRE Constitution (1995) article 40 (3) states that ‘‘the right ownership of rural and urban land, as well as of all natural resources, is exclusively vested in the state and in the peoples of Ethiopia’’. This state ownership of land makes land allocation for investors’ easy (Keely, et al ., 2014).This is one of the reasons for land conflict along the Ethio-Sudan border. The aforementioned scholarly literatures about land tenure system are taken just to highlight on the current land tenure system as it causes conflict in areas where the farmlands of small holder farmers are grabbed and given to investors in the name of increasing productivity.
Gianos (2003) argued most world border studies deal only with established urban areas without considering countryside borderlands. Most borders in Africa are an outcome of the continent’s colonial partition at the end of the nineteenth century and once more after the First World War (African Borderlands Research Network, 2010). Hence, Africa’s borders are very porous because of lack of proper demarcation and delimitation (Nguendi, 2012 ).
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