By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Findings of a research that was conducted on the significance of constitutional amendment seem to be discredited by the chief of the House of Federation.
Speaker of the House of Federation, Agegnehu Teshager has come out discrediting the recent findings released by the government Policy Studies Institute (PSI). Agegnehu told Wazema that the research conducted by the institute “is untimely and lacks transparency”.
It is necessary to understand that the Constitution is a political and legal document and by taking into consideration the existing situation, the research should not have been conducted rashly, Agagnehu said.
He further said that “as the research document has not included the entire nations and sections of the community, we have observed in it several shortcomings”. Evidence taken as representative samples lack transparency and credibility, according to the speaker of the House of Federation.
However, information obtained from the web page of PSI indicates that, “in terms of methodology …the study included all national regional states except Tigray Region. The survey used 41 of the 86 ethnic groups listed in the 2007 Ethiopian census, as well as ethnic communities in all regions of Ethiopia except Tigray, where the security situation didn’t allow participation in the fieldwork. The study used systematic random sampling to ensure the validity and representativeness of the results.”
Agegnehu argued, however, that the research did not consider the interest of the people. So, he is of the opinion “it contradicts the reality on the ground”.
Ethiopian Policy Study Institute released its research findings at a workshop held at Hilton Hotel on May 16, 2023 under the title, “FDRE Constitution After Three Decades: Inquiring into whether and What to Amend”. The Institute made official in the introduction part that the study was conducted based on representative samples taken from the entire country. PSI claims that the research findings were released in the presence of various stakeholders including the Ministry of Peace, House of Federation, Officials drawn from Regional government, National Dialogue Commission, academic and other dignitaries.
According to the findings of the research the current constitution of Ethiopia “must be revised”, especially articles related to ethnicity, the right to secession, the sovereignty of nations, the way the regions are structured should be amended, Wazema reported.
PSI made public the following points during the Workshop it organised on May 16, 2023. “[E]empirical data collected from the field indicated that respondents to the study wanted to improve Article 8 of the Constitution, which establishes ethnic groups as sovereign owners of the nation, as well as aspects such as the working language of the federal government, the national emblem, administrative boundaries based on ethnicity, and the controversial Article 39, which grants ethnic groups the right to self-determination, including the right to secession. The study also addressed issues related to the organisation of political parties based on ethnic groups…”
But Agegnehu says “the research lacks inclusiveness, and after having discussion with a few scholars, presenting such a document is a result of misunderstanding the basics of the Constitution”.
The Speaker of the House of Federation and his office should not have waited for a long time to express opposition. They could have reflected their ideas when PSI released the research findings at a workshop held at Hilton Hotel. The individual who attended the workshop representing the House could have forwarded what Agegnehu is now saying. No need to wait for more than a month to come up with such a biased idea.
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