Title: The Oromo, Gadaa/Siqqee Democracy and the Liberation of Ethiopian Colonial Subjects
Authors: Asafa Jalata (Department of Sociology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee) and Harwood Schaffer (Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee)
Published: AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples Vol. 9, Issue 4 (2013): 277-295.
Keywords: Gadaa (indigenous democracy), Oromia, Oromo/Oromummaa, Ethiopian colonial subjects/nations, national self-determination, Ethiopian colonialism
This paper explores the potential role of the Gadaa/Siqqee system of Oromo democracy in the development of a democratic multinational liberation movement of the colonized nations within the Ethiopian Empire in order to dismantle the Tigrayan- led Ethiopian terrorist government and replace it with a sovereign multinational democratic state in the Horn of Africa based on the principles of indigenous democracy. After a brief introduction, this study describes the presence of a democratic, Siqqee/Gadaa administration among the Oromo in the Horn of Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries and the subsequent changes that made them vulnerable to colonization. It further examines the essence and main characteristics of Gadaa/Siqqee, showing that it provides
a contrasting political philosophy to the authoritarian rule of the Ethiopian Empire. The study shows that in the face of oppression and exploitation the Oromo people have struggled to preserve and redevelop their indigenous democracy, written records of which go back to the 16th century, long before European nations embraced the principles of democratic governance. It also explains how it can be adapted to the current condition of the colonized nations within the Ethiopian Empire in order to revitalize the quest for national self- determination and democracy and to build a sovereign democratic state in a multinational context. Furthermore, the piece asserts that this struggle is truly a difficult one in the 21st century as the process of globalization is intensified and regional and local cultures are being suppressed under the pressure of dominating cultures.