Gadaa Principles to be Enriched

Gadaa is one of the types of people’s government with own peculiarity that the world has. Recovering it may solve problems so far other democracies did not solve. This writer observed from oral tradition and from written materials the following fundamental principles of Gadaa system. Gadaa principles cannot be fully presented in such simple way, apologizing for it, it is hoped scholars will make deep study. This may serve as starting point for drafting genuine Oromiyaa constitution, rules, regulations, and codes of Safuu. Gadaa system was given the final below by spread of nafxanyaa system led by Amaaraa. To uproot that those fighting for independence are fighting, Activists helping that with material and propaganda are daily engaged relentlessly. If remaining intellectuals are deployed for giving flesh to this observation and institution building Oromiyaa will be ready to run an indigenous brand-new democratic system right on the day of independence getting rid of all oppressive decadent systems.

Problem of instability and lacking peace of the region emanates from not recognizing the colonial status of Oromiyaa. Peace, good neighborliness, or federalism could come after such recognition alone. Oromo will never enrich archaic autocratic system when they have democratic tradition to fallback to. Democracy is so far the only inclusive human political system next to communal society as told. For harmony to exist between democracy and autocracy the latter must abandon its primitive feudal heritage and accept equality of all human beings, the first step to democratic living. The secret of colonizers twisting the truth is in the facts of their creation. They imposed dominance of their group on peoples by sheer force in 15th century. To sustain themselves as a group they must maintain that dominance forever. Otherwise, being Amaaraa is destined to break up into its original elements, Tigraaway, Bet Israel, Gaafat, Argobba and Northern Kushitic speaking nationalities.

If the Oromo start looking at themselves and begin self-examination, they will realize that the depth of their source of knowledge is unfathomable and can adjust to any time period, that is why Amharic speaking descendants of nafxanyaa provoke to distract them from their focus. However, it may be suppressed the way Afaan Oromo developed in last three decades could be one of happenings that scared them. For those Amharic speaking group because their idea and knowledge remained frozen in feudal times it is getting difficult for them to match with modern development. Except claiming what ever they see the fail to realize that in this age of technological advancement it is with own sweat and canning that wealth could be accumulated. Oromo’s upholding the rule of law some aliens take as naivete. Oromo population grew because aliens come to them to get legal shelter. They have laws of naturalizing to Oromummaa. Because Amharic speakers dominated peoples of the north by force their number was inflated. When all became self-conscious and demanded for autonomy even if they think they have numbers, it will be insignificant. With Oromo, it is what they say “Qaban qabaa hin guutuu, gaddhiisan bakkee guutti”(She does not fill a grasp but when released she is over all the field). Not to be troubled by their cacophony is advised.

1. In Gadaa, society is divided into five hiriyaa or peer groups (Gadaa) and two retiring groups. These divisions are important feature of Gadaa democracy and what differentiates it from other peoples’ governments. Those born within eight years are considered Hiriyaa (peer group). From among them the first and last group (Dabballee and Gadamoojjii) are not politically active. But still participate in learning or rituals of society respectively. Dabballee, children under nine are introduced formally to Gadaa codes of conduct and love of humanity and the environs. Leaders of the Gadaa group start being identified at this stage. Dabballee and the four others are what form the political parties coming to power in turns for span of 40 ears. Each party has the chance to rule the country in turns; there will be no possibility for one party monopoly or over staying in office even for an hour. Delay in one tier has chain effect in all other tiers. The second and third groups are active participants in learning and accomplishing certain important errands. The fourth group the Raabaa Doorii are responsible for defense and preparing themselves to take over leadership of the country after eight years. The fifth group are the ruling class, the Luba. Retiring Luba becomes Yuba. There is no Oromo individual that has no politico-social participation in Oromo society from birth to death. That is beauty of Gadaa democracy. Note here, that all general elections are carried out in Gadaa group level. All opposition and factions operate on that level.

2. There is legend that at the beginning Gadaa was led by woman and the last woman ruler was Akkoo Manooyee. From allegations told against her she was wise, farsighted, and visionary human being. She was overthrown by power mongering crooked men that deviated from tradition. Later despite Gadaa becoming male dominated, women had significant political, social, and economic roles. That might have been terms of surrender to men’s power. Power of Siiqee is the most emphasized but under studied. Therefore, political role of woman in Gadaa renaissance needs to be clear to go with the time.

3. Each group has associations, assisted by experts or elders and independent ones. Each of them has assigned roles to play. A group stays at a grade (in one Gadaa) only for eight years before it moves to higher grade. Each hiriyaa group elects its own leaders. Therefore, no office in Gadaa system at any stage was occupied without election by hiriyaa mass. Hiriyaa leadership is responsibly to Hiriyaa Assembly.

4. Each peer group (gogeessa) has accountability and responsibility for roles assigned to it. There was regular assessment session every four years but there could be extra ordinary sessions.

5. Raaba Doorii is responsible for defense and security of the nation and reports to Luba group.

6. Luba is the ultimate responsible ruler of the land and reports to General Assembly of the nation. It has no immunity if breaks the constitution, the Assembly can “uproot” it for abuses of power.

7. Supremacy of the law is observed; all nature and actions have laws. Society in addition had ethical standard, Safuu which no Oromo should break. Observing Safuu is special mark of Oromummaa.

8. Luba can adopt laws legislated by previous Luba, amend it, or change it without changing the fundaments of Gadaa Constitution. Luba Assembly is the highest political authority of the land responsible to Oromiyaa National Assembly. It elects executive committee and the Abbaa Bokkuu head of state and government of the nation. The nation constitutes a General Assembly

of the nation whose participation is open to all citizens. It may require representatives all Gadaa in modern setting.

9. There are areas which the Luba cannot make change by law. Areas like Gadaa system, individual and civil rights, and land policy. These could be changed only through national consensus.

10. Retiring Luba (Yuba) serve as councilors and constitutional review judges. It also chairs General Assembly of the nation.

11. Gadamoojjii or the last peer groups are not required to carry weapons. They are not responsible for their actions, they are free from any inhibition except their conscience.. Gadamoojjii, children and women are given special protection.

Any point of principle overlooked in this presentation should be added to mentioned heritages from the Gadaa system. If adopted, Gadaa system could be an alternative to hitherto existing systems of government of the peoples. Ruling party develops through the grades that may take 40 years, not by periodic elections alone. A Luba group stays in power only for eight years. It is not ideological based parties but a segment of society is given responsibility to run the country for eight years alone. Outlooks are hammered out within that segment for forty years. There were rituals and symbols associated with Gadaa system which may not be relevant for modern multi religious society. They must be brought to the table and decided up on. Even when Oromo had one religion there were demarcation between politics and religion. There might have been secular functions performed by Qaalluu institution, Oromo may be asked to go through and find where to place them in modern setting. The way religion and politics were harmoniously working could be Gadaa legacy. Oromo intellectuals could give flesh to this observation and come out with suggestion of practical Gadaa Constitution and necessary institutions to implement it. Oromiyaa haa jiraattu!

Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!

Ibsaa Guutama

January 2023