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Old wine in new bottles: bridging the peripheral Gadaa rule to the mainstream constitutional order of the 21st C. Ethiopia

ZT Sima


In sub-Saharan African countries where democracy and rule of law are proclaimed but in several circumstances not translated into practice, it appears vital to look into alternatives that can fill governance deficits. It is against this backdrop that ‘‘Old Wine in New Bottles: Bridging the Peripheral Gadaa Rule to the Mainstream Constitutional Order of the 21st Century Ethiopia” came into focus. The main objective of this article is, therefore, to respond to the search of alternative solution to hurdles democratization process, Africa as a region as well as Ethiopia as a country faces, through African indigenous knowledge of governance, namely the Gadaa System. Accordingly, institutional and fundamental principles analyzed in this article clearly indicate that indigenous system of governance such as the Gadaa System embraces indigenous democratic values that are useful in 21st century Ethiopia. In sum, three main reasons support this article: first, in Africa no system of governance is perfectly divorced from its indigenous institutions of governance; second, indigenous knowledge of governance as a resource that could enhance democratization in Ethiopia should not be left at peripheries; and third, an inclusive policy that accommodates diversity and ensures the advancement of human culture appeals.

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print ISSN: 2304-8239