Oromianism – The Indigenous Philosophy of Oromo

By Worku Burayu (PhD), August 23, 2021


It is important to keep the promises we make. Right? I have promised my readers to write an article about Oromianism. Before giving any attempt to define it, knowing about the Oromo people, their language, homeland, and capital city will help readers understand the whole picture of Oromianism. Some of the highlights are given below, but readers are encouraged to explore my previous articles (November 26, 2020; September 3, 2020; January 21, 2019; September 22, 2018; September 6, 2018; August 28, 2018) to get detail information.

Oromo: Oromo are the single largest people in northeast Africa. In the present Ethiopia alone, they are estimated to be a good half of the total population of 116 million and more than half a million extending into Kenya.

Afaan Oromoo: Oromo called their language, Afaan Oromoo. It is the fourth-most widely spoken language of Africa, after Arabic, Hausa, and Swahili (Kiswahili). It is spoken predominantly by the Oromo people and neighboring ethnic groups and countries in the Horn of Africa including Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Djibouti.

Oromia: Oromo also called their homeland Oromia. It is a title used to refer to the Oromo as a political, cultural, and social entity. It is in the horn of Africa covering more than 600,000 square kilometers, about twice the size of Italy.

Finfinne: It is the capital and largest city of Oromia. The name attests the abundance of natural hot springs (“hora” in Afaan Oromoo) at the heart of the city, where cattle used to be flourished. The area was solely inhabited by Oromo clans of Gulale, Eekka, Galan, Abbichu and was being administered by their own leaders: like Tufa Muna and Dula Harra and others.

Oromianism Defined:

I visualize Oromianism as a political, social, economic, and cultural philosophy encompassing a range of diverse and independent ideology characterized by equality, liberty, justice, and democratic Oromo Gadaa governance. It includes: we the people-Oromo; the beautiful homeland-Oromia; the African popular language-Afaan Oromoo; the unity of purpose and love-Oromoness; the culture, language, identity and ideology-Oromummaa; the strength, liberty and prosperity-Sabboonummaa; the accommodating and inclusiveness value-Guddiiffacha and Moggaffacha; the native inhabitant; the pioneer and historic humane kind; the self-expressed bold identity; the mutually respected solidarity of pro-African nation; the interwoven cultural diverse; the popular democratic self-governing indigenous ideology; the deliverance of  liberty; the implementation of justice; and the right to self-defense.

Is Oromianism can be achieved under Ethiopian unity?

Feudalism, Socialism, Abyssinianism, fake Ethnic Federalism (revolutionary democracy), and Prosperity Party’s ‘Medemer’ under Empire Ethiopia have been tried and miserably failed to address the fundamental issues Ethiopia is facing and the Oromo self-determination quest. It has been tried to repair Empire Abyssinia for at least a century and half. By force, not by will, our forefathers, and their decedents including some of our generations have fought for the Empire, gave their blood and bone but not their soul. In return, Oromo has suffered, killed, mistreated, expelled etc. Many scenarios including Kingdoms have been tried under unattainable genuine Ethiopian unity. History taught us, forced unifying processes did not work when freedom and independences are given up. Thus, freedom in Ethiopian unity is not working.

What is the main conflict in Ethiopia?

As we know clearly, war, conflict, and famine are the true expressive characters of Ethiopia.  The main conflict in Ethiopia is political differences but not like political controversies in many Western countries, which can occur in mono-national state, such as class struggle, but it is a conflict between different national groups within multinational state. In Oromo case, it is a result of conflict between two main political ideologies or systems: Abyssinian-Habeshanism (masked with Ethiopianism) and Oromianism. For example, between Abyssinian system-ruling elites and the Oromo nation. Centuries of Abyssinian system of domination ruined, smeared, and disgraced the glorious Gadaa system resulting to the diminishing of liberty, democracy, equality, and development. Consequently, there is always a conflict between Abyssinizim and Oromianism systems. When we talk about conflict between Abyssinizim and Oromianism, we should try to concentrate on its way of resolution rather than only being absorbed by its problem part. A conflict resolution is often pursued in a wide-range of methods in addressing the possible sources of conflict – whether at the inter-personal level or between states – and in finding a means of resolving a given conflict or in continuing it through less destructive forms. The processes of conflict resolution do generally include negotiation, mediation, diplomacy, and creative peacebuilding. We may ask: can the conflict in the Abyssinian empire be solved in such approaches? What are the lessons we have learned so far? It is a wider topic Oromo should discuss again and again.

Is freedom in separatism a remedy?

The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights states that: By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the Charter. So, what is next?

What must we do to get the true liberty?

The Oromo have been striving to regain the past magnificence of Gadaa democracy, through liberation struggles. Oromo’s original strength and glory will slowly come back, be it in form of mono-state named Oromia or as a reengineered country of multiple states (including an Oromo State, Oromia) living in a good neighborhood to each other in the region. It is up to the respective public to decide which one of the two forms of living together will prevail or to design other options. In both cases, Oromo people will have freedom from tyranny to live and further strengthen Oromianism in its true blessed sense. We can achieve this when we will not further allow Abyssinian-Habeshanism to hide themselves behind the name like Ethiopian unity.

Oromianism-The way forward!

Oromianism and Internal Unity: For Oromo, it is a must to reclaim the glorious past homebased, synergetic, and indigenous way of life-Oromianism. Either genuinely or for political purposes we talk much about Tokkummaa (unity) than any other things. A group can function very well together in spirit, in mind, and physically, when their unworldly ideas are similar or mutual interests are alike but recognizing that each single individual of the group needs to have the freedom to express the ideal into a unique form, on its own. It is essential that unity is seen at the level of invisible spirit, not necessarily showing on the outside. That invisible spirit encompassed Oromianism. The popular Oromo movement can become more effective if it is channeled through a connected unifying Oromianism ideology, concept, and a visionary leadership. Promoting and fighting in unity for the interests of Oromo will be the solution for Ethiopia’s persistent political problems. The invisible spirit of unity is the key to establishing freedom, equality, and justice. The center point of our questions will be concluded when the right to self-determination is realized, and choice of the people is executed and respected. When you move unconnectedly and apart, your struggle would be confined for the response of many but sometimes insignificant short-term problems. We must know, our struggle is significantly bigger than the solution for the land grub, the release of political prisoners or the restoration of Internet/Phones access. When we gear all our energy organized in internal unity with the concepts and attitudes of Oromianism towards the right to self-determination we will get the final solution for our own questions and be a driver in our life.


Horaa Bulaa!

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