Chapter VI
Legal & Constitutional
UCI ~ I See You
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Speech On Far-Reaching Administrative Reforms
Nov. 02, 1961
In 1955, persuaded that events so required and so permitted, We promulgated a Revised
Constitution.  By virtue of this document a popularly-elected Chamber of Deputies today sits in
Parliament and participates in the regulation of the affairs of their country.  And this year, as has
already been announced, broad and far-reaching studies have been launched to sweep away any
obstacles which still stand in the way of further growth which, God willing, will proceed unabated
until all Ethiopians stand proudly as citizens of a State which will not suffer by comparison with
any on this continent or in this world, a State in which each man enjoys, without let or hindrance,
those rights and liberties which are man's most precious possessions.  We shall devote Our entire
being to this purpose, and We call upon each Ethiopian to take for himself this same pledge.

Within the past months, We have convened a number of special committees and have charged
them with the task of exploring ways and means of speeding the development of Our nation in
various fields.  The work of these committees is proceeding rapidly, and the results of their
deliberations and the recommendations which they make will be made known to you and, if
required, you will be asked to act on them.  The Committee on Constitutional and determine
whether there is need to amend it in order that the system of responsible ministerial government
which We have created, deliberately and of Our own free will, may be rendered more efficient and
effective.  Government today in Ethiopia has attained such magnitude that no single man nor any
few men can control its every aspect and operation.  Responsibility must be increasingly delegated
to those who have demonstrated themselves efficient and devoted administrators.  You, the
members of Parliament, must take an ever increasing part in government.

The Committee on Administrative Reform is undertaking a task which must be discharged
periodically in all developing-nations, that of analyzing the form and institutions of government so
that its working may be simplified.  The Committee on Local Government is exploring the
possibility of granting an increased measure of autonomy to local administrations within the
unified provincial administration which already exists.  Decentralization is required as
administration grows in size and complexity.  The Committee on Education is seeking the means of
expanding Ethiopia's existing educational facilities so that they may adequately meet the
increasing demands being made -- and properly so -- for instruction in the learning and wisdom of
the modern world.  Other committees may, perhaps, have more immediate impact upon the course
of events in Ethiopia; the work of none of them will be of greater importance in influencing, over
the long term, this country's future.
Pension And Civil Service
... The first is the enactment of a pension law whereby Government employees who have devoted
themselves to the service of their nation will be assured, when the time comes, that they may enjoy
the leisure which the modern world denies during man's active years, of continued financial
independence.  Man's ingratitude to man is often manifested in the willingness to relegate human
beings to the scrapheap of life when they enter the twilight of their careers and younger brains and
stronger arms are found to replace them.  This has, happily, never been the case in Our nation, and
with the establishment of a Government pensions scheme, these rights, traditional to Ethiopia, are
preserved and expanded.

Secondly, by Imperial Order We have, only few days ago, established the legal framework for a
public service system which will govern the hiring, promotion, dismissal and discipline of the great
majority of government employees.  This legislative act, which formalizes a custom followed in
practice in the past, will facilitate the creation fo a corps of career public servants who may devote
themselves without stint to their duties, to the exclusion of personal or special preoccupations.

These two enactments are epoch-making in Ethiopian history; their significance cannot be
over-emphasized.  They may, at the outset, be administered less than perfectly.  The full measure of
their impact upon the carrying on of responsible government in Ethiopia may not be immediately
felt.  But impact there shall be.  Henceforward, each employee will know of the conditions of his
service.  He will know what he must do to be considered for employment with the Government and
what conditions he must meet to be enrolled in Government service.  He will know that if he
performs efficiently and well he will be promoted, and that if he slacks or shirks his duties or
abuses his position for his personal financial gain, wh will be disciplined and even discharged.  He
will be aware of his duties, his rights and obligations.  He will be secure in his position for so long
as he serves ably and well.  And after having served his nation loyally, when he is old, or sick, or
feeble, he will be guaranteed his pension to the end of his life.  Upon his death, his wife, his
children, even his parents, may enjoy the benefits to which his years in Government service have
entitled him.

Both the pension scheme and the public service system will be administered by autonomous
bodies headed by an independent Board of Commissioners.  The fundamental task of these
Commissioners, in addition to administering the organizations which they head, is to ensure that
no outside influence is involved in awarding pensions and in directing the public service system.  If
freedom from political influence is achieved, every Ethiopian will know that public servants hold
their positions by virture of merit and worth, and that retired Government employees have earned
their pensions by years of faithful and devoted service.
 
... As the young men who have received advanced training in law return from abroad in
ever-increasing numbers, and as modern legal codes come into force in Ethiopia, we must act to
reform and modernize Ethiopia's judiciary.  This particular responsibility has been confided to the
Judicial Committee.  It is labouring to improve Ethiopia's judicial system so that speedy and
impartial justice will be guaranteed to all.  All men stand equal before the law.  All men must be
able to enforce their legal rights before the courts.  The Judicial Committee is seeking to achieve
these objectives, and to create a system whereby judges will be appointed form among those best
qualified, and the principle of the independence of the judiciary, already established in the Revised
Constitution, will be fully implemented in practice....
Haile Selassie the First - November 2, 1961