Compromising for Peace Through Ritual Practices Among the Kuria of Tanzania And Kenya

Iddy Ramadhani Magoti


Kuria people, who straddle both sides of the Kenya–Tanzania border, have experienced interminable intra- and inter-ethnic warfare emanating from cattle rustling. The Kuria people are stereotypically described as cantankerous and indisposed to compromise or forgiveness when they have been wronged. But on the contrary, archival and secondary information as well as oral interviews conducted in the region demonstrate that through participation in different ritual forms, the Kuria people themselves have been responsible for maintaining harmony and serenity with their neighbours. Kuria who abide by their cultural beliefs, social norms, and respect for traditional leadership, do forgive, regularly initiate reconciliations, and actively maintain peaceful relations through participation in various ritual forms. It is evident that rituals constitute an integral part of the customary process of conflict resolution and peace building among the Kuria. Especially those rituals related to the prevention of cattle rustling have gained recognition and formal support of the central states on both sides of the border, to the extent that the powers embodied in these traditional Kuria rituals have sometimes overridden the jurisdiction of modern courts established in the Kuria areas.


Key words: rituals, Kuria, peace-building, conflicts, conflict resolution

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