Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 218

Full Length Research Paper

Re-examining the philosophy of constitutionalism and Governance in the Gadaa Republic of the Oromo People in the Horn of Africa

Solomon Gutema
  • Solomon Gutema
  • Department of Law, Faculty of Law, Wollega University, School of Law, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 31 August 2020
  •  Accepted: 18 November 2020
  •  Published: 31 December 2020


Constitution and government are the different faces of the same coin in any political ideology; since a constitution is an instrument through which a government governs its citizens. However, a constitution may be either a democratic one; or an undemocratic one. Accordingly, the legitimacy of a constitution is based on its making process, contents, and practices in a certain state. Thus, if its making process is participatory; if it consists of fundamental human rights and democratic principles in its contents; as well as, if it is implemented practically by the government; a constitution is a legitimate constitution, if not it is an illegitimate one. Consequently, this paper seeks to re-examine the extent of constitutionalism in the Gadaa Republic of the Oromo people. Its main objective is to assess the prevailing opportunities and challenges in the constitution-making process, contents, and practices of the Gadaa Constitution to ensure constitutionalism. To achieve its purpose, this study has employed a qualitative methodology which includes a review of related literature, and analyses of legal documents. The findings of this study have pointed out that in the Gadaa Republic of the Oromo, the sovereign political power vests in the hands of the people, and the rule of law is well respected in the Gadaa Republic of the Oromo people. Consequently, the principles of constitutionalism are well recognized in the Gadaa Republic. Hence, this paper has recommended that it is better to mold these Gadaa oriented principles to the status of the modern constitutional principles in Ethiopia.  


Key words: Constitutionalism, constitution, Gadaa, Oromo.