FOR BETTER OROMIA

Abbaa Gadaa Guyyoo Gobbaa, 70th Abbaa Gadaa of Booranaa

Guyyoo Gobbaa is the 70th elected Abbaa Gadaa of southern Oromina, Borana of Oromo people on, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009 in Badhaasaa ,  southern Oromia.

Guyyoo Gobbaa became the 70th Abbaa Gadaa of the Oromo of Borana Zone, Southern Oromia of East Africa  in a secret ceremony considered so sacred it has the power to kill unauthorized observers.

Like his predecessors, he was chosen from the people according to the Gadaa Rule to serve an eight year term in a system that rotates power between the people and is as difficult to explain to outsiders as the American electoral college.

(AP Photo/Anita Powell)

Oromian cattle-herding people elects new Abbaa Gadaa

By Daandii Ragabaa

RAGABAA, Oromia (Oromedia) — A cattle-herding people in southern Oromia has elected a new Abbaa Gadaa in a secret ceremony considered so sacred that the Oromo of Borena zone  people believe it has the power to kill unauthorized observers.

Guyyoo Gobbaa is spending the three days following his inauguration Tuesday drinking warm beer under an Odaa, Sacred tree and eating goat meat with various elders and government officials, some of whom walked hundreds of miles to his village.

Like his predecessors, Guyyoo was chosen from the people to serve an eight-year term in a system that rotates power between the people and is as difficult to explain to outsiders as the American electoral college.

“If you see them exchanging power you’ll die,” said Mohammed Nur, a member of the Oromo of Borena  tribe who is also a local government official. “You’ll spit blood. It is totally sacred.”

The Borena Abbaa Gadaa is recognized as an Oromo  traditional leader in the current Ethiopian TPLF-led  government official and his duties will include mediating in land disputes between tribes.

Traditional rulers exist alongside formal government in many African countries, and their behind-the scenes influence can help or hinder vital national interests.

In the oil-rich Niger Delta, chiefs in top hats and coral beads have sponsored peace talks between rival militant gangs and helped free foreign hostages. In Uganda, the government has legally limited the traditionally independent kingdoms to cultural custodians, but they can use their influence to encourage people to take part in campaigns like the one trying to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Guyyoo, a 36-year-old cattle farmer, has promised to fix his 1 million people’s ailing economy by improving access to livestock markets and patching up relations with other tribes.

Desertification and punishing droughts are gradually pushing Guyyoo’s people to seek pasture for their cattle and camel herds further and further from home, bringing them into conflict with other tribes already settled on those lands.

Guyyoo’s official seal of power is a whip made of rhinoceros and giraffe parts, but he says he does not intend to use it, preferring diplomacy.

“My main aim is to uphold this traditional culture,” he said. “Not only for Borena. For the whole of Oromia.”

The Oromo of Borena say their system, which dates back more than 550 years, relies on co-operation between the clans to ensure peaceful transitions and limits the potential damage caused by a bad king to eight years.

But even as they hail their new Abbaa Gadaa, perhaps the advantages of a different form of governance have not been entirely lost on the Borena of Oromia.

The 2-month-old son of Mohammed, the government official, is not eligible for the Borena kingship under traditional rules. But little Barack’s father — so named after Mohammed’s wife lost her plea to name the boy Obama — demurred before ruling him out.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked about the future. “Maybe we won’t want the traditional power. Maybe we’ll want the democratic one.”

Advertisements

One thought on “Abbaa Gadaa Guyyoo Gobbaa, 70th Abbaa Gadaa of Booranaa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: