BY SAMUEL TAYE
(A4O, 9 February 2014) The Oromo Gada system is a system of generational classes that succeed each other every eight years in assuming political, military, judicial, legislative and ritual responsibilities. Each one of the eight active generation classes–beyond the three grades–has its own internal leadership and its own assembly, but the leaders of the classes become the leaders of the nation as a whole when their class comes to power in the middle of the life course at a stage of life called “Gada” among the Borana.
The class in power is headed by an officer known as Abba Gada or Abba Bokku in different Oromo areas.
Gada is an existing system in Borana Oromo. It is still able to preserve its structural values though various external challenges tested it to abolish or decline it through time. Scholars and researchers argue that it is the best model for the modern democracy of the world. The existing Gada system in Borana today witnesses the reliability and creditability of the scholastic argument.
Teferi Nigusse is a PHD candidate at Addis Ababa University and is also a writer. According to him, the Gada system is a typical example of popular democracy that a world must learn from and gain invaluable substance from it mainly in today’s politics. “It is a complete system and fully characterized by democratic values that undergone centuries without any internally disruptive actions and managed to get here especially among Borana and Guji Oromos,” Teferi says.
“Basically the system is democratic and endowed with overall social, economical and political developments that pass through necessary and possible stages. Power transition is smooth and free from any conflict. It is also inexpensive; it does not need any high cost, but other political democracies do,” he added.