OROMIA ኦሮሚያ Oromiyaa

Ethiopian Peacemaking Database

In Oromia, we showcase 5 reconciliation practices: Jaarsummaa, Haadha Siiqqee, Gadaa, Araara Gondooroo, & Araaraa Lichoo.

© Mekonnen B.Gedefa

Ethnic Group: Oromo

Name of Reconciliation: Araaraa Lichoo

Themes: Lichee; Grass; Cattle; Coffee; Honey

Location of Reconciliation Process: Guji and Borena

About Araaraa Lichoo: 

Lichoon aadaa araaraa beekamaa Godina Gujii lamaan, Godina Booranaa keessatti sirritti beekamuudha. Sirni araara kunis wal-dhabbii yeroo waraanaa keessatti uummaman furuuf kan gaggeeffamuudha. Lichoo jechuun Jarsa araaraa yeroo waraanaa kan sabaa fi saba walitti araarsuuf manguddoota keessaa filamee gara walakkaa saba wal-dhabeetti kan ergamuudha. Jaarsoliin Lichee qabatanii, marga jiidhaa qaccee licheetti hidhanii gara ergamanitti deemu. Eegaa warri lichoon itti dhufte kun warri dhiiraa erga gadi bahanii booda, lichoon akkas jedhaan; Marga ani irraa ka’e ati hin nyaattu, bishaan ani irraa ka’e ati hin dhugduu nuuti aantee male nyaaphaa (diinaa) miti, an lichoodhaa lichoo fuudhi! Eegaasiin duuba Warris ollaa isaan waamanii maarree lichoon laa dhuftee kora (walgayii) bahaa jedhanii ollaa hundumaa waamanii koratti baasu. Erga koratti bahanii booda akkas jechuun ollaa dhufetti dubbii dhageessisu. Lichootu dhufe, lichoo narraa fuudhi jedhee maal jettu jedhuun wal-gaafatu.

Eega yoona yoo waliigalan hayyee laa sirraa fuudhee, an lichoodha ka’i narraa jedhee, deebisee beellama qabaatan. Erga beellamaniin booda warri Kunis akkuma warra jalqaba itti dhufee san beellama isaa kabajee lichee isaanii qabatanii, marga jiidhaa qaccee licheetti maranii, uffata aadaa isaanii uffatanii gara warra beellameetti deemuu. Yeroo kanas sibiila kamiiyyuu qabachuun hin danda’aamu. Lichoon tunis erga warra beellamaniif bira dhaqqabdee, warri isaan itti dhufan nageya erga gaafataniin booda, ollaa jiru hundatti ergatanii lichoon dhuftee bahaa jedhanii gaaddisa jalatti walitti qabamu. Erga walitti qabamanii horii (Korma) araaraa qalatanii, buna qalmaa nyaatanii, daadhiif farsoo jirtu dhuganii nagaan araara isaanii xummuratan. Araarri erga bu’ee kan duraan qe’ee isaarraa baqatee jiru gara qe’eetti deebi’ee, akkuma duraaniitti loon isaa bobbbaafataa, obaasee tiksee waarsee nagaaan waliin jiraatu.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Oromo

Name of Reconciliation: Araara Gondooroo

Themes: Indigenous fermented beverages; Booka

Location of Reconciliation Process: Guji

About Arraara Gondooroo: 

Sirna araaraa heedduu jiran keessaa sirni araaraa gondooroo dhimma lubbuu namaa waan ta’eefi isa hangafadha. Haalli kun yeroo namoonni lama yoo wal-lolan salphina lolaa fi cimina lolaa ilaaluun kan raawwatamudha. Lolli yoo hammaataa dhufe immoo gara waan dhibiitti/biraatti yookiin sadarkaa cimaatti waan deemuuf. Fakkeenyaaf lubbuu baasuufaa danda’a waan ta’eef yeroon gara sirna araaraatti qajeelfama. Danuun yoo uumame hawaasni Oromoo Gujii akkuma aadaa isaatti adeemsa danuu/ajjeechaa tasaa ittiin falatu aadaa boonsaa qaba. Haalli raawwii kanaa adeemsa gondoorrachuutiin harka Miciirrannaa jedhama. Akka aadaa hawaasa Oromoo Gujii fi kan biroo birattillee beekamu, beekaas ta’e, odoo/osoo itti hin yaadiin/tasa/wal-ajjeesuun dhooggaadha. Namni akka nama ykn kan dhiigaa ilma namaa tokko ta’e mara hin ajjeesu kun immoo hantuudha jedha Oromoon Gujii. Abbaan nama ajjeese/dane dursee gochaa raawwate sana aadaan waan hin jaallanneef dafee jaarsolii biyyaattii fi abbaa gadaatti baqata.

Akka aadaa hawaasa Oromoo Gujii kanatti immoo nama gaabbeef hawaasni dafee garaa laafee araaramaaf jedhamee amanama. Jaarsoliin kun haaluma aadaa hawaasichaatiin osoo lubbuun dhibiin/biraa fi qabeenyi hin badiin dubbii jirtu nama danuu kan raawwaterraa fuudhu. Abbaan gadaa aangoo waaqarraa karaa namaa argate jedhamee amanama. Kunis kan mirkanaa’uun abbaa gadaa qumbii nyaachisuuniidha. Sababi qumbii nyaachisaniif akka soba/dhara hin dubbanneefiidha. Namni erga qumbii nyaatee kakuu galee ni du’a malee, dhara/soba hin dubbatu. Hayyoonnis gara maatii namni irraa miidhamee dhaquun, ni gaafatu araaraf ni kadhatu, isaanis, Maaliree erga hayyuun biyyaa jedhee, “Tole abamneerra, Kana isinis aadaa biyyaatiin waan murteessitan murteessaa” jechuun deebii kennu.

Bakki itti gondooran bosona keessa bakka hallayyaa fagoo ta’etti qabatu; sababni isaa hantuu bakka badaatti/gadheetti ofirraa fageessanii falatu waan jedhu of kessaa qaba jedhu. Dabalatanis, karaa namnii fi loon lammata irra hin bane kakuudha, lammata akka nutti hin deebine jedhuudha. Kanaafuu, bakki qabameera hayyoonni waan barbaachisu hunda guuchiftee bakka gondoorratan sanatti boruu barraaqarraa kaasee hanga galgala galchuma looniitti gidduu jirutti sa’aatii muratanitti nama nama dane qabatanii, hoolaa qabatee harkisaa, inni fuula galee/duubaan deemaa. Maaliif lafa barii/boruu ganama/ irraa jalqabee ta’e kan jedhuuf yeroo danuu falatan tokko ifa rabbi duratti raawwachuu akka qabu argisiisuuf jedhu, waan hoolaa qabataniifi immoo hoolaan bineensa keessaa fakkeenya nageenyaati waan ta’eef waaqnillee akka kanatti ilaala. Hoolaa dhufte qalanii dhiigaan namicha qabanii araaraa buusu. Kana booda warra walitti fidanii daadhii dammaa, foon kormaa qalanii achumatti nyaatanii fixanii nagaa  walii buusuun haaloo of keessaa baasuun nagaan galu!

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Oromo

Name of Reconciliation: Gadaa

Themes: Democracy; Forgiveness: Elders

Location of Reconciliation Process: All over Oromia

About Gadaa System:

Abbaa Gadaa

Gadaa is a traditional system of governance used by the Oromo people in Ethiopia. It is an indigenous egalitarian democratic system practiced among the Oromo nation of East Africa. The leader of Gadaa system is called Abbaa Gadaa. If the problem is not solved by Jaarsolii Araaraa (Elders of Reconciliation), the case is postponed to the Gadaa system. So, since the Gadaa system the main parts democracy, it plays the vital roles in reconciliation system in order to solve the problem.

Gadaa as “a method of ensuring that all generations take turns in assuming the authority and responsibility to perform domestic labor, takes part in [public responsibilities], lead their people, make laws, mediate or adjudicate conflicts‟. Each generation class succeeds one another in eight years term of office. A newly born baby necessarily passes through various functionally differentiated successive five stages. At the age of 40 an individual joins the political office (Legesse, 2006). Since an individual participate in different Gadaa stages he participate on the different affairs of the society and at the age of 40 he said to be matured or complete in every matters of the society.

The Oromo Gadaa system is commonly regarded as democratic & egalitarian indigenous institution created by the Oromo to manage their day-to-day life. It is considered democratic among other for its periodic elections; peaceful transfer of political power; equitable distribution of power across generations and down to the community; rule of law & accountability; secularism; social integration and peace building roles and presence of check and balance systems. In the Gadaa system there is no hierarchy or monarchy; all humans deserve to be treated with almost equal respect without regard to human differences (Berisso, 2018) & (Ta’a, 2016). Among the various functions of Oromo Gadaa institutions, its peacemaking &conflict resolution aspect is widely practiced by the Oromo community despite the modern conflict administration system(Dewo, 2008);(Jalata, 2012);(Legesse, 2006). As Dewo (2008:140) explains “the Oromo of Ethiopia maintains that “peace,‟ translated as “nagaa‟, is the essential key to all cosmic and human order, possessing the highest and most central value for humanity to pursue. This view is expressed in the songs they sing, in the prayers and blessings they offer, in the ritual and ceremonial activities they undertake, in the speeches and narrations they deliver, in the administrative and legal actions they perform and in the proverbs, folktales and stories they cite or tell. The Oromo concept and practice of peace is based on traditional values and beliefs anchored in the Gadaa, the politico-military and ritual system of the Oromo”.

Gadaa system has devised mechanisms to resolve any misunderstandings or conflicts at all social levels. Any cases of conflicts are fronted to the “jaarsabiyya‟ (elders), “shanacha‟ (elders council with five members) or “Abba Gada‟ (leader) for “jaarsummaa‟ (mediation) or “arara‟ (reconciliation) process. If the conflicting case is minor enough the immediate neighbor elders‟ manage the issue. A conflict which is strong in depth & extent like death, intra or inter-communal conflicts taken to the “shanacha‟ or “Abba Gada‟ and the reconciliation process is facilitated. Oromo elders or council members are chosen for their knowledge, trust & honesty they acquired from the community”. “settling disputes or restoring peace through Oromo reconciliation goes beyond healing the affected relationship and may results in peace building”. Ta’a (2016) noted similarly as cultural approach to healing leads to conflict transformation.

Click here to read the full research paper (English)

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Oromo

Name of Reconciliation: Haadha Siiqqee

Themes: Women; Ceremonial Stick; Negotiation

Location of Reconciliation Process: Arsi, Borena, and Guji Zones – Southern Oromia

About Haadha Siiqqee:

In the traditional Oromo society, women played distinct roles through the institution called the siiqqee (a symbolic decorated stick given to all women by their mothers upon marriage). It is a sort of sorority that provides women with channels to participate in village councils, and a cultural vehicles to mobiliz in a mass against violence and abuse. Siinqee is described as “a woman’s weapon”, symbolizing the respect and the power that a married woman has. The Siinqee stick is given to a woman in order to protect her rights . Here, it is very important to note that Siinqee is applicable to women who have been married in accordance with the Gadaa system.

Group Conflict

Siiqqee can resolve conflict at the social group level. It resolves conflict among individuals, or families, or groups, or clans. It also resolves conflict among different ethnic groups and nations. The Oromo women understand that personal conflict can spread to the entire community. When they see or hear that there is a conflict leading to a physical fight between groups, or clans the Oromo women call for each other to apply siiqqee conflict resolution mechanism to stop the conflict

Danbi

The Oromo women apply iya siiqqee to practice which is called Danbi (prayer for spouse in conflict, environmental issues and the like) to exercise their spiritual power to intervene in environmental issues. Danbi is a prayer that women do when there is famine, or pandemic, or drought.

Siiqqee Migration

Oromo oral tradition tells that if the husband violates the right of his wife, and if it takes a long time, for instance, two or three days to resolve, the hadha siiqqee (women who participate in iya siiqqee) will not return to their homes until the conflict will be resolved.

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)

Ethnic Group: Oromo

Name of Reconciliation: Jaarsuummaa

Themes: Forgiveness; Hugging; Punishment; Stones; Spears; Compensation; Elders

Location of Reconciliation Process: All over Oromia, but particular to Illu Ababora, Bele Gesgar Woreda, East Arsi, Guji, Western Hararghe Zone, Welmera, and Wollega

Stages of Jaarsuummaa Process:

Jaarsuummaa is a well-structured system. Social disharmony and disequilibrium is repaired through Jaarsuummaa which is a process of reconciliation and peacemaking. Jaarsuummaa system is mainly characterized by the presence of a neutral third party who mediates between the disputants. The process of the conflict resolution is led by male elders/leaders of the community. The elders accomplish such roles through their institution called Jaarsa Biyyaa (elders of the community) also called jaarsa araaraa (elders of reconciliation).

The terms jaarsa and aaraara, literally mean elder and reconciliation respectively. Jaarsummaa is always started with Eebba (blessings) by holding margaa (green grass) upon their hands.

Therefore, the elders function as a court with broad and flexible powers to interpret evidence, impose judgments, and manage the process of reconciliation.

Procedure to institute the case before the Jaarsa Biyyaa

Cases are referred to the Jaarsa Biyyaa tribunals in two ways.The first way is in which the aggrieved party or victim or a relative or his clan may present his petition orally to the institution. In the second situation, members of the Jaarsa Biyyaa themselves approach the parties to disclose the cause of their disagreement. The latter happens for example when the members of Jaarsa Biyyaa tribunals understand the case from the conduct of the disputants or obtain some indirect information on the existence of a dispute or disagreement between individuals. It is part of the social life that even when the parties are reluctant to present their cases, one of the duties of elders is to interfere to entertain the case to ensure peace.

When disputes or enmity simmers for a long period of time among individuals or sub-groups in the society, people say: Jaarsa Biyyaa hinjiruu? (Literally, “Is there no elder in that community?”). The above two ways of referral apply to criminal, civil and commercial cases alike. But, it seems that when the dispute is of nature that is capable of destabilizing the community, the Jaarsa Biyyaa would become involved faster and take a more proactive role.

The process of hearing and giving justice

Having received the case in any one of the above referral systems, the elders fix the date and place of meeting.

It is usually carried out at central place called Aradda mostly under Oda tree (a Sycamore under which the Oromo usually call public gatherings) during the week. Regarding the actual process of the dispute settlement before the Jaarsa Biyyaa, it starts by the members electing of one among them (their number normally varies from three to five for minor cases and the number may increase more than this for serious cases) as Abbaa Murtii (Judge) and two others as investigators (lamii qoraa).

Oda Tree / Sycamore

Before taking up this responsibility these elders are required to take a traditional oath called kakuu. They usually take an oath in front of a public gathering. The kakuu is believed to make the justice process objective. This is because, after an oath, every member of Jaarsa Biyyaa is expected to be free from any kind of corruption and bribery and is believed to be fair and faithful to both parties regardless of their social status and clan background.

After the swearing, the elders are considered to have been fully transformed and are believed to speak and do nothing but the truth making them capable of handling the issue of reconciliation and bringing peace among the disputant parties. The three men, i.e. Abbaa Murtii and the two lamii qoraas have special positions in the Jaarsa Biyyaa. The Lamii qoras sit on opposite sides looking at each other. They all are required to handle a halange (a whip of considerable length), which is considered as a sign of truth. After the qoraa opened the discussion saying „kottu – dhufe‟ the appeal is heard from both sides, that is from the accuser and the accused respectively. Here both of them have a very wide „democratic‟ right to argue over their cases in a way that they thought advantageous to their cases.

They are seriously questioned and examined by the qoraas and other participants of the meeting. The defendants may completely deny the crime of which she/he was accused. In fact, the defendant is expected to confess. During the argument, all the participants of the meeting have full rights to suggest what they felt as a solution for the case under treatment. Whenever someone from among the participants wants to give his opinion, he would ask the Abbaa Murtii or the lamii qoraas saying nagumgumachisi (allow me to speak). He speaks whether his idea is valid or invalid. It is up to the elders to decide whether to consider or not what he raised. If the defendant has insisted on denial after a long investigation by the lamii qoraas and other participants of the meeting, both parties are ordered by the Abbaa Murtii to stay alone and separately for a short time at away from the site of discussion.

The judges and the participants discuss, investigate and argue about all what the plaintiff and the defendant have said. If the verdict was not naturally in order on that date, a spontaneous judgment would not be passed. The problem will be allowed to rest in accordance with the principle of bultii (postponing the issue to another day of meeting). The Jaarsa Biyyaa elders would come together on the date of adjournment and utilize the mechanism called Cokoo (separating the disputant parties). In this case the disputant parties are made to stay at different places to investigate the case in detail. Each group is dealt with separately in turn. Here the elders order both parties to stay away from the site of discussion to evaluate the degree of credibility of the statements made by both parties. The elders report

what they heard from the defendant to plaintiff and vice-versa separately. If the defendant still continues to refuse to confess, the elders call the plaintiff to present his evidence. The witnesses are also required to take an oath before they give their witness, in the presence of the criminal and his relatives.

After the available evidences confirm the crime, he would be proved to be the criminal. Then the elders pass a decision that the convicted should pay compensation or return all what he owes the plaintiff. The amount and kind of compensation or redress depends on the nature of the wrong done. Sometimes the accused person who is proved to be a criminal may be required to compensate the victim either financially by giving cash money or slaughtering a sheep, goat or an ox. In case of damage or injury to the body or loss of life, the procedures as well as the penalties to be determined follow a procedure of Gumaa (blood compensation). In cases where the truth or fact-finding process takes long and seems impossible due to lack of Raga (evidence) or the unwillingness of the defendant, the latter has to take Kakuu, together with notable men including his father, mother, elder brother, wife (if any). But if one of these persons is absent or refuses to submit to the Kakku, the Kakku taken by the defendant would be invalid and the defendant will be easily proved to be the criminal. No one will be willing to take an oath unless he knows for sure that the suspected person did not commit the crime. If they are confident that the suspected person has not committed the said crime, they would recite the oath statements after the eldest person among the Jaarsa Biyyaa.

If the Kakku is undertaken by all who are required to undergo the process without any one missing or refusing it gives assurance that the suspected person did not commit the crime. In this case, the elders bless both parties to conclude the reconciliation.

Enforcement of the decisions of the jaarsa biyyaa

Decisions of the Jaarsa Biyyaa institution are generally enforceable. The community members have accepted this arrangement and submit to its jurisdictions voluntarily. But, when members of the community sometime refuse to implement the decisions of the institution, such enforcement mechanisms as social sanctions that include ostracization and banishment of the convicted offender would be employed. The binding force of the decisions are also aided by the prestige accorded and general recognition and acceptance made by the society as a whole to the institution and to its members.

Click here to read the full research paper (English)

Click here to read the full research paper (Oromo)