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Birth-defects of A Constitution and Its Impacts on Outcome:Reflection on Ethiopian Constitution-making Experience

Abera Degefa


In their struggle to restrain the destructive exercise of power of their governments, quite a big number of countries have made one constitution after another with little or no success. Some are still in a situation of perpetual quest for constitutionalism. The main argument in this article is that the process of making a constitution will have significant impact on the life and performance of a constitution. Ethiopia is one such country where a number of constitutions have been made but the quest for constitutionalism still an unanswered. With such a long history of independence and four constitutions within six decades, why has Ethiopia failed to build a stable democratic constitutional order? This article attempts to find out the possible explanations for the failure of the past Ethiopian constitutions to bring about a sustainable democratic order. But the particular focus of the article is to examine the process of making the 1995 FDRE Constitution with a view to determine the extent to which the process of making the Constitution was flawless or blemished with the birth-defects that has led to the demise of the earlier constitutions. The extent to which the defects in the process have affected the actual performances of the 1995 Constitution has been explored. In the assessment of the 1995 FDRE Constitution-making process the main requirements that are imperative for making a modern democratic constitution have been taken into account. The relevant literature has also been surveyed to show what others scholars in the area have written concerning the process of making modern democratic constitution. The finding of the assessment will help all those concerned to rectify the wrongs made during the process of making the constitution so that it may not face the fate similar to the past Ethiopian constitutions.


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print ISSN: 2304-8239