THE POLITICS OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT IN ETHIOPIA: ISSUES WORTH CONSIDERING

  • Zelalem Eshetu Degfie

Abstract

The 1995 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution suffers from weak legitimacy and imperfections. Such legitimacy deficit and constitutional flaws can be rectified through the power of constitutional amendment. This article examines the politics of constitutional amendment in Ethiopia in light of the current political reforms by looking at the diverse amendment models and views of selected political parties. Drawing on Richard Albert’s amendment theory, the article argues that the textual and substantive models of constitutional amendment are not workable in Ethiopia. The article then suggests the political model of amendment for making the necessary changes in the FDRE Constitution. In this regard, active and genuine participation of the public and all political parties in the political process of amendment is crucial to (re)confer legitimacy. The civic engagement and deliberation part of the process would retrospectively cleanse the violation of the stringent rules of amendment and then heal the ‘original sin’ of the Constitution. However, this article ultimately suggests that the timing for doing so should be considered seriously in light of the level of national consensus and security conditions across the country.

Published
2019-11-03
Section
Articles