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. The classes are taught by oral historians covering history, laws, rituals, time reckoning, cosmology, myths, rules of conduct, and the function of the Gada system.
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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.? One is the system in which the members of each class are recruited strictly on the basis of chronological age which the anthropologists call Age Sets.
The second is a system in which the members are recruited on the bases of genealogical generation. This second one has little to do with age where as the first has nothing to do with genealogical ties. Both social groups pass from one stage of development to the next every eight years. The chronological age group is called Hiriya age sets while the genealogical generation group is called Luba Gada class.
The members of the class maintain their identity as a pear group throughout the life cycle. At each level of the development or Gada grade the classes hold corporate responsibilities. The transition rituals by which the genealogical social group the sons passes from one grade to the next is performed every eight years during the life cycle. Every transition ritual at different levels has its own unique character, name and procedure.
The principal responsibilities of the initiates or the? And they begin to grow a new hairstyle to represent their new status.
The transition from the third to the fourth grade is one of the most important events of the Gada institution. This transition rite is an isolation ritual which followed by election and proclamation of young Gada leaders which is purely political.?
The future political leaders of the Oromo are elected at this stage. All the boys in grade IV formally become members of Gada class at this stage and, with the induction of their leaders, the group becomes institutionalized as a corporate body. There is deep personal identification between the members of the class and their leadership.
Thus the young men develop a new social identity that cut-across kinship ties.? The election of Gadaa councilors at this stage also serves as transition from grade three to grade four. Transition from grade IV to grade V at 32 year of the life cycle is marked by marriage of the whole class. Those elected young Gada councilors and other members of the class in their twenties and early thirties marry at this stage. The fifth grade is collectively called the warrior class.
The main duty of this class is military service. Before they enter the Gada period or before they come to power they have to prove their capacity in military activities. At forty years of the gada cycle i. This is the turning point in the Gada cycle. It is a border between generations. That is forty years long. The sixth grade is called the Gada grade. Here the term Gada is the stage and a period of eight years during which the elected government stay in power, not the whole Gada system.?
The symbol of authority is? They also exchange these symbols. It is the stage of the incoming of Gada leaders who were elected during transition to grade IV, 16 years ago. On the whole this stage is the stage of political and military leadership. The investiture of Gada leaders at this stage is distinguished from the induction of Gada councilors during proclamation ceremony in the 24th? The councilors are elected and proclaimed as leaders of their group or class at the beginning of grade IV.
When they reach Gada Grade VI after sixteen years they become leaders of all the classes and the whole nation. In the Gada political system leaders who are unable to accomplish their duties are uprooted.
The distribution of power among the various offices in Gada council is based on equality. They are also fair in recruitment. There is little internal differentiation of functions except the separation of spiritual and political domains. There is little to do with? There are minimal ranking between senior and junior councilors. The existing differentiation of functions and minimal ranking does not imply inequality or hierarchy. Should a member of a council is absent when an important activity is in progress or important issue is discussed the activity or the meeting must be postponed until the missing councilor is summoned.
However there is penalty for his absence. The Gada Assembly Yaa? What the Gada Assembly decides cannot be revised by any other authority. Gada Assembly is an ultimate authority. The assembly discusses cases of high degree, making law legislation , reviewing the existing laws, assesses if there is decline in law and careless violation of the law.
The major activity of the Gada Assembly can be described as legislative. It takes place during the fourth year of the eight years of the Gada period following the investiture of Gada leaders.? Participants of Gada Assembly are Gada leaders, junior councilors, assistant officials in the administration, Yuba semi-retired Gada leaders , many age sets councilors and a large number of clan elders.
The Abbaa Gadaa head of the government in power presides over most of the general meetings. However, whenever conflict which concerns the presiding Abba Gada is discussed he is replaced by any other Gada councilor or semi retired Gada leader. There are also abundant ethnographic and historic evidences indicating that the Oromo had an effective military organization, not only in the sixteenth century but also in the subsequent centuries until the conquest of Emperor Menilik of Abyssinia in the late 19th?
In fact by African standard the Oromo had effective military organization headed by military officer titled as Abba Dula War chief. The Oromo had all that in the 16th? The Oromo had a powerful cavalry that stood at the head of their military campaign. Oromo horsemanship is a highly prized aspect of their culture and it had a great deal to do with their military success over the centuries.
Comparable in its magnitude to the powerful Zulu nation of South Africa and the Fulani of West Africa the Oromo were superior in military establishment.
The Zulu and the Fulani though they had military strength they had no horses and cavalry forces. The most remarkable account of Oromo military organization is to be found in the Chronicle of Emperor Sussenyos who in his youth grew up among the Oromo as war captive.?? Later he used Oromo warriors and military strategy to take the imperial throne.? The Chronicle describes that the Oromo army was structured into regiments called Cibra Chibraa.
These were age regiments consisting of the married Gada class members, Qeerroo bachelors and qondala youth. The three age regiments in other words are age-sets belonging to grade IV, V and grade VI of the Gada stages of development. There were many age sets under each grade and many Cibras under one age set. Heads of each Cibra are called Abba Cibra. There are also different units in most cases nine units under one Cibra.
It was the introduction of fire arms into the region by Europeans that changed the balance. The Europeans provided the Abysinian chieftains with then modern fire arms and military advisors that put the Oromo at a great dis-advantage.
Following handover of political power the outgoing Gada leaders enter the Yuba grade semi retired. The Yuba or semi-retired covers 32 of the life cycle years of the life cycle. Their positions are linked with those of their sons.
Their position is determined by the position of their sons. One of the roles of the Yuba semi-retired classes are that they are main protagonists in the election campaigns.
They campaign on behalf of their sons. The Yuba take part in Gada Assembly and indeed have some residual political power in the Assembly. They may be required to serve as assistances unless Gada leaders announce him completely retired a man remain liable for political and social service of the nation. After eighty years of the Gada cycle the Yuba enter the stage of Gadamojji complete retirement Gadamoji is the eleventh and final stage of the gada grades.
The Gadamoji are similar to the? The transition into this final grade is formally take place by rite of incense exchange Qumbi wal irraa fuudhuu Abbaa Gadaas at Gadaa Ceremony One generation in Oromo covers 40 years of the life cycle.
The first forty years of the total life cycle of eighty years is an active generation which is divided into five segments each having a time spam of eight years. The basic rule of the Gada system is that the newly born infant child always enters the system of grades exactly forty years after his father, regardless of the age of the son or the father.
Father and son are five grades apart at all times. Consequently, the Gada class incorporates within its ranks people varying in ages. The infant joins, sometimes, very old men who are members of the genealogical generation.
Extremely young children can be witnessed dressed in adult ceremonial costumes, taking part in rituals and being treated as equals by adults. There are several inter-generational rules of the Oromo society under the Gada system of which the basic rule is the position of a man on the Gada cycle is always five grades forty years ahead of the grade of his son. Today the Gada institutions have been preserved among the Borana and Guji clans of the Oromo nation.
There is some historical evidence that in the 16th? Between the 17th? The centrality of the Gada system in Oromo social life gradually declined in many parts of Oromia and Gada political activities progressively transformed into simple life crisis and rituals.
GADAA – Socio-Political & Economic Structure of Oromo People
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.? One is the system in which the members of each class are recruited strictly on the basis of chronological age which the anthropologists call Age Sets.
What is Gada? Is it System or Institutions or Culturally Practiced Concepts?
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.