Oromia-Ethiopia: Failure to learn from history

By Leenjiso Horo | March 24, 2012

GADA system is a complete sequence of stages of life cycle knitted together by a highly developed political philosophy embracing entire social order, series of legal sanctions, and ritual traditions among the Oromo society.

It is important to note that for centuries the Oromo lived in the Horn of Africa as a free, independent, and sovereign nation. During those centuries, they developed a democratic republican form of political system known as Gadaa system. It was a system of political and military collective leadership. For centuries, they lived under this system in unity. Under this system, they drew their national power from their democratic governance, their unity, their collective Gadaa leadership, their natural and human resources, their defense army and art of war and their determination live as a free and independent nation. However, by the beginning of the 19th century internal change began to take place within Oromo society. This was a period in which the nation began undergoing a state of political commotion. This commotion was created by the emerging of a new political system that was alien to the existing social and political order and to the institution of Gadaa system. This was a time when various kingdoms evolved by breaking away from the collective leadership and abandoning the Gadaa democratic system and its institutions. Hence at this particular time in history two rivalry systems were in operation side by side; the Gadaa democratic system on one hand, and feudal system of kingdom on the other. From the central Oromiyaa to the south and east Oromiyaa Gadaa system was in operation, while in Oromiyaa’s southwest, west and north various kingdoms evolved. For instance, there were two states in western Oromiyaa, in Wallaga, five states in southwest in Gibe region, and six states in the north in Wollo. Altogether, there were thirteen petty states. This change weakened the Oromo society and their institutions. Consequently, the Gadaa collective political and military leadership declined and the Oromo people for the first time entered their weakest point in their history. This decline was followed with tragic history. With this as a background, let us proceed to understand the role of collaborators in this tragic history.

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