Vol. 6, Issue 5 (2020)
Appraising the adequacy of the political armor in fight against perpetual exercise of emergency power under the FDRE constitution
Author(s): Anteneh Gezahegne Negash
Abstract: Panic in the face of danger is an understandable human response. Yet, as fiction author Katherine Paterson has written, "[T]o fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another." One can be-hold that constitutional emergency regimes strives to hit two birds in a single stone:- it arms the executive with effective but also plenary ammunition deemed sufficient to surmount the peril surfacing the state, while simultaneously providing stewardship mechanisms believed to be capable of curbing executive intuition to miss-use this unconventional power for non-benign ends. This philosophy underpins the Ethiopian constitutional regiment on state of emergency. This is telling that constitutional emergency regiments are weighted by two contending touchstones namely, effectiveness to quash the turmoil and the potential to be stalwart against abuse. Therefore, this paper, albeit briefly, examined whether the FDRE constitution has hit a balance between this two conflicting demands via inculcating check and balance between the two organs of the state ( i.e. the political arms of the state meaning the executive and the parliament) while, bestowing the executive with sufficient ammunition to pacify the danger. To effectuate the appraisal, the writer utilized qualitative methodology; in this regard, emergency provisions of other countries have been properly consulted with the view to get the best out of comparative study. The finding unravel that the political armor (HoPR), which is currently in front line of defense against intuition to deploy emergency power for malicious aim, due to the swarming by a vanguard political party formerly known as EPRDF, but now Prosperity Party (Amharic: ብልጽግናፓርቲ; Afaan Oromo: Paartii Badhaadhiinaa ) that controls the two state wings is not in a pole position to deliver the oath it taken to safeguard the constitution via rigorously supervising the performance of the executive because one party minded composition of the house coincides in what is stated by some “supervision of the executive by parliament is indirectly mean supervision of the executive by the executive itself; hence, this enormously debilitated the house endeavor to oversight executive grip of emergency power; therefore, it is save to conclude that, this accorded an avenue for the government to foray the nation perpetually via emergency decree on account of this loose scrutiny power of the house even if the facts underground may not warrant repeated invocation of emergency decree. However, in due cognizance to judicial deferral from securitizing emergency declaration of the government (in the context of Ethiopia by HoF as witnessed in the CUD Case) attributed to various reasons including in this regard “the political question doctrine”; what is left to us is arming the political wing with more ammunition to be used in the defense against pernicious, but also frequent exercise of emergency power by the ruling party, who wields majority support in the parliament; hence, the scheme to be suggested for this end, should be the one that uplifts the parliament from its current rubber stamping role. In lieu of dominance of the ruling party, the emergency provision shall be tailored in a way that brings into board members of the opposition party in scrutiny process of emergency decree whenever the request for renewal escalates; if the voting criterion is made to progressively escalates whenever the proffered quest for renewal increases, it will force the incumbent government to bring to the attention of the members of the opposition party compelling reason why they should endorse the proposed bill for renewal:- this facilitates democratic dialogue between the ruling party and the minority opposition party leaders; it is this devise that nations with ugly and grim experience of emergency decree (i.e. for instance South Africa and Poland ) inserted in their constitutions to ensure temporally exercise of emergency power; the artifact that is going to be suggested herein after is called a “ super-majoritarian escalator” originally expounded by Bruce Ackerman; in due account of the enormous negative marker prolonged state of emergency puts upon the constitutional aspiration to entrench constitutionalism, I’m compelled to suggest the inculcation of the aforesaid scheme under the FDRE constitution trough the instrument of constitutional amendment.