Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ethiopia: Dr Assefa Fisseha's convoluted defense of the appointment of multiple deputy PMs

In an interview with VOA Amharic, Dr. Assefa Fisseha makes a latest attempt at a convoluted defense of the appointment of multiple deputy PMs; not unsurprisingly, he bases his argument this time around, not on the constitution and constitutional interpretation, but on political expediency and inter-party relations among the EPRDF coalition. I quoted him in one of my articles early on as saying “the idea of having two more deputies is not bad, in constitutional terms as well as in political science we call it power sharing, if genuine it works as there will be more representatives from different groups which is crucial in multiethnic context...it depends on which school of interpretation one adopts in settling the issue. It may have problems with the letter of the constitution (Arts 75/76) but if you adopt a purposive or teleological view you can get away easily. [W]hat is interesting is what we thought to be so clear is not any more clear. Some colleagues were arguing some years back that it is possible to apply the constitution without interpreting, here they will surely run into trouble. There is no clear constitutional clause, whether we like it or not.” My question to him now is: what happened to the rule of constitutional interpretation that he insisted exist and can be readily applied to this case in such a manner as to allow for the appointment of multiple deputy PMs? The rule that never was! His interview can be accessed here. My op-ed article can be read in its entirety here.

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