The Sidama nation was administered by the Mote system. Mote is the
system of administration where Motichcha who is equivalent to King,
is nominated by the family and near relatives for the position. The
nominated Mote is presented to a Fichche, the Sidama new year celebration,
for Qeexala or popular demonstration which serves as both approval and
mass media to communicate the decision to the general public. Then the
Motichcha starts to carry out his duties and responsibilities. The Motichcha
is the head of political and administrative structure. The Motichcha
is assisted by Ga’ro which is next to the former in politico-adminstrative
The Mote and Ga’ro rule in consultation with the council of people’s
representatives known as the Songo. The Songo is similar to the modern
day parliament. There was a great parliamentary democracy in Songo.
Agenda for discussion was forwarded by every member of the Songo and
decisions were made by the members and forwarded to the Mote for approval.
The Songo did not have written constitution. It was guided by the oral
constitution which was handed over by generations and was learnt by
all involved by heart. Mote was involved in over all political and administrative
issues of the society including defense, provision of justice, and the
The defense side of the administration is handled by Gaadana or war
leader. The Luwa system which involves both administrative and cultural
aspects of the Sidama society was mainly responsible for the defense
activities of the society. Luwa is administered by an age grade system
where each grade rotates every 8 years. There are five rotating grades
in the Luwa system: these are: Darara, Fullassa, Hirobora, Wawassa and
Mogissa. The Malga clan adds Binancha as the sixth grade.
In Luwa system recruits stay outside of their homes for about 5 months.
During this period the recruits carry out military training and training
on war songs like Geerarsha. Luwa is ruled by a democratic principle
and its leader is known as Gadaana. The deputy of Gadaana is known as
Ja’lawa. Under Ja’lawa comes Murrichcha who during war time
leads Murassa an equivalent of a division.
The cultural affairs of the Sidama society is handled by the Woma system.
The Woma system has its own council known as the Womu Songo. Woma acts
like a cultural and religious leader. He usually performs Kakalo (sacrifices)
and other cultural and religious rituals including marriage and circumcision.