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By Salad Malicha
The atmosphere in Isiolo County was like no other when the Boran traditional King HE Kura Jarso made an impromptu meet the people tour on 5th December, 2018. It was a complete grid lock when normal business came to stand still owing to the presence of the 71st supreme Boran Oromo leader Kura Jarso. Historically, the Borana Oromo has a very prominent traditional system of governance-the Gada System. This system is not only well developed and well preserved among the Borana Oromo but also a viable socio-political system to date, comparable to no other region in Oromiya since 1456. The Isiolo community got wind of the supreme leader’s made visit at short notice and as such various respected stakeholders led by Borana Council of Elders (BCE), other community elders who hail from Oromo sub tribes like Borana, Sakuye, Gabbra and Watta and Isiolo County Government put spanner into the works to make event successful.
Ecstatic preparation was hurriedly put up in place to give arousing welcome that befits the status of the Borana supreme leader.
The town melted into rapturous and frenzy meteoric mood to an extent when a mammoth crowd of people trooped in a convoy of about 200 vehicles covering more than 40 Kilometers away from Isiolo town to receive the most powerful Borana leader.
The mood at Archers post was euphoric all day long and Mulata Hotel was packed with people from every corner of Isiolo County.
The crowd at Archers post
Therefore, the Abba Gada (Kura Jarso) in the Oromo Gada system is rightfully considered as the King rather than a president who can make decisions alone. The Gada System has developed through the cumulative experiences gained from practices and lessons of many generations of Oromo Nation.
Though the preparation was arbitrarily pieced up together in haste by the organising committee led by Chairman of the Borana Council of Elders and Isiolo County Government, the celebration began spontaneously with pomp, colour and pageantry. The reception received by the Borana supreme leader is beyond mere expression of words.His itinerary was meticulously planned by Isiolo County government through able leadership of Chief officer for culture and Social Services Hon. Mustapha Kuntulo and Chief Officer for Public Service Management Hon. Abdikadir A. Koricha who superintended the programme with military precision. Understandably, the two Chief officers took charge of the programme courtesy of the Isiolo County Government top leadership. They worked in tandem with the office of the civic education led by Yussuf Huka, the Borana Council of Elders and the organising committee. Moreover, the national government through the county commissioner provided tight security normally meant for eminent persons and dignitaries.
When H.E Kura Jarso arrived, he paid courtesy call to the office of the County Commissioner. The supreme leader reiterated the essence of people living together peacefully. From there, the supreme leader later visited Isiolo County Assembly where he was accorded warm welcome by the diligent staff and members of the county assembly.
He had hearty and cheerful brainstorming sessions with the Speaker of the Isiolo County Assembly Hon. Hussein Halakhe.
After finalising with Isiolo County Assembly courtesy call, the supreme leader and his entourage was cordially received at the County Secretary’s board room by the Chief Officer for Culture and Social Services Hon. Mustapha Kuntulo on behalf of the Governor and the County Government. At this juncture, Hon. Kuntulo introduced the team of able Chief Officers present comprising of Hon. Salad Kadubo, Hon. Rukia Mokku, Hon. Abdia Dabaso, Hon. Abdikadir Koricha and Hon. Ibrahim Challa. Hon. Kuntulo who was the team leader enlightened the king and his esteemed delegation about Isiolo County Government and the tacit support availed during his impromptu maiden tour. The supreme finally signed Governor’s visitors book and proceeded with his next itinerary. It is worth to note that Isiolo County Government provided logistics and fully funded all programme and activities of the Borana King.
Isiolo County Government played a major role in terms of soliciting  for funds in the shortest time possible for the reception of the supreme leader and Isiolo County elected leaders. The Borana King was accompanied his predecessor Guyyo Goba and other dignitaries.
Guyyo Goba- Predecessor to the current Aba Gada
After finalising with government protocol, he was escorted to the Mulata resort to address multitude of electric crowd where he received heroic reception. At Mulata, the supreme leader was joined by Isiolo County elected leaders led by the Governor (HE. Mohamed Kuti), Isiolo North MP (Hon. Hassan Odha), Isiolo South MP (Hon. Abdi Koropu), Isiolo County Women Representative (Hon. Rehema Jaldesa), Speaker of the County Assembly Hon. Hussein Halakhe, Members of the County Assembly from Isiolo and Marsabit counties.
The reception received by the Borana supreme leader cannot be put into words. During the function, the supreme leader emphasised that the Oromos comprise of several tribes are known for their remarkable indigenous democratic socio-political system known as the Gadawhich they have kept working for the last five centuries.
The Borana king urged Isiolo County communities to co-exist amicably in terms of  political, economic, social and religious activities of all the communities living in Isiolo. He further, reiterated on the proper mechanism of socialization, education, religious expression, peace maintenance and social cohesion and promotes the principles of equality and freedom.
Gadaa is an egalitarian socio-economic and political system of the Oromo people, in which power rotates between five Gadaa classes every eight years. Under Gadaa, members of the society are organized into 11 age-based grades that range from birth to death. While its influence has waned due to the encroaching forces of modernity, religious influence and decades of political repression, it has stood the test of time. The Borana are among the few remaining Oromo tribes to still fully practice the Gada system.
The Gada traditional system of governance regulates political, economic, social and religious activities of the community dealing with issues such as conflict resolution, reparation and protecting women’s rights. It serves as a mechanism for enforcing moral conduct, building social cohesion, and expressing forms of community culture.
In a historic achievement for the Oromo people, in November 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed the Gadaa system on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity .
“The system regulates political, economic, social and religious activities of the community dealing with issues such as conflict resolution, reparation and protecting women’s rights,” UNESCO said at the time. “It serves as a mechanism for enforcing moral conduct, building social cohesion, and expressing forms of community culture.”
It was like no other day for the great people of Isiolo County for the superb hosting of the Borana supreme leader.
🕊🕊🕊God bless the people of Isiolo! Long live Aba Gada!- The Borana King 🕊🕊🕊🕊

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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