Home > Uncategorized > What a MANO! A Barefaced Constitutional Violation

What a MANO! A Barefaced Constitutional Violation

What a MANO! A Barefaced Constitutional Violation

By Legesse.T

PM HMD and his comrades are arguing that the country has only one deputy Prime Minister (Demeke) and the government has not violated any constitutional provision. What is their legal authority to say so? It is not just the nomenclature given to the new appointees which has led us all to be skeptical about the new deputies, but the power given to them. It is up to the council of ministers to decide on the organizational structure of ministries and other organs of government responsible to it (Art 77(2) of FDRE constitution). But that doesn’t include reshuffling of constitutionally identified and established offices like the prime minister and the deputy prime minister. Art 74 and 75 have already established these offices and determined their powers. There is one prime minister under Art 74 and one deputy PM under Art 75. It is after launching these two important offices that the constitution left other lower executive organs including ministries and others to be structured by the council of ministers as it wishes as per Art 77(2). We cannot take away a constitutional power from the PM or DPM and assign it to the so called coordinators of the respective clusters in the “Deputy Prime-Minister-ship Position.” If we do so, that would stand against Art 9(3).

The PM himself explained that his direct supervision over the activities of executive organs will be limited to diplomatic, military, security and mega project affairs. This would clearly contradict with Art 74 which has made the PM the “Chief executive’’ and the one who is responsible to follow, supervise and ensure enforcement of the country’s laws and policies in all sectors. This would also have an implication on the powers to be exercised by the deputy PM as he has to act on behalf of the PM in his absence (Art 74(1)).

The Deputy Prime Minister is also assigned to run the social affairs cluster. What does it mean? Is Demeke managing three offices (Acting as a Deputy Prime Minister, Education Minister and Coordinator of his own cluster)? Oh, that might be too much and the same is true when we consider other new appointees. Where is the division of labor then which is an important reason behind the doctrine of separation of power i.e. to bring efficiency? Of course, the government came up with these clusters to ensure efficiency. Let alone the deputy Prime Minister, the PM has gave up (he seems so tired early) and officially admitted that some of his powers will be exercised by the new coordinators. Then, don’t you think that the whole constitutional arrangement is set aside and the new cluster coordinators are now having a power that is even more than what is assigned to the deputy PM under the constitution? Where is their legal authority? Deputy ministership and other lower positions could be given and taken back any time by the government. But, what the government has done is a bit more. I would say it is MANO and needs correction instead of justifying the same. The government has not mentioned a legal basis for its action rather it has made reference to other countries’ executive structures, Ethiopian regional states’ executive organizations and the previous federal government executive arrangements as inputs used by it. All these cannot make the government’s action valid as they will not be above the FDRE constitution (the supreme law of the land).

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