Home > Uncategorized > One party and multi-deputy PM system in Ethiopia

One party and multi-deputy PM system in Ethiopia

One party and multi-deputy PM system in Ethiopia

By Legesse.T

Our government has buried the constitution once and for all. We can’t find a single constitutional provision any where under the FDRE constitution which says the country can have two, three or more deputy prime ministers at a time. Art 9(3) declares that “It is prohibited to assume state power in any manner other than that provided under the Constitution.” The Government’s decision is undeniably unconstitutional and the House of Federation is responsible to proclaim such acts invalid as per Art 9 (1).

Art 9(1)

“The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Any law,…… or a decision of an organ of state or a public official which contravenes this Constitution shall be of no effect.”

The House of Federation is the constitutional umpire in Ethiopia. The power to interpret the constitution (62(1)) and make decisions on constitutional disputes (83(1)) are given to this house. Opposition parties and members of the EPRDF may bring such a case to the attention of the House of Federation by virtue of Art 37. The House may give a deaf ear to cases like this. But, the illegality of the move by the government should be disclosed to the public through this constitutionally allowed adjudication process.

While having an Ethnic Federal system is so complex and a potential source of conflict, the government is even making things worse by introducing such unwarranted precedent. If this can be done, then who can stop the government from appointing 20 or so deputy prime ministers for each sector? Why we need to have ministers after all if we have many deputy prime ministers to handle different government departments? Does the government know why a country needs to have just one deputy prime minister instead of two or more? Who should represent the prime minister in his absence? All the deputies? What if there exists a dispute over exercise of power among them? Should they (the deputies) wait for a decision on their disagreement before they act? If so, how a system which can create such a gap could be indispensable?

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