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An open notelet to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and House of Federation (HOF)

An open notelet to the

 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and House of Federation (HOF)

 

Birhanu B.

Sep 8, 2019

Dear Member of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and House of Federation (HOF). As Ethiopian citizens, each one of us started to worry about our destiny. The country is going from bad to worst in every dimension. The worst change so far is the failure to honor our pledge to protect and defend the constitution and constitutional order. The power, duties and accountability and incapacitated nature of the Ethiopian government to preserve peace, enhance development, democracy and good governance with one overarching commitment is another worrying change. Regardless policy inclinations, no matter how deep we are loyal to individuals or the leaders, in order to remain a constitutional order, we must act within the borders of the Constitution. The constitution is an expression of public sovereignty. Any law or decision of any organ of government or a public official which contravenes the constitution should not be allowed.  All citizens, organs of state, political organizations in addition to their bureaucrats, must safeguard the compliance of the constitution. Your oath is to put the people of Ethiopia and its Constitution above everything, not to the party politics or loyalty to PM ABIY AHMED. The House of Federation is also under additional duty for preserving constitutional order from whatever direction.

As pro-democratic forces are challenging totalitarian regimes, fundamental issues arise about how laws should govern the conduct of the citizenry. What are the central differences between totalitarian governments and majoritarian desires to dominate over individual rights? A reprise of history, both ancient and modern, suggests that a primary feature of a democratic regime is respect for the constitution, the rule of law as expressed in its modern formulation of due process of law. The rule of law is a doctrine with roots in ancient philosophy.

History reveals several unique circumstances and concerns that played an essential role in shaping Ethiopia’s current due process jurisprudence as protection of both substantive and procedural rights. Since the demise of the Dergue regime, Ethiopian constitutionalism celebrated; the 1995 Constitution has described as ‘the most admirable constitution in the history of the country. The Constitution encompassed many of the principles of the rule of law that had developed throughout Europe, US and developed spheres across the ages. The Constitution embodies the principle through the enumeration of powers that limit the power and discretion of the federal and state governments, the structure of which separates the powers of the different branches of government. The Constitution was “ground-breaking in its enlightened attempt to create a strong and effective federal government although at identical situation protective the autonomy of the individual states and preserving the fundamental rights of the individual against  . . .  ‘the form of elective despotism.’”  The explicit expression of a rule of law principle emerged that bound not just the executive and judiciary, but also the legislature.  The rule of law marks a fundamental move away from “the rule of men,”   and requires that laws be publicly known before their enforcement.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutions_of_Ethiopia)

The rule of law is ultimately a combination of the multiple values it is meant to preserve, the principles by which governmental institutions must operate in order to preserve those values, the institutions “responsible for doing the safeguarding,” and the procedures through which the institutions effectuate the principles.  The procedural component organized around the idea that specific institutional arrangements and rules are required to ensure that governments operate through laws, not caprice. The substantive component stipulates, however, that specific laws made by a government deemed unjust if they violate ideas of natural law or accepted traditions, even if they were passed by institutions that otherwise adhered to the structural requirements of the rule of law. 

The Ethiopian government structure in general and its due process jurisprudence, in particular, align closely to these general definitions of the rule of law while the emerging trends are contrary to the constitution, the rule of law as it expressed in due process of law. The FDRE Constitution has established and elaborated on a myriad of procedural and substantive due process protections. Procedural due process protections today include rules on administering trials, hearings for denying government benefits, and generally ensuring the proper administration of justice and reducing the arbitrary abuse of power according to broader principles of fairness, justice, and individual rights. The constitutional value due process jurisprudence allows the courts to check the legislative and executive actions of the government on procedural and substantive grounds, as opposed to merely enforcing “the law of the land.”     

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Dear Member of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and House of Federation (HOF), in this critique, I pursue to defend the constitutional law’s notion that the role of the judiciary. This means that the Court judges must be independent. Courts are the principal institutions whereby individuals and those whose rights violated get remedies. The existence of the judiciary protects individuals from being victims of unlawful acts of officials. In case one acted beyond its limits, courts are helpful to make the government exercise its power within the constitution.  I have noticed in a few Court judgments that most litigants do not have confidence in the way Court operates under Abiy`s leadership. Some go to the extreme, accusing the Court as a ‘Kangaroo Court’, biased and directly ordered by the General Attorney as we recently saw on the NISS, METEC and INSA former officials. If it is so, then why do we plea the groundwork a ‘Court’ if it is not really for the citizens?

I sometimes get so disappointed with the justice system after the real changes. Mainly because the network and invisible hands in the justice system, The FDRE Constitution: the prerequisite that the creation of laws, the explanation of laws, and the administration of laws should be done by three separate and mostly independent arms of government – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, even though such a division not provided in reality. This fundamental principle followed in all democratic states in the modern world; it is meant to prevent abuse of power, ensure checks and balances and ensure the proper constitutional order.  However, ignored consistently in fascist states, as the case is also under Abiy`s government in Ethiopia. Where this fundamental doctrine is lacking, there is a severe threat to human rights, and such governments are tyrannical and dictatorial.

Let us highlight some critical incompetency in the justice system in general and court in particular. The FDRE Constitution, among other things, is recognized for the incorporation of fundamental rights of citizens. Almost one-third of the total constitutional provisions devoted to providing CPs and ESCRs as well as group rights. If we focus on duty to respect, among the obligations, it implies an immediate obligation on the Ethiopian government to refrain from interventions in people’s access to justice.

Following the two senior Ethiopian military officials who were killed by gunmen in Addis Ababa and three other officials in Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara region resulted in dozens of deaths, mass arrest and political displacement in Ethiopia. The mass arrest of NaMA leaders and members based on the falsely “alleged coup d’état” in Bahir Dar, Abiy Ahmed’s government move to crack down a party like NaMA, the shutdown of the voice of journalists are the new phenomena. A group of people, including media workers, journalists the member of the Balderas Council (advocate for the rights of Addis Ababa), a political movement headed by Eskinder arrested. They are also facing anti-terror charges. The use of an anti-terror law is a relic of repression sends a message that Ethiopia is reverting to old tools to silence dissent and criticism.

Security people in Hawassa, the capital of Ethiopia’s (SNNPR), arrested journalists from the Sidama Media Network (SMN).  The deferral of a referendum to create a separate regional state for the Sidama considered an opportunity to do so. The illegally mass arrest on Sidama elders and Ejjeetto’s are also some additional instance for the justice system goes from the bad to the worst.

This obligation also violated where the State deprives, for instance, the network in the current NISS, GAO and Court give a direct order to judges even to deny court order, and the Court was freed on bail and automatically denial of bail for BINYAM Tewolde, Esayas Dagnew, and Gen Hadgu. There are concrete examples that upheld the court’s decision granting them and deny the bail immediately and repeatedly. (addisstandard.com/news-despite-court-authorized-bail-police-continue-holding-former-coo-of-ethio-telecom-with-fresh-corruption-allegations/)

Among the suspects are employees of the state-owned military-industrial complex, Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC), the remaining are from the Federal Police, national security and intelligence agency and prison administration. Some innocent family members, including children’s, also arrested. Adanech Tessema and her child, a spouse of Yared Zerihun, former deputy head of national intelligence, are among the suspects brought before the court. Suspects were arrested without a court warrant after called on for a meeting. The constitution guarantees judicial independence, and there have some external and internal critics contend that political interference in judicial appointments and decision-making is a continuing problem. Interestingly, the judges explicitly declare their influence in connection to these cases in and out of the trial.  

The media does not tell the truth slightly to protect their sponsors fabricating and reporting lies. Sure the news in Ethiopia is to make money and mislead the international community. That is why they broadcast fakeumentary (documentary) even in the cases in trial. The media influence the court through its blackmailing and falsify documentary.

 

Dear Member of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and House of Federation (HOF). Article 55 of the FDRE Constitution place all lawmaking power in the hands of the people’s representatives. Some of the politically accused individuals are due to the execution of their responsibility under Anti-Terrorism law proclaimed by the parliament. If you allow the prime minister, the networked individuals (the so-called leaders) in the justice system to abuse their power and ignore the constitution, the laws and national values, it will be not your power but that of your citizens that rundown the shields of right evocative government. It also amounts as grave national treason and unconstitutional practice in the history of the nation.

Now, Ethiopia seems to be on the edge of the most significant political crisis. Eighty per cent of the country is under undeclared state of emergency. They are administered through command post by removing the constitutionally established administration organs. The federal government is seen as a source of threat. Ethiopia is divided than ever before.

Dear Member of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and House of Federation (HOF). How much are you keen to challenge the threat against the Constitution, the rule of law, due process of law and the respective houses in order to advance illegal practice and tyranny using illegitimate means is not tolerable? The mentioned laws, orders and practice—have gone through the process put in place by the house under the Constitution. “Law should not sit limply, while those who defy it to go free and those who seek its protection lose hope”.  The NISS is a strategic-level institution committed to the state’s role in providing security for both the state and its citizens. NISS has the power to investigate any internal and external activity intended to overthrow the constitution and the constitutional order unlawfully. It is responsible for following up threats against the national economic growth and development activities, serious functional governance problems and conspiracies.  It is mandated to collect intelligence data’s and evidence aiming to present it to the appropriate body.  

The NISS officials charge is professionally dysfunctional, terribly wrong legally and factually. The prosecution stalled in a quarrel that has fragmented Abiy`s backed charge with squabbling between prosecutors and judges, uncertain legal judgments, and fumbling from its funders. This charge is a clear case for any lawyer or reasonable man to suspect that the prosecutors were somehow biased and acted unfairly, illegally and unconstitutionally!  The law requires the prosecutor to act neutrally and with no favor or predisposition. I believe this case is a reflection of some judicial-politico conspiracy. There is not even a sole modern court or tribunal entertaining on earth such morally, legally and factually challenged case. The court was also under a duty for no case motion. This is a severe infringement of constitutional rights, and, sadly, the right to proper administration which includes a right to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time and the right to an effective remedy. Observers say the destruction the court has writhed as a result of the vendetta, the lack of transparency, and the perplexing legal orders. Many critics now point the finger not only at Abiy`s government but also the international human right institutions for not doing more. Either the judiciary or the prosecution must be permitted to function unrestricted from external interference by Abiy`s Government. People consider the judiciary as an instrument of the executive organ of the government.

Terrorism is not a crime against people or property. It is a crime against our minds, using the death of innocents and the destruction of property to make us fearful. Corruption is “the act of undertaking approximately with an intent to bounce some advantage erratic with authorized duty and the privileges of others.” How national sued since their ethical, committed and professional performance?

On the protection of the basic concept from government abuse law interprets the constitution. All people stand equal before the law. You must assure protection against unreasonable searches and seizures secure and protect the people’s rights. Be the agent of the people, not their master. Law enforcement officer represents government; the power forms a contract between the government and the people. The case is defective of neutral third person doctrine, the non-involved third person decides on probable cause and affected by “Judge and case shopping”. Everyone gets a hearing or trial before an impartial judge but in this case, such right denied by our masters. Nothing in secret then why the members get silent, the media did not report it. There is a claim for secret evidence. Neither witness testifies in open court nor accused able to be cross-examined rather rules established in exceptional cases against the constitution.

Dear Member of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and House of Federation (HOF); to you, I ask this question: what will you do when an executive power uses the precedent you are establishing to impose rules to which you are obstinately conflicting? There is no way about this trouble: what authorities yielded to a prime minister and his cabinet whose laws and directives you support may also be used by a prime minister whose wish you abhor. As a trustee, you have taken an oath of office. You were elected to the houses to carry out the constitutional duties and responsibilities of the House of Representatives and the Federation.

You were sent to the house to be the expression of the public. That is a daunting encumbrance, and it may necessitate you to exercise bound to protect the constitutionalism and to keep it from being sacrificed on the altar of expediency.

 

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