This paper describes the role of the Gadaa system, a uniquely democratic political and social institution of the Oromo people in Ethiopia, in the utilization of important resources such as water, as well as its contribution in conflict resolution among individuals and communities. It discusses ways to overcome the difference between customary and statutory approaches in conflict resolution. A synthesis of customary and statutory system of conflict resolution may facilitate a better understanding that will lead to improved management of resources, which are predominant variables for the socio-economic development of the country. It suggests that top-down imposition and enforcement of statutory laws that replace customary laws should be avoided. Instead, mechanisms should be sought to learn from the Lubas, elders who are knowledgeable in the Gadaa system, about the customary mechanisms of conflict resolution so as to
integrate them in enacting or implementing statutory laws.