Constitutional Interpretation

In this regard, The Ethiopian Herald has recently approached Anbessie Fura, Assistant Professor of Law at Hawassa University, and Abinet Getachew, Lawyer, and Legal Advisor, to discuss what will be the equation and expectations of the awaited result of constitutional interpretation.

Assistant Prof. Anbessie Fura said that, since the constitutional amendment is complex and time-consuming, constitutional interpretation is a better option to resolve the constitutional disputes outstretched among political parties.

Anbessie argues that constitutional interpretation will come with proper suggestions since the participants are independent law experts and scholars who have no political affiliation.

In this regard, Abinet agreed that the constitutional interpretation is, to some extent, better than the other options even if some gaps are observed by itself.

“I don’t think the issue needs constitutional interpretation, the constitutional interpretation is required if some disputes are observed between and among the articles in the constitution. It was also the practice implemented so far in the jurisdiction during disputed cases,” he indicated.

Bessie also argued that, since now is the time to choose life or death, there shall be no other option except postponing the election process through legal provisions enlightened under the constitution.

“Ethiopia is not the only country which intends to postpone national election; there are over 50 countries in the world which have postponed election due to the spread of coronavirus,” Anbessie pointed out.

As to him, constitutional interpretation is common in developed nations, since it is required when a specified law has no more explanation. In this case, observing the minutes prepared in the time of constitutional amendment, the House of Federation may come up with unpredictable options other than postponing elections, Anbessie claimed.

As to Abinet, the reliability of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry may perhaps face unacceptability since all most of the members of the council are politically appointed.

“For instance, the President of the Supreme Court is nominated by the prime minister, and some members came from the House of Federation have also political affiliation from the ruling party.”

As to him, the council could be inclined to political guidance so as to postpone the incumbent’s tenure in office. Even if the council can come up with a responsible suggestion, the final decision will rest up on the House of Federation, which is totally filled by political representation of the ruling party, Abinet said.

On the contrary, Assistant Prof. Anbessie claimed that it is praiseworthy if the ruling Prosperity Party continue as a formal government rather than wishing a caretaker one. Since the caretaker government is weak for the reason that it has limited authority to legislate new proclamations, regulations or amend any existing laws, he suggests.

Anbessie also argued: “Since the geopolitics of East Africa is now considered as a melting pot of war, it is not advisable to weaken the formal government and expose ourselves for unwanted foreign invasions.”

On the other hand, Anbessie posed the other argument that, since constitutional interpretation involves in-depth research over the constitution, it is preferred and better than other options. In addition, if it is framed and built on national consensus, constitutional amendment could also bring political stability in the country, he added.

“If you look over American and South African constitutions, they have been developing their constitution through constitutional interpretation along with con

people who were ignored in political participation. Equality was only between and among the White and wealthy people. But, it could be developed from time to time through constitutional interpretation, he explains.

Anbessie also believes: “One generation cannot always remain be sealed by the laws of the previous generation. Constitution can be technically improved through independent interpretation; otherwise, a constitution which is not laid out for amendment is a constitution which is in extinction, as I often says in the lecture hall.”

Moreover, the option for transitional government is impractical in a country where there are more than hundreds of political parties. In this case, there is no country which could entertain peaceful leadership between and among various unfamiliar political groups, Anbessie spoke to The Ethiopian Herald.

As in Israel, the two prominent parties have shared the power, but they could not reach in agreement yet; he said adding that, in Ethiopia’s diverse political campaigns, the would-be transitional government may perhaps expose the national security, the country’s political economy, and the welfare of the society in to a dangerous situation.

With these diverse interests of unfamiliar political groups, it may take several years to enact new proclamation or regulation, he added.

In this regard, Abinet agreed that, the option for transitional government is not good at all, unless the caretaker government can be composed of experts and scholars who have loyalty among the public.

Abinet also claimed that most of the political parties are organized themselves to fulfill their strong desire to own political power, exploit public resources, and abuse human rights.

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