The Gada system and the Oromo’s (Ethiopia) culture of peace
Keywords:Peace, peace system, culture, values, Gada, Oromo, Indigenous, Africa, Ethiopia
The purpose of this study is to add to recent calls to develop indigenous knowledge of peace system and culture development to promote culture of peace in Africa. It assesses the indigenous Gadaa system peace concept and culture, identify its peace related values, philosophies, traditions, institutions, etc for nurturing and sustaining peace in the Oromo society, with the neighboring ethnic group, and its relevance to creating peace culture in Africa and beyond. It relates Gadaa peace system with the UN peace system initiative and framework in demonstrating the relevance of Gada peace system to peace building in multi-ethnic conflicts transformation in the Horn of Africa and beyond. Oromo people were traditionally a culturally homogeneous society with genealogical ties living in Ethiopia, Kenya, and other neighboring east African countries. They governed themselves in accordance with Gadaa (literally "era"), an outstanding democratic socio-political system long before the 16th century that has survived to date and is currently functional in Ethiopia and Kenya, and gaining importance and restored in all parts of Oromia in Ethiopia.. The Gada system is an indigenous institution that pervades every aspect of an Oromo life including personal, interpersonal, social, economic and political life. The Oromo concept of peace is comprehensive and broader than western conception of absence of violence. It covers both negative and positive peace, intra-personal peace, interpersonal peace, within Oromo, with other communities, with nature, and peace with God. Therefore, to build peace culture the Gada concept of peace, truth, values, principles, and conflict resolution techniques need to be restored and promoted. It should be documented and made part of education system. The academics should do research and disseminate these values. The regional state government and civic societies should develop a peace education program based on these values and traditions so that they should be restored quickly and sustained among Oromo community in all corners of east Africa where Oromo community lives. The concepts of gender equality and participation in sustainable development of the society needs to introduced into the Oromo culture and Gada system.
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