In the Event of the Death or Disability of Meles Zenawi By Tecola W. Hagos

July 23rd, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Part One

I. Introduction

Due to recent events surrounding the sickness of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, speculations from the morbid to the sublime abound about the status of Meles Zenawi. There are some extremely important public matters that need be considered carefully in case of the death, physical or mental incapacity of the Prime Minister. This is not idle speculation, but a timely engagement in some of the most profound national security issues facing our Motherland. Some of these national concerns deal with the question of the dissolution of the current Ethiopian Government, the question of the legal procedure on the succession of the Government of Meles Zenawi, and the structure of the replacement Government of Ethiopia.

Serious people ought to focus on our Ethiopian reality in Ethiopia where it matters. This is not the time for self indulgence or for self aggrandizement or for juvenile political fantasy as displayed recently by some who had established what amounts to be a transitional government in exile of the Diaspora Ethiopians. And I am ever mindful of the endless hubris of so called elite Ethiopians. One such oddity is that retirement for elite Ethiopians seems to be the beginning of a new lease for colorful political life.

Those truly concerned with the future of Ethiopia would first of all try to understand the reality unfolding in Ethiopia with special focus on the identification of the political and economic forces that shape the course of our immediate future political and economic life. And such concerned individuals would focus on bringing Ethiopians together for deep discussions rather than waste everyone’s time devising a system of localization of a national problem into groupie formations. The current Ethiopian situation is clearly alarming with a sickly Prime Minister, probably in his last stage of life. It is not the kind of conducive time for our age-old practice of divisive politics.

Although I may not be able to assert here the specific medical history of Meles Zenawi, I am sure beyond a shadow of doubt that Meles Zenawi is seriously sick, maybe even dying. I doubt that we will ever watch Meles Zenawi making public appearance in the near future. I will be greatly surprised if he lives another year. At any rate, the state of his health, even if he lingers on, would be so much encumbered with massive medication and clinical procedures that he is as good as dead, incapacitated from performing his duties as the Prime Minister of a country overburdened with massive political and economic problems.

II. Succession: Constitutional Provisions

I trust that rational people would ask first before anything else what would be the Constitutional mechanism to transfer peacefully power from a dead or incapacitated Prime Minister to a new Prime minister and whether there are provisions allowing for a transitional form of care taker government using the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia. Now more than any other time one must seek a form of legal procedure to transfer power to a new set of leaders. The political and social condition of the country does not bear any degree of divisive power struggle right now due to the failure of the leadership of Meles Zenawi to unify the country on solid nationalist foundation. Instead Meles Zenawi has succeeded in the creation of very serious and very many political fissures in the Ethiopian people by fragmenting them by ethnicity, religion, locality et cetera. And some of these political and social fractures are so deeply entrenched hat a chunk of Ethiopia may fall off bringing about civil war and total chaos.

In Article 75 of the 1995 Constitution there is a provision that may seem helpful in resolving the issue of succession; however, on closer scrutiny Article 75 is not helpful at all. Article 75 establishes the hierarchy of function and responsibility of a Deputy Prime Minister that mysteriously appears in that article. I say ‘mysteriously appears’ because there is no article that entrusted any political organ with the appointment of the “Deputy Prime Minister” directly in the 1995 constitution. True, Article 75 makes the Deputy Prime Minister “responsible” to the Prime Minister, but that does not mean the Prime Minister has the power to appoint his Deputy. There is no provision also in Article 74, where the power and function of the Prime Minister is enumerated, anything that has to do with the appointment of the Deputy Prime Minister. There is no provision either about the role to be played by the House of Representatives in case of the appointment of the Deputy Prime Minister, whereas their approval is required in cases of the appointment of Ministers and other high Government Officials.

If one is to argue the unattainable position that Article 75 would empower the Prime Minister to appoint his Deputy Prime Minister, then we may have to admit also the disconcerting situation that the Prime Minister could appoint anyone [including his Chauffer] as Deputy Prime Minister without any requirement of approval by the House of Representatives, whereas he needs to have the approval of the House to appoint his Ministers and other Officials whose status is less than the Deputy Prime Minister. This is truly sloppy drafting resulting in controversy at a time when we need a clearly stated provision for succession of state power..

The appointment of Ato Hailemariam Desalegn as Deputy Prime Minister is illegal ab initio beyond the constitutional mandate of the 1995 Constitution. All of the Deputy Prime Minister’s activities were based on an illegally created power by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who has no such Constitutional right to invest anyone with an Office that is not properly sanctioned by Constitutional mandate. One ought to stop this farce immediately, and Hailemariam Desalegn must be removed from being designated as “Deputy Prime Minister.” By going back to the House of Representatives [Article 55 (18)], it is possible to amend the Constitutional provision that is wanting in providing the necessary power for appointment and approval of a Deputy Prime Minister. There after, if his service is that important Hailemariam Desalegn may be reappointed as Deputy Prime Minister. I am simply pointing out the deficiency of the 1995 Constitution in helping us resolve the current crises, and the office of the Deputy Prime Minister is a part of that problem, and not Hailemariam Desalegn per se.

The 1995 Constitution is not helpful in resolving the type of crises of Ethiopia would face if the Prime Minister is either mentally or physically incapacitated, or if he dies. The issue of resignation from office is of much less importance even though the problem of such resignation is not clearly dealt within the 1995 Constitution. In 1994-95 when the draft constitution was being circulated for comment, I had a chance to discuss the draft in an earlier series of comments finally compiled as part of a book. At that time I had already left the Transitional Government of Ethiopia and living in Cambridge, MA. I had repeatedly pointed out in articles and in books that the 1995 Constitution is seriously flawed, and is not workable. Both its poor language and its lack of conceptualization of a coherent statutory system is clearly obvious and as such a total failure to resolve serious issues of state mechanism and human rights regime. Here in this article I have discussed one such serious example of its very many shortcomings. This forms of shoddy and extremely poor drafting where the drafters seem not to be aware of the important and foundational distinction between “power,” “duty,” “function” and “responsibility” in constitutional law is not acceptable.

Tecola W. Hagos
July 22, 2012
Washington DC

Part Two
III. Political and Economic Forces

  1. Berta
    | #1

    Once again Teola hagos is lobbying and begging the TPLF to exrcise his vesion of law making. Apparently tecola is far and away as a pissed off and dsgrutle tribal memeber. But deep down his vein he thinks he can influence tplf’s law and policy making by openly stated overtures such as this one he wrote. In this particular prescription, he once again succumbed to his tribal diatribe albeit in some caculated way of suggesting the alienation of a souther man (poor hailemariam, LOL) whom meles laboured to bring up as the “abet-wodet” man. Tecola is a man so overwhlmed by his barbaric sterotype as typfied by his naked and extremely vulgar ethnic and racial diatribes, it is almost impossible for him to peacefully exist among a population as diverse as ethiopia. Tecola is living in a well deserved safe-haven, the united states that he mockingly but affectionately called “the good old usa”. The “short’ spell he has with the tplf in the early 90s were marked by highly publicised genocidal events which are in perfect synchronywith tecola hagos’s interhamwe type tribal hate diatribes and barbaric accusation of the amhara ethnic group in particular. The Meles-Tamirat-Tecola liason of the time was a perfect marriage made in heaven for interhamwe politics and no wonder poor folks were slaughtered thanks to the historical blessing of tecola hagos marred with the idio sunchratic political blessing of a certain weed in the name of tamirat layne. Tecola profeeses the salughtering and elimination of amhara which he supports through his endless writing that spew countless and blanket accusation of the amhara ethnic groups. This professor – for goodness sak – the level of racism he displays is demonic and inhuman. For an individual of dispensable life, to be so much hatefule and spiteful is unfathomable. All fingers point to deep pathology in the psyche of this professor, pretty much personal problem. All non-tigre ethiopians are creatures that have to be butchered if need be accordng to the psychological makeup of this professor. Forget about belittling ancient kings of ethiopia and slective and endless gratification of those ancient kings whom he thinks sprang from his tribe. This is a man who smeared an entire section of ethiopian people with filthy, low down and derogatory words so much so that it should be amazing to see him walking alive. It is surprising that an angry ‘affected’ ethiopian did not throw the wrath against him. This professor is a man who using his website and the oppositions website pleads and lobbies for his “opponents” to be labelled as terrorists and be put in prison by the TPLF. Professor Tecola still regards himself as TPLF’s disgruntled stakeholder and believes he has a high stake in the organisation. This writing certifies his political stance. Tecola is effectively raiising his hand and puttiing a friendly opinion to the friendly tplf in a friendly way. What a person and what a personality.

  2. aha!
    | #2

    Unlike all your eassay’s in the past, your costituional monarchy and this one constituional mechanism for transfer of power in case of death or disability of the Prime minister to next Prime Minister, using the 1995 Constitution for a peacefull transfer of power. Being trained in the field you are in your proposals lack not only identifying the causes to humanitarian, economic, political and environmental crises in Ethiopia, but also a clear cut goals and strategies to solve the crises, or for your two proposals, because of the lack of scientific problem solving aptitude and bias towards those with national agenda and embracing the TPLF Politburo as TPLF/eprdf and its mirror image OPDF/EFDF/fdre as a lesser of two bad scenarios for the silent majority of Ethiopians of all ethnic groups.

    Thank for raising the constitution, albeit for narrow focus of “constitutional mechanism for transfer of power”, where the constitution should have been the central focus for its ideologies of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalirinism, hindering individual freedom, liberty and equality to supecede ethnic and secessionist rights to form a democratic government, with independent branches of government and a democratic rule instead of ethnocratic rule and minority ethnic dictatorship.It also hinders free market capitalism and democracy. Add to that allowing parties to organize and align along ethnic-lines/ethnic agenda, rather than national agenda for unity territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, which make up the negative forces of disintegration, against the positive forces of integration with the national agenda.

    While these are the two dimetrically opposing forces in Ethiopia today, you are stating as your argumentative position for your proposal for the “constitutional mechanism for the transfer of power using the 1995 constitution and a care taker government”, while minisculing the effort of ENTC, with a genuine national agenda, seeking individual freedom as “juvenile fantacy”, tries to alert us of the “unfollding of the political and economic forces that shape the course of our immediate future political and economic life”. How vague and illusive in the light of your concern about a constitutional tranfer of power from the Prime Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister that has been illusive to Ethiopia that it has not been to Ghana, eventhough in the case of Ethiopia, ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism and alignment of parties along the ethnic lines with ethnic agenda remains in tact, including the TPLF Politburo.

    What you failed to define and comprehend “the political and economic forces that shape the course of our immediate future political and economic life” as you stipulated are inscribed in the constitution as ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism, repersented by political models of TPLF/eprdf and its mirror image OPDF/EFDF/fdre, both with ethnic ethnic agenda and the latter impliceltely supporting ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism to remain in tact together with with your view point on this proposal to maintain the staus quo along with totaliarinism with a twist of State capitalism, with no private ownership of properties and businesses by the silent majority of Ethiopians, except TPLF and TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and foreign corporations to the exploitation, political and economic strangle hold of the country and its reources and its people, shaping the “economic and political life”, as dimetrically opposed forces of those forces with national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, where the last item refers to individual freedom, liberty and equality to exceed ethnic and secessionist rights, with free market capitalism, private ownership of land and businesses and democracy that is now avaible to TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and cadres and foreign corporations to be available to the silent majority of Ethiopians in place of totaliarinism and/or State Capitalism.

  3. Melkamu
    | #3

    The Deputy prime minister position if not sanctioned by parliament at least on statury level is truly illegal. It is also unnecessary. The problem is like mengistu hailemariam did appoint countless vice presidents to inflate the egos of yes men around him and create false statesmanship. Meles used this to entice the amahara by appointing addisu legese who played as the drum beater during the tplf split. Now he brough hailemariam from the bush of political chaos in the south where he was entangled with ther woliyta or death war with the sidamas and made hiom the dpm. Apparently he has sensed hailemaroiam is better educated and a good civil servant but he has completelty ignored his lsck of political calibre. Meles wanted to give the impression that the deputy prime minister will become a prime minister. The appointmet of a prime minister requires the approval of the parliament but the parliament is a rubber stamp for meles wishes. What made the deputy prime minister (hailemariam )look like the heir apparent to the PM position is the fact that meles hand picked him and this guy is not among the old eprdf elites. The ususla talk of replacing the old with new (metekakat) seems to have taken off with the apparent position of hailemariam to the DPM position. What professor tecola arugues is correct. the loophole should be entirely eliminated if this constitution clause can serve the future ethiopian interest. It is interesting to note the establishment of socalled transitional council in the middle of the political airt as if the 40 or so parties we may be having were not enough to confuse us in which direction we go. Every time an ineterst group comes up fabrticates a party it servesto embolden the divisin and mistruct and make it exprbitantly difficult to carve out a commonly accepted political future for ethiopia. Some of the personalities invoilved in the recent formation of so called council mention with professor tecola hagos’s article have had strong business dilly dallying in the past with the TPLF and it is diffuclt to know the motives are involved around a narrow personal affluence.

  4. ጋሽ ሐጎስ
    | #4

    የሚሉት ም/ጠ/ሚ ቢወርዱና ሕገመንግስቱ ቢሻሻል የሚል ጠፋ ነው ችግሩ?
    ይህን ያላለ ደግሞ አገር አጥፊ አይኑ ይጥፋ? ነው የሚሉት
    ወይስ ዘር ዘር ብላችሁ አትሰለፉ ነው? ታዲያ ላንድነት ተኩ…ላማ ለምን አስፈለገ?

  5. YS
    | #5

    Are you kidding the so called elite! still are you begging time for the dictator and dictatorship regiem? Do you know what our (Ethiopian)concernis? It is not trying to fix your and your friends constitution drafted in the jungle (ifn it is law at all). You will take it back to the jungle. You are not worried about the freedom of Ethiopian instead think about the groundlessness of the transferrinh of power to Mr. Hailemarim. Trust me the regim of Melese and TPLF is over.

  6. aha!
    | #6

    YS! At closer look the silent majority of Ethiopians do not deserve to be governed by ex-liberation fronts, and/or a constitution drated for them and their supporters, when they are only entitled 7 delegates out of eighty to even drafted ethnic-based instead of the individual as the center piece a constitution to have ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism. The loyalist opposition parties recentely forming a front as OPDF/EFDF/fdre with their implicit support to it are only seeking for the equality of the Killil Mengistats and that pressure be put on the TPLF/eprdf regime by the USA for it to allow for political space. All this fiasco in this article is the maintainance of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism with parties aligned along ethnic-lies, instead of national agenda and compete for their ability (the parties) to advance Ethiopia and Ethiopians as a whole in its human, cultural and economic development under free market and/or mixed economic model and democracy rather than ethnicracy, unique to Ethiopian ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies under totaliarinism and/or State Capitalism devoid of private ownership of land as one of the means of production.

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