Most of the standing committee members of the Ethiopian parliament are embarrassingly unfamiliar with the topics they are in charge of. They have no research aides and, almost always, they rubber stump the executive’s agenda. Most members register for donor-funding trainings to get the daily allowance.
Yet donor money keeps on coming; and trainings keep on going. The parliament is now planning to give legal training to the members. Umm, there is only one problem. During election 2005, most of the country’s lawyers sided with the opposition; some leading the democratic movement. Afterwards, even judges like Woldemichael Meshesha, who were supposed to be loyal to EPRDF, followed their conscience and exposed the government. The ruling party now trusts only a handful of lawyers and legal professionals. And these people are stretched. They just can’t do everything.
So who would train the MPs? Are they going to let opposition-leaning legal professionals to teach constitutional law to MPs? What if they tell them democratic centralism isn’t a constitutional principle? What if they tell them about Bradenburg v. Ohio and how democratic countries strike the balance between Free speech and other interests? What if they teach them the checking powers of parliament, including the no-confidence motion? What if, what if, what if…
The speaker of the house, Teshome Toga, doesn’t want to take the chance. Last week, he was heard as saying, “no way Kaliti will creep to parliament by stealth.” So he has instead decided to recruit Indian legal professionals. When the training starts, we will see Indians, who have been lectured how and what they teach, talking to the MPs about what they will say is the pillar of our constitution - Article 39
The AAU debate continues. See Roha's second entry on the right sidebar of this blog. Or read it here.
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