Ethiopia: Is three Deputy Prime Ministers Constitutional?

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Nov 30th, 2012
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Ethiopian ruling junta showed progress in the 5 year GTP plan by electing 3 Deputy prime minister. We don’t have any constitutional provision that allow the parliament to elect three deputies prime minister though the ruling junta doesn’t respect their own constitution. There is only one Deputy Prime minister as stipulated under the constitution. The constitution states “the deputy Prime Minister… not the Deputy Prime ministers… ”.

Read Article 75 the Deputy Prime Minister:

1. The Deputy Prime Minister shall: (a) perform the duties assigned to him by the Prime Minister; (b) represent the Prime Minister in his absence.

2. The Deputy Prime Minister is accountable to the Prime Minister.

The election of three deputy prime ministers shows absence of trustee among the coalition members of EPRDF. They are trying to appoint higher officials from different tribe among the four political parties. This has happened in opposition with the interview of the communication minister Ato Bereket Simon after the election of Hailemariam Dessaleign and Demeke Mekonnen as Prime minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively as the election is made irrespective of tribe or race rather than commitment and dedication among the new generation by excluding the old body guard.

Though the ruling junta always denies the existence of TPLF influence or supremacy, we can easily see from the election of yesterday cabinet members Dr. Tewodross Adehanom as foreign minister and Ato. Debretsion G/Michael as Deputy Prime Minister.

Ato Bereket Simon was trying to convince the Ethiopian people by false propaganda as always they did stating a change is made inside the EPRDF policy. We don’t see any change that can satisfy even the interest of the ruling party members. After yesterday parliament cabinet members election EPRDF members complaining as the government is unable to rule the country.

The following will be the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers ruling Ethiopia:-

1. Ato Hailemariam Dessaleign (Welayta) Prime Minister
2. Ato Demeke Mekonnen (Amhara) Deputy Prime Minister
3. Ato Debretsion G/Michael (Tigray) Deputy Prime Minister.
4. Dr. Tewodross Adehanom (Tigary) Foreign Minister
5. Ato Muktar Kedir (Oromiya) Deputy Prime Minister

As I have read from the EPRDF supporter website aiga forum “the new appointment is made in line with the transition plan EPRDF has started some three years ago.” Though the constitution is the supreme law of the land as stated under article 9 of the constitution they are ruling the country in the way they want in denial of human and democratic right of the Ethiopian people even as stipulated under their constitution.

Article 9 Supremacy of the Constitution

1. This Constitution is the supreme law of the land. All laws, customary practices, and decisions made by state organs or public officials inconsistent therewith, shall be null and void.
2. All citizens, state organs, political organizations, other associations and their officials, have the duty to comply with this Constitution and abide by it.
3. Assuming power in any manner other than as provided by this Constitution is prohibited.
4. International agreements ratified by Ethiopia are an integral part of the law of the land.

The democratic and human rights of the Ethiopian people aren’t respected since they took power. I am not trying to criticize in comparison with other country or the international law. But I am criticizing the ruling party based on the existed constitution ratified and approved by them, but not by the Ethiopian people. They don’t respect the stipulated provisions either. There is no freedom of speech and expression (Article 29), Freedom of Religion, Conscience and Thought (Article 27) and other. The government denied individual democratic right of freedom of expression.

Hundreds and thousands of journalists, political activists, professors,,,, etc are arrested, tortured, thrown to prison because of their opposing view of the ruling party activity and their exposition of their criminal activity to the Ethiopian people and to the whole world. Though the government forms secular state (according to Article 11), currently the ruling junta interferes on the religion of the Ethiopian Muslims. These people who are fighting for freedom, democracy and justice in Ethiopia are considered as terrorist, extremists, criminal, collaborators,,,,,,, in the eye of the ruling party.

Any Ethiopian who opposes the ruling part residing abroad considered as “toxic Diaspora” in the eye of the ruling party that they are terrorists.

Article 29 Right to Hold Opinions, Thoughts and Free Expressions

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without any interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression without interference. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through other media of his choice.
3. Freedom of the press and mass media as well as freedom of artistic creation is guaranteed. Press freedom shall, in particular, include the rights enumerated hereunder: a) that censorship in any form is prohibited. b) the opportunity to have access to information of interest to the public.
4. The press shall be granted institutional independence and legal protection to enable it to accommodate different opinions and ensure the free flow of information, ideas and opinions that are necessary in a democratic society.
5. Any media financed or controlled by the government shall be organized in a manner suitable for the accommodation of differences of opinion.
6. Nothing in the foregoing shall absolve anyone of liability arising from laws enacted to protect public morals, peace, human dignity and democratic rights of citizens.

Article 27 Freedom of Religion, Conscience and Thought

1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion by force or any other means, which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3. Parents and legal guardians shall have the right, in accordance with their belief, to give their children religious or moral instruction.
4. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others and to ensure the secular nature of the State.

Article 11 Separation of State and Religion

1. The Ethiopian State is a secular state.
2. There shall be no state religion.
3. The State shall not interfere in religious affairs; neither shall religion interfere in the affairs of the State.

Above all it doesn’t make any difference criticizing the ruling party. They are doing what they want to do. We need to unite regardless of our economic, social, political and belief difference to save our country. All opposition political parties, civic organizations, individuals and groups need to stand together to bring freedom, democracy and justice in our country.

God bless Ethiopia!
Unison can bring the change!
You can reach the writer at:- abenezer2013@gmail.com

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