Your browser is not supported by this application. Inscribed in It serves as a mechanism for enforcing moral conduct, building social cohesion, and expressing forms of community culture. Gada is organized into five classes with one of these functioning as the ruling class consisting of a chairperson, officials and an assembly. Each class progresses through a series of grades before it can function in authority with the leadership changing on a rotational basis every eight years.

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The following is a brief description of the Gada system extracted from the documentation submitted to the UNESCO with some editing for the sake brevity. Geographical location and range of the Gada system Major Oromo clans have established the centres of their Gada at several places based on their territorial settlement.

Gada assemblies, power transfer ceremonies and transition rites took place at these cultural spaces under Oda sycamore tree which is regarded as the symbol of the Gada System.

These cultural spaces are legally and culturally protected. A brief summary description of the Gada system The Oromo are known for their remarkable indigenous democratic socio-political system known as the Gada which they have kept working for the last five centuries.

As a governance System, Gada guides the life course of individuals and regulates political, economic, social and religious activities of the community. It also serves as a mechanism of socialization, education, religious expression, peace maintenance and social cohesion and promotes the principles of equality and freedom. Under the Gada System, Oromo society is organized into five Gada generation classes or sets which rotate every eight years to assume political, economic and ritual responsibilities.

The entire class progresses through eleven series grades. The system rotates every eight years to allow each class assume power in the middle of the life course the sixth grade called Gada Luba.

The transition is marked by a formal power transfer ceremony. Gada is a complex system that incorporates pivotal institutions such as moggaasa naturalization , guddifacha adoption , araara conflict resolution , gumaa reparation , rakoo marriage law waaqeffannaa Oromo religion and Siinqee institution to safeguard women right.

Within the System, there is a thanks-giving ceremony known as Irrecha nationally celebrated at Lake Arsadi. Who are the bearers and practitioners of the Gada system? Are there any specific roles or categories of persons with special responsibilities? The Oromo recognized the Gada System as part of their cultural heritage and as a contemporary system of governance that functions in concert with the modern state system.

This begins when sons join the first grade as members of Gada class generation class or set forty years after their fathers and are initiated into the next higher grade every eight years.

Regarding persons with special responsibilities, the Abba Gada, the elected chair of the class leadership presides over the assembly. His duties also include transferring knowledge and skills associated with the functions of the democratic Gada System to the members of succeeding grades.

The retired Abba Gada and his council called Yuba serve as counsellors for the ruling Gada Class and are in charge of administration of justice. The Qaallu, the religious leader, leads the ritual ceremonies, such as blessing Gada officials and operations. As such, he plays an indispensable role in power transfer occasions and legitimizing the ruling Gada System.

How are the knowledge and skills related to the Gada system transmitted today? The knowledge and practices of the Gada System have been transmitted from generation to generation in various ways. At a household level, parents transmit orally knowledge about the ethics, practices and rituals of the system and socialize their children into Gada culture. Then, after sons join the Gada System and collectively as a class pass through the five grades daballe, junior game, senior game, kussa, raba dori , the abbaa raagaa oral historians teach the sons argaa- dhageettii eyewitness accounts and oral traditions about history, laws, rituals, time reckoning, cosmology, myth, rules of conduct as well as the function and importance of the Gada System.

On important occasions, members of the ruling Gada Councils and assemblies, active and retired, emphasize these themes and pass the knowledge through the words of mouth. In the meetings that take place every eight years to re-examine the existing laws, the seniors reiterate them in public and legislate new laws, demonstrate and share knowledge about the operation of the Gada System.

The school curriculum in Oromiya is designed to ensure that the knowledge and skills associated with the element are transmitted to children in their tongue. Currently, the Oromiya Radio and Television broadcast programs in the Oromo language about various aspect of the Gada System to increase awareness.

As a result, when the group enters the Gada Grade Luba , they will have acquired all the necessary knowledge to handle the responsibility of administering the country and arranging and presiding at the celebration of rituals.

What social functions and cultural meanings does the Gada system have today for its community? For the Oromo today, Gada constitutes a dynamic living culture that regulate contemporary Oromo political, social, economic and religious life.

As a social institution, it functions as a mechanism of socialization, conflict resolution, judicial administration, religious expression and social harmony. Contemporary Oromo political culture, moral or ethical system and cultural traditions are shaped by the evolved traditions of Gada civilization.

The Gada System distributes power across generations and down to community members, creates strong link between successive generations, and gives to the members of the community a sense of identity and continuity.

Oromo philosophy, art and calendar are based on Gada as an expression of Oromo civilization. The public conduct of Individuals is governed by safuu Oromo moral system.

Gada functions as a system of cooperation, social integration, enforcement of moral conduct and principle of peaceful co-existence with other ethnic groups. Gada is an indigenous system of human development on the basis of which the Oromo welfare system is institutionalized, communal wealth distributed, rules of resource protection and environmental conservation enforced and through which all their aspirations are fulfilled.

An Oromo cannot imagine functioning as a human being or living in a community apart from rules of behaviour preserved and protected in the Gada System. Even the governing agencies of the Oromiya Regional Government derive from the traditional institutions of the Gada System Gada egalitarian ethos and communal solidarity. Is there any part of the Gada system that is not compatible with existing international human rights instruments or with the requirement of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals, or with sustainable development?

The Gada System does not contain any element that is incompatible with existing international human rights instruments. It is a democratic and egalitarian political system based on equal access to office in which only merit counts. In the Gada System, the supremacy of the law is paramount and the equality of all before the law is sacrosanct. Even the Abba Gada, head of the Gada executive branch, if accused of violating laws and regulations, could be impeached, tried and uprooted buqisu from office before official tenure and replaced by one of the members of his class.

Every citizen has the right to speak and be heard in the Assembly of multitudes. Decisions over the use of common resources and the settlement of disputes are reached after thorough discussions and deliberation.

Gada System of checks and balances such as respecting eight years rule, power sharing and balanced opposition of parties helps avoid subordination, exploitation, corruption and misuse of power.

Moreover, the Gada system contributes to sustainable development of the community as it engages every member in social and economic development duties and regulates conservation of the environment. Thus, an understanding of the System by different communities helps for inter-cultural dialogue and encourage mutual respect. Share this:.


What is Gada? Is it System or Institutions or Culturally Practiced Concepts?

One highly developed self-sufficient system which has influenced every aspect of Oromo life is the Gadaa system. It is a system that organizes the Oromo society into groups or sets about that assume different responsibilities in the society every eight years. It has guided the religious, social, political and economic life of Oromo for many years, and also their philosophy, art, history and method of time-keeping. The activities and life of each and every member of the society are guided by Gadaa.


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All activities and life of each and every member of the Oromo was guided by an egalitarian socio- economic and political structure of the society called the Gada system. The Gada system is a class system that succeeds each other every eight years in assuming politico- military administration, economic management and other social activities. It was the central institution of the Oromo people that contains complex and extra-ordinary features. It was purely invented by the Oromo and it is one of the most remarkable political systems which was highly democratic with effective legislative and judicial institutions. Oromo society was structured in accordance with this Gada system. The Oromo society was structured into two distinct but cross-cutting system of pear group.?


GADAA – Socio-Political & Economic Structure of Oromo People

Research[ edit ] A number of scholars have studied Gadaa. Legesse [22] has written that Gadaa is "one of the most astonishing and instructive turns the evolution of human society has taken". In addition to his Harvard PhD dissertation, Legesse has published a book [23] positioning Gadaa as an African democracy that could inform constitutional thinkers. The late Donald Levine has said [24] that Gadaa is "one of the most complex systems of social organization ever devised by the human imagination". For Jalata, Gadaa represents "the totality of Oromo civilization". Current status[ edit ] Considering the symbolic significance of Gadaa for the Oromo, as well as its structural innovations, researchers in law, indigenous studies, and pan-Africanism are exploring how the system could be utilized in the 21st century.

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