Chapter VI
Legal & Constitutional
UCI ~ I See You
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Constitutional Reform
Mar. 22, 1966
Thanks to the Grace of God, during the years that We have been entrusted with the leadership of
Our people, Our efforts, expended to assure progress in the areas of administration, economi,
social and political growth, in education and social services, have yielded rewarding fruits.

Our people have long enjoyed the tradition and experience of independence.  Nonetheless, in
recognition of the conditions which then existed, aware of the long-term benefits to be realized,
We granted to Our people the nation's first written Constitution in 1931.  The difficultites which
We encountered in accomplishing this radical departure from custom, the trials to eliminate
surviving feudal traditions in achieving this notable step along the path of progress, were heavy
indeed, even wearisome.  Even surviving eye-witnesses could have but a vague recollection of
those difficult times.  How much less can those far removed from the period be expected to
appreciate the troubles to which We were  put in those days.

When We re-established the Ministries of the Government in 1943, We issued an Order defining
the duties and responsibilities of the Prime Minister and other Ministers so that all Government
officials would understand their obligations and discharge their duties properly.   The Order
established the legal basis on which the various Government departments would function and gave
clear directives to Government officials.  On the whole, the system then laid down has worked
reasonably well to the present.

Because of the progress made in the country generally and the high standard of living achieved by
the people thereby, We granted the Revised Constitution in 1955 in order to consolidate gains
already won and to guarantee continued and accelerated progress... Under the Revised
Constitution, Our people have been guaranteed the full exercise of their rights.  They have, for the
first time, directly elected their representatives to Parliament, without whose discussion and
approval no taxes can be levied, no duties imposed on the people and no laws enacted.  In turn,
and also in accordance with the Revised Constitution, Parliament can call upon the Prime Minister
and other Ministers to give explanations concerning the conduct of the Executive Department.
People's Participation
Thus, through the members of the Chamber of Deputies, the people have participated directly in
the affairs of the Government, thereby enabling the nation to advance rapidly in many areas of
national endeavour.

The efforts made to expand educational opportunities in the country and to protect the national
unity of Our people have met with success.  Our people have benefited form the rights and
privileges embodied in the Constitution.  In spite of past and continuing attempts of certain alien
enemies to create differences based on tribalism and religion, the Ethiopian people have waged a
successful struggle against these forces of evil and thus preserved their national unity.

Since We assumed leadership, Our most cherished wish and desire, for which We have laboured
unceasingly, with firm determination, attaching to it the highest importance, has been that Our
people should attain this goal.  We derive great satisfaction today not only in witnessing the
realization as a working concern of the system instituted by Us, but in expressing Our belief and
hope that Our people shall continue undeterred to guide their destiny.

Justice is the foundation of the modern, well-ordered state.  Accordingly, the promulgation of the
Civil, the Commercial, the Penal, Maritime and Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes, in the train of
the granting of the Revised Constitution, must be regarded as of the highest importance.  These
laws directly affect the day-to-day public and private life of every Ethiopian.  They guarantee the
enjoyment of the rights granted to the nation under the Revised Constitution.  They have benefited
Our people in their daily activities.  They have created a sense of faith in the system of government
based upon the rule of law.

Within recent years, significant laws and measures pertaining to social welfare have been enacted
and put into practice.  These include a pensions scheme for government employees; civil service
legislation to insure that civil servants are chosen impartially, and that they are properly render
their services to the Government and to the people; laws regulating relations between employers
and employees which, by guaranteeing their respective rights, ensure that both groups can work
together, in the interests of the general welfare of making the nation and cooperate in the
attainment of greater national development and self-sufficiency.

We have ordered that highly important reforms be undertaken: in the system of land tenure and
land taxation; inthe administration of justice and the nomination and appointment of judges; in the
expansion and growth of education; in the system of provincial administration; in the promotion of
efficiency in Government departments.  Other important reforms are being studied and will be put
into effect, as their details are worked out.

Ethiopia's socia-economic progress has been substantial.  The First Five-Year Plan has been
launched and implemented for the purpose of achieving a rational and a larger scale development.  
Planning ensures a simultaneous accomplishment of developmental projects with a view to
achieving accelerated progress, thus avoiding wastage of financial resources, labour and time.  
Benefiting from encouraging results of the first Five-Year Plan, and the experience gained in its
implementation, the Second Five-Year Development Plan, drawn up on a much wider and enlarged
scale, is now being implemented.
International
Alongside the progress made on the domestic front in the political, economic, social welfare and
administrative fields, Ethiopia's international obligations and duties have grown and have become
more complex than at any other time in the history of the nation.  As a member of the United
Nations Organization and its various Agencies, Ethiopia has been called upon to participate in
numerous conferences.

By playing host to the Summit Conference of African Heads of States and Governments three years
ago, and by helping bring about the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, Ethiopia
has, together with her African brothers, assumed greater responsibilities not only in Africa but in
the world at large.

As the headquarters of the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa, the number of African and international conferences held in Addis Ababa is
growing.  And so also does our responsibility become greater.

As Ethiopia's socio-economic development has become increasingly complex, the nation's
administrative framework staffed by responsible officials, has expanded to ensure a high degree of
efficiency and effectiveness in the conduct of public affairs.  In addition to Our Ministers, an
increased number of Vice Ministers, Assistant Ministers and Deputy Governors.  Generals have
been appointed to cope with the ever-expanding volume of work which has been the consequence
of the progress of the nation.

In 1943, We promulgated an Order which defined the powers, duties and responsibilities of Our
Ministers.  In doing so, We empowered them to issue the rules and regulations requisite to the
proper functioning of the departments confined to their care.  Now, nearly a quarter century later,
We have reached the stage where each Minister must assume full responsibility for the discharge
of his duties, including the measure of responsibility to Parliament which was foreshadowed in Our
Revised Constitution of 1955.  If Our aims and objectives are to be realized, each one of us must
labour and assume his share of responsibility for the progress and prosperity of the nation.  If We
do so, We are satisfied that acceptable results will follow.  We are encouraged to see Our people
each day participating more actively in the affairs of the nation, for it is in this way that the
imperative acceleration of the nation's progress shall be attained.

We have said that each Minister is fully responsible for his duties; nonetheless, when major policy
issues require Our attention, Our Prime Minister or, if necessary, the Prime Minister and the
Minister concerned, shall bring them to Our attention.  It is the duty of Our Prime Minister to
assure that the work of Government is performed; but this does not in any way relieve the
Ministers of their individual responsibilities.  To place all responsibility upon the shoulders of one
individual while all others sit idly by and seek only to criticize and find fault is, in our era, to act
contrary to the movement for the progress and advancement of the country.

If We ponder deeply on our situation today, We shall find that we lack for little.  The resources are
available; the nation's youth are gaining knowledge and acquiring experience; it is only necessary
that We resolve to work with determination and diligence.  The socio-economic policy that we
ahve adopted, a policy founded deep in Ethiopia's national heritage and tradition, is
well-calculated to assure that progress of the present and futuregeneration; all that We require is
co-operation, mutual assistance and the profound counsciousness that We are fulfilling Ourselves
in the discharge of Our planned and assigned responsibilities.  This spirit, whether We term it
communal, socialistic or the philosophy of the welfare state, is not new or alien to Ethiopia's way
of life.
Administrative Changes
The problems consequent upon the growth and development of the nation which have so
significantly expanded Ethiopia's international responsibilities and obligations have also
multiplied apace.  And if We are to meet these mushrooming domestic and international
obligations and demands, We must design and implement methods which will, without wasteful
duplication of effort, recognize proper principles of administration, maintain discipline, and respect
and observe a strict division of labour.

We were aware of all this.  And during past decades, with exacting care and deliberate forethought,
We laid down the broad guide-lines for a greater future development.  And, now, after the most
detailed review and painstaking scrutiny of the advances achieved during this period, We have
determined to introduce further innovations into the structure of the nations's administrative
system, and We ahve set them forth in an Order which We are promulgating today.  The changes
which We have ordered will enable Us to devote Our hours to assuring the execution of the highly
important and urgent programmes designed to accelerate national growth and development and to
meet international obligations and commitments into which Ethiopia continues to enter.

This Order, which amends Order No. 1 of 1943 defining the duties and responsibilities of the Prime
Minister and all other Ministers, provides in substance as follows:

(1)        That the Prime Minister shall be appointed by Us, and that he shall submit to Us for
appointment by Us the proposed members of his cabinet to head the ministries of the Government;

(2)        That the Ministers shall be responsible to the Prime Minister;

(3)        That the Prime Minister and the Minister shall be collectively responsible to Us and to
Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Constitution of 1955.

This fundamental reform fo the structure of the national administration is founded upon the
authority of Article 27 of the Revised Constitution, which empowers Us to determine, revise and
modify the administrative structure of the Government.  It is designed to increase Governmental
efficiency and enable Us to devote Ourselves exclusively to matters of high policy.

Each nation elaborates its programmes according to its custom and cultural and cultural heritage,
suiting them to its own development aims, changing and improving its institutions of Government
as experience and the requirements of the times dictate.  A particular structure of government may
be apt and practical for one nation; it may not be so for another.  Each nation must determine,
shape and adapt its governmental patttern to conform to its customs and its cultural heritage.

We have provided for this improved and reformed system of Government according to the ideals of
modern Ethiopianism, building upon the accumulated experience of the years, preserving those
elements of the past which have proven useful, modifying and improving those parts which call for
change.  We envisage that future changes and improvements may be introduced in the future as the
need arises.  When change is required, paramount in Our thoughts and those of Our officials will be
interests of the Ethiopian people.
Haile Selassie the First - March 22, 1966