The New Ethiopian Constitution: First Thoughts on Ethnical Federalism and the Reception of Western Institutions.


Ugo Mattei
Copyright U. Mateei, 1995.

        

        Introduction

        

        If you ask a comparative lawyer to take a look to  a

        "new" code or constitution, the answer that you  are

        more  likely to get is that there is not much  "new"

        in  it.  This sort of reaction happens in  front  of

        the new Ethiopian Constitution too.

        Of  course, this is true in general, if you look  at

        the   law  as  a  worldwide  phenomenon  of   social

        organization. The number of truly original laws  and

        institutions  (and of constitutions, of  course)  is

        very  much  limited.  It has always  been  easy  for

        comparative  lawyers  to find a  certain  number  of

        paradigmatic  (or  leading)  experiences  that   are

        followed and/or adapted worldwide (1).

        What  can  be  very  new for a  given  country,  and

        appears   so   for  scholars  concerned   with   its

        particular  legal system, looks most  times  like  a

        "deja vu" for comparative lawyers.

        The new Costitution, to be sure, is a big change  in

        the  Ethiopian  constitutional  tradition.  To  much

        regret,  however, short from putting Ethiopia  as  a

        frontrunner    of   a   new   and    ripe    African

        Constitutional tradition, it locates it  within  the

        mass  of  contries that, for one reason or  another,

        follow  the  rethoric (part of) the  structure,  and

        many  of the cathegories of the American model in  a

        more  or  less  conscious  attempt  to  import   the

        strongest version of the western conception  of  the

        rule of law.

        The  new Ethiopian constitution, in my mind,  offers

        to   the  scholarly  comunity  an  occasion  to  ask

        fundamental  questions such as: is the western  rule

        of  law  a  desirable target for an African Country?

        What  are  the  fundamental structural and  cultural

        arrangements  that  a  legal system  must  offer  in

        order  to  make the rule of law work as a legitimate

        problem   solving   device?  Can  a   Constitutional

        document,   although   a  very  sophisticated   one,

        provide,  if left alone, the basis for the  rule  of

        law?  Was  it  an unrealistic dream to  expect  from

        Ethiopia    new    and    original    constitutional

        arrangements  able  to  face  ethnic  tensions   and

        problems  of  development  outside  of  a  dangerous

        intellectual dependecy from the western  concept  of

        the rule of law?

        The Ethiopian Constitution of december 8, 1994 is  a

        new  wall made of old imported briks. How solid such

        a  wall  will  result  in front  of  the  tremendous

        pressure  that it will have to face, is  a  question

        that  it  is  early  to answer. I argue  here  that,

        given  the briks of which it is made, there  is  not

        much to be optimistic about.

        

        1.  Getting  rid of the African legal tradition  one

        step at the time: 1987 and 1994 Constitutions.

        

        Many   scholars  argue   that  a  non   ethnocentric

        classification  of the major legal  systems  in  the

        world  need to give up the old tripartition  between

        common   law,  civil  law  and  socialist  law.   In

        particular,  the role of legal pluralism  should  be

        taken into account because many countries of the  so

        called  third  world do share this particular  legal

        style(2).  Africa is no ecception within  the  third

        world.  The  Horn  of Africa is no ecception  within

        Africa  and Ethiopia is no ecception in the Horn  of

        Africa.

        Pluralism,  however,  falls short  from  offering  a

        structural   qualitative  criterium  of  distinction

        between  the Western Legal Tradition (WLT)  and  the

        different  legal  traditions  in  the  world (3).  A

        complementary  perspective  focuses  on   the   main

        characteristic of the western rule of law:  that  of

        a  legal  process separated in principle  both  from

        the  religious  tradition (lawyers and  priests  are

        different  social  actors) and  from  the  political

        process  (lawyers and politicians perform  different

        jobs)(4). In non western legal traditions either one

        or both these distinctions are absent.

        In  Ethiopia,  the  political  religious  and  legal

        processes were deeply intermengled during the  Negus

        regime.  Both the 1931 and the 1955 Haile Selassie's

        Constitutions   were  almost  "cynical"   in   their

        realism.  The emperor was recognized  full political

        religious  and  legal  power. Religion  as  well  as

        force  was the source of legitimation of the  negus.

        This   was  possibly  the  strongest  anthidote   to

        political  fragmentation in the hands of the  Amhara

        ruling class(5).

        The  marxian  turn  that was taken  after  the  Derg

        revolution  (1974) went a step ahead  in  separating

        different social functions. The stalinist regime  of

        Mengistu  Haile Mariam, of course, did  not  proceed

        any step in the direction of the rule of law and  of

        the  separation between law and politics.  The  1987

        Constitution  however made clear that  Mengistu  was

        not  claiming any religious power. Law and  politics

        were  separated from religion. In this sense it  was

        a  step  foreward in reaching the separation between

        the  three spheres of social control that we assumed

        typical of the western rule of law(6). Of course, it

        has  been  argued that the change between the  Negus

        and the Mengistu regimes was just nominal. While  no

        signs  of limitation of the sovereign power  appears

        in  the 1987 Constitution, marxian ideology was just

        proposed  as the new state religion. It  is  however

        undeniable  that  a traditional Ethiopian  (or  more

        broadly  African)  source  of  legitimation  and  of

        political unity was lost.

        The  final  step  is taken in the 1994  constitution

        whose  task appears to be introducing the  "rule  of

        law"  in  Ethiopia. Thanks to the  help  of  foreign

        experts,  not only the clear separation between  law

        and  religion  is confirmed. For the first  time  in

        Ethiopia,  the  political leadership is  subject  to

        the  law. The legal and the political processes  are

        finally  separated. Even the military is kept  aside

        of  the political scene. The Western Legal Tradition

        has found its way all the way to Addis Ababa.

        Everybody  who puts a value on political  unity  may

        be  worried.  It  is  not  granted  any  more  by  a

        reeligious monarchy. It is not granted anymore by  a

        marxian  egualitarian ideology. It  is  not  granted

        anymore     by    unrestricted    political\military

        leadership.  The  enthusiastic western  reaction  to

        the  reduction  of the inflation  rate  may  not  be

        something   appealing  enough  for  the  people   to

        substitute  the rule of tradition and  the  rule  of

        politics as effective means for keeping unity.

        While  some  scholars  may welcome  this  remarkable

        achievement,  in  this paper I will  take  a  rather

        different  perspective.  I  will  argue  that   this

        evolution   is   just   another   example   of    an

        ethnocentric  and  ahistorical episode  of  cultural

        imperialism.   It  is  the  result  of  intellectual

        dependency,  the  last  but  not  least   dangerous,

        between the power relations in postcolonial Africa.

        It  is likely that the result of this constitutional

        evolution,   inherently  foreign  to   the   African

        structure  of power and decisionmaking, will  simply

        result   in  another  piece  of  unapplied   written

        legislation.

        The  new Constitution locates itself clearly in  the

        modern ( or modernized ) layer of the law. It is  at

        this  level  of  the legal system that  it  must  be

        analized:  and  this is why it is likely  to  remain

        largely  unapplied. Chances are, however, that  this

        remarkably  sophisticated  constitutional  document,

        the  product  of an enlightened western  braintrust,

        will  create serious damages in a political scenario

        which is already complicated and dramatic enough.

        In  particular,  I  see  problems  arising  from  an

        American  patterned  rethoric  of  rights   and   of

        competition,   the   foundations   of   an    ethnic

        federalism   extremely  dangerous   in   Africa   as

        elsewhere,  the  institutional  weakeness,  and  the

        unbareable    complexity   of   the   constitutional

        organization.

        

        2. Some bakground

        

        The polytical background of the new constitution  is

        too  well  known to be discussed here. Important  to

        our  purposes is only that none of the polytical and

        ethnic  forces  which  make the  opposition  to  the

        Ethiopian  People's Revolutionary  Democratic  Front

        (EPRDF)   had  participated  to  the  Constitutional

        making   process.  All  opposition   parties,   most

        important  those representing the Amhara  and  Oromo

        groups  (  38 and 35 % respectively ) withdrew  from

        the electoral competition.

        The   new   Constitution  is   therefore   supported

        politycally  and  ethnically only  by  the  Tigrynia

        minority   which  counts  less  than  10%   of   the

        population(7).

        The  following  alternative was therefore  open  for

        the EPRDF leader and now president Meles Zenawi:  1)

        a   constitution  supporting  a  strong  leadership,

        imposed by political force, with some risks  as  far

        as  the international support is concerned. Or 2)  a

        constitution  which shows the willingness  to  share

        power,  in  the  hope  of eventully  obtaing  larger

        internal  consent and with the certainty of  western

        sympathy.  The second option was followed thanks  to

        the  remarkable  enlightment of the  tygrine  elite.

        Some  less  sympathetic commentators  have  detected

        behind  this  choice a divide and rule  strategy,  a

        priviledged  attitude towards Eritrean independence,

        and  a  way  out in case of political  defeat.  This

        last  interpretation seems to be  supported  by  the

        provisions  on  secession which  introduce  a  major

        limit  to  the  correct use of the word "federalism"

        in  the  new  denomination of "  Federal  Democratic

        Republic  of  Ethiopia".  indeed,  as  it  has  been

        immediately pointed out(8), secession and federalism

        are  incompatible  cathegories. A comparativist  may

        only  add,  at  this point, that a framework  for  a

        rather  weak  executive, breakes with the  tradition

        of  African  leadership. This in turn may  mean  two

        things.  Either that the structure of power  in  the

        books  does  not correspond to that  in  action,  or

        that    this   constitution   introduces   so   many

        incentives  to secession that the unity of  Ethiopia

        as a Federal state is not going to last much.

        As   it   is  very  well  known,  all  the   federal

        experiences that proved succesful in the  course  of

        history   do  introduce  an  effective  centralizing

        corrective   (such   as  presidentialism)   to   the

        allocation  of substantial powers to the states.  On

        this particular point we will come back later.

        

        3. An Academic Constitution?

        

        A   good  experiment  would  be  to  cancel  a   few

        provisions  of  the constitution such  as  those  in

        which  the  word Ethiopia is contained, or  such  as

        art.  47,  which  contains the list  of  the  member

        states   of  the  Federal  democratic  Republic   of

        Ethiopia,  and then ask what links such  a  document

        to  the  Ethiopian reality. If there  were  many  of

        such links, this document could not be prroposed  as

        a  constitution for a different country.  Otherwise,

        changing  the word Ethiopia, we could have  a  model

        constitution apt to fit all the realities.

        The  treasure hunt for typically Ethiopian (or  even

        only   African)  provisions  gives  indeed    meager

        results.  Four provisions (Art 32,1 and 40,  5;  art

        41;   art   44  ),  granting  the  right   of   free

        establishment in any place of the country, are  what

        remains of the cruel practice of Menghistu ( but  of

        other dictators too ) to relocate the population.

        Art  28  reflects the past tragic experience of  the

        "red  terror"  by banning the statute of  limitation

        for crimes against the humanity.

        A  few  provisions  such as  those  on  private  vs.

        public property (art. 40) do reflect a typical  post

        colonial   arrangement,  precluding  the  de   plano

        substitution the word Ethiopia with Norway  or  with

        Europe.  There  is not much specially  Ethiopian  in

        all  of this, however, and such mixed provisions  on

        property  rights  may be found also  today  in  post

        communist  Eastern European countries not  to  speak

        about other African or Asian countries.

        As  I've pointed out elsewhere(9), this structure of

        property  rights  does not break  at  all  with  the

        colonial  structure,  nor is it  rooted  in  African

        peculiarities   but  just  reflects   the   colonial

        relationship  of  power  as inherited  by  the  post

        colonial  leading  elite in front  of  the  ordinary

        citizens.  What  it  may be  remarked  here  is  how

        communist  African  regimes were able  to  introduce

        colonial structures even in those contexts  such  as

        Ethiopia where (political) colonization has  been  a

        very marginal phenomenon (10).

        Finally,  another couple of articles try to  reflect

        legal  pluralism: in particular art.  34,  5  "  the

        Constitution shall not preclude the adjudication  of

        personal   or   family  disputes  by  religious   or

        cultural  laws..." and Art. 78, 5  "The  Council  of

        People's  Representatives  and  State  Councils  can

        establish  or give official recognition to religious

        and   cultural  courts".  While  the   former   just

        reflects  an  unavoidable  reality,  the  latter  is

        rather  braggy  since it assumes a  relationship  of

        (effective)  power between official  and  unofficial

        law  which  was never been the reality  anywhere  in

        Africa.

        These  few provisions were all I was able to  locate

        that    would   make   this   constitutional   draft

        unsuitable   for  a  European  or  for  a   Northern

        American  country.  Indeed, the impact  of  American

        constitutional  rethoric is staggering.  It  is  not

        only   the  rethoric  and  the  fundamental  federal

        structure   of  the  U.S.  Constitution   which   is

        reflected  here. There would be nothing  unusual  in

        this.  After all, the U.S. constitution  has  always

        been  the  most influential constitutional  document

        in  the  world. What I'm observing is the impact  of

        the  rethoric  of  American  modern  law  professors

        which appears rather ridicolous out of context.

        A  cursory  look to the constitution will  give  you

        the  flavour  of  what I'm talking  about:   Art.  9

        tells us that the constitution is " The supreme  law

        of  the  land". Art. 14 assumes the necessity  of  a

        trio  of  fundamental values : "  life  liberty  and

        property"  becomes " Life liberty and  the  security

        of  the  person".  Art.  19 introduces  the  Miranda

        warning  made  famous  by the American  movies:  the

        Ethiopian  person arrested has "A  right  to  remain

        silent  and  to be notified that any statement  that

        they  make or evidence they give may be used against

        them  in  court". The "rigt to privacy" is not  only

        generally   guaranteed   (   art   26)    but   also

        specifically  to  the accused ( art  20).  "  Double

        Jeopardy"  is prohibited (art 23). Of course  "  the

        equal  protection of the law" is granted (art 25)...

        Many   other  examples  of  american  constitutional

        language can be found.

        Talking  about  fashionable provisions  (within  the

        American  academia)  we will  find  that  the  press

        should not only be free but "diverse" (art. 29,  4);

        women  are entitled to "affirmative" action in order

        to  be  able  to "compete on the basys  of  equality

        with  men  in  political economic and  social  life"

        (art.  35,3). The problems that may arise  from  the

        competition   between  men  and  women   should   be

        resolved  "in the best interest of the child"  (art.

        36,2). Ethiopians should have a "Right of Access  to

        justice"  which,  of course, can be  effective  only

        with the introduction of class actions (Art 37,  2).

        A  right  to  a "clean and healty environment"  (art

        44)  completes  the  list of the  rights  formulated

        with   academic   rethoric.   Other   non   american

        faschionable   ideas   find   their   way   in   the

        constitution:  between these the  Scandinavian  idea

        of  the  "ombudsman"  (art  55,  15)  which  in  the

        eighties  became a "must" for any proposal  claiming

        to   be   progressive.  The  right  to  "sustainable

        development",  whatever it may mean, found  its  way

        in  the  constitution as well.  A  very  progressive

        section  on  social  rights is added.  It  would  be

        difficult  for a Scandinavian country to afford  its

        implementation.

        

        4.  A  brief scketch on the institutional  framework

        and its western models.

        

        If  the rethoric and the flavour of the Constitution

        is  clearly  American, the fundamental structure  of

        government is rather mixed.

        As  I  have  mentioned,  the  fundamental  "federal"

        arrangement   reflects   the   U.S.   model    (some

        knowledgeable commentators claim that  there  is  an

        Indian   influence  at  play  here)  with  all   the

        residual  powers  allocated  to  the  member  States

        (Art.  52,  1).  The parliament is  divided  in  two

        chambers  which have rather different constitutional

        roles.  The  Council  of  People's  Representatives,

        elected  " For a term of five years on the basis  of

        universal  suffrage  and by  direct  free  and  fair

        elections" (art. 54 1) is the legislative branch.

        The  Federal Council, whose members are  elected  by

        State    Councils   (also   established    by    the

        Constitution)  is  composed of  "Representatives  of

        nations, nationalities and people" at least one  for

        each  of them, plus an additional member for  nation

        or   nationality  for  each  one  million   of   its

        population" (Art 61).

        This  body has a crucial role in a Federation  under

        constant  threat  of secession because  it  has  the

        role of supreme interpreter of the constitution  and

        of  referee of all the ethnical (including  boarder)

        disputes.  That  is  why provisions  a  little  less

        vague  on  its composition (particularly  in  Africa

        where  the  censiment  of  the  population  is   not

        precise)  would have been advisable. It  is  however

        true  that  the  role and the actual composition  of

        the  Federal council can not be discussed if the key

        question   of   the  nationalities  and   of   theyr

        representation is not resolved first (Art 47, 1,2).

        The  president (art. 71)  has a rather symbolic role

        (like  the  Italian  or the German).  The  executive

        Power  is  vested in the prime minister and  in  the

        Council   of   ministers   which   are   politically

        accountable to the Parliament (Art.72,1).  Political

        parties   are   mentioned   many   times   in    the

        constitution.  From an Italian perspective  this  is

        just  another evidence of the very weak position  of

        the  federal executive in Ethiopia, and of the major

        problems  that may arise out of it. On parties  I'll

        come back in the conclusive remarks.

        As  far  as  the judiciary is concerned,  the  mixed

        nature  of the systems is even more clear. Following

        the  U.S.  example,  "The supreme Federal  Judiciary

        authority is vested in the Federal supreme court"  (

        Art   78,   2).  The  same  provision   grants   the

        possibility  of estyablishing federal lower  Courts.

        State  Courts  will adjudicate federal questions  if

        such  a  lower judiciary is not established. Special

        Courts  are  prohibited  and  tenure  of  office  is

        guaranteed  in  order to guarantee the  independence

        of  the judiciary. No salary guarantee is introduced

        to give effectiveness to such independence.

        The  mixed nature of the judiciary is showed  by  a)

        the  typically  French civilian power  of  cassation

        that is given to the Federal supreme Court aside  of

        the  regular "final" appellate power and b)  by  the

        denial  of  constitutional adjudication  to  regular

        courts.  Such  power of constitutional adjudication,

        following  the  German  model,  is  exercised  by  a

        Constitutional    Court,    called    Council     of

        Constitutional  Enquiry  (Art.  82)  which  receives

        jurisdiction  incidentally from judges  and  parties

        when  an  issue  of constitutional law  arises.  How

        this  power of constitutional adjudication  actually

        relates   with   the   "power   to   interpret   the

        constitution"  enphatically  given  to  the  Federal

        Council by section 1 of art. 62 is not clear.

        Two   final  remarks  should  be  added  here,  both

        pointing to a very problematic applicability of  the

        constitutional  framework.  Judges  are  politically

        appointed    by    the    Council    of     People's

        Representatives  on proposal of the  Prime  Minister

        on  the  basis of a selection procedure  made  by  a

        Federal   Commission  for  Judicial   Administration

        (art.81).  This is jet another organ in the  already

        full  arena  of  law  officers. This  overwhelmingly

        complex  legal  and constitutional  structure,  will

        absorbe  a  tremendous amount  of  the  very  scarce

        manpower  of  jurists.  Particularly,  if  the  dual

        level of State and Federal Courts its thought to  be

        fully fledged.

        

        5. Some final remarks.

        

        The  federal Constitution confirms the mixed  nature

        of  the  modern layer of the Ethiopian legal system.

        This  characteristic was already at play with  Heile

        Selassie whom, as it is very well known, was  freely

        borrowing legal institutions from the French  (Civil

        Code)  and  from the Anglo American tradition.  This

        mixed  nature is probably the product  of  the  weak

        colonization  which  affected Ethiopia.  In  African

        States  which  experienced a strong and  longlasting

        colonization by one single power the flavour of  the

        legal system has not changed after decolonization.

        The  American model the dominates today's  Ethiopian

        Constitution is the leading legal system  worldwide.

        Most  of its success is due to its effectiveness  in

        protecting  individual rights in the course  of  the

        two  world  wars (11). The  rethoric  of  individual

        rights, of individualism and of competition that  is

        produced  by  the American model could not  be  more

        foreign to te African mentalite'.

        A  strong  and ideological assertiveness  of  rights

        can   have   very  destabiliziong  impact   on   the

        Ethiopian  society. This is in particular true  when

        such  rethoric touches such crucial problems as self

        determination   and  secession.   A   Somali   legal

        scholar,  Ahmed Botan, has cxonveyed with bitterness

        this  idea with a sad joke which was circulating  in

        Addis  Ababa during the negotiations for  the  peace

        in  Somalia:  "Somalia and I against the  world.  My

        clan  an  I against Somalia. My family and I against

        my  clan.  My  brother and I against my  family.  Me

        against my brother!" (12)

        A  well  developped rule of law based on  individual

        rights  can  not live outside of a constant  process

        of   mediation,   that  in  more  advanced   western

        societies   is  given  by  the  legal  culture.   In

        Ethiopia  at  the moment there is no  legal  culture

        and  the state in which legal scholars are abandoned

        in  the  University of Addis Ababa  does  not  allow

        many   hopes  for  the  future.  It  is  not  rights

        assertiveness  that  should  be  borrowed  from  the

        American  experience: it should be  the  ability  to

        arrange  continuity  and change  within  a  flexible

        institutional  framework accepted  by  a  number  of

        very different people.

        In   Africa,  right  assertiveness  is  particularly

        dangerous  if it is understood as rights of  a  clan

        to  be  asserted agaist the others. The  traditional

        decentralized  ethnic African society  endorsed  and

        endorses a decision making style that could  not  be

        more  far  from the western right assertiveness.  It

        was  a  culture  of  mediation,  of  unanimity,   of

        peacekeeping   not   much   different    from    the

        international  law  which governs the  international

        community. (13)

        Possibly  the Ethiopian constitution opens  to  this

        model  by  granting an important right of secession.

        Such  right, however is in contraddiction  with  the

        very  idea of a federalist constitution and a lawyer

        should  point out this contraddiction. If the  right

        to  secession will become a possible way to find new

        arrangements   of   coexistence  more   simple   and

        suitable to tha African reality than a very  complex

        American  based mechanism of federalism is  an  open

        question.  It  is  sure however that  federalism  to

        work  requires a high degree of political and  legal

        expertise  that  not  many countries  in  the  world

        enjoy  today.  It  should be  added,  however,  that

        ethnical   federalism  particularly  when  ethnicism

        gets  represented by political parties  (politicized

        ethnicism) is the worst of the possible worlds.

        If   Africa   desires   to   borrow   from   western

        institutions, which I do not belive to  be  a  sound

        policy,  i  belive it should do so after  a  serious

        comparative  analysis of the pros and  the  cons  of

        each   institutional  alternative.   If   there   is

        something that the American model can teach, is  the

        absence  of  any  ethnic  element  in  an  efficient

        federalism.  What is crucial is to detect  the  best

        institutional level in which decision making  should

        be  exercized. From this point of view,  some  hopes

        may  come from art. 55, 6 which mandates the Federal

        legislature  to  codify in civil  law  only  to  the

        extent  that  " The Federal Council deems  necessary

        to  mantain  and  sustain one  economic  community".

        This  idea  or perhaps its lighter application,  the

        so   called  principle  of  subsidiarity  which   is

        nowadays  leading the European integration,  may  be

        considered  as alternative ways to create federalism

        without  pointing  all the stress  on  the  ethnical

        level.

        Another  secret  of  the  success  of  the  American

        political   system   which   can   be   crucial   in

        multiethnic  communities is that  it  has  protected

        the   minorities  in  their  fundamental   political

        rights  in a rather satisfactory way thanks  to  its

        high  level  of legal culture. Even more  important,

        the  American  political system has worked   out  an

        electoral  system  that attracts minority  wiews  in

        the    mainstream,   rather   than    causing    the

        proliferation of parties.

        Despite  the presence of nearly one hundred  nations

        within  it,  Ethiopia  is a  rather  unitary  nation

        state  if compared with other African realities(14).

        Ethnicity should not be disregarded, as it  happened

        in  the past history, but we should not fall in  the

        opposite  extreme  of  interpreting  every  and  all

        African social dynamics as a function of it.

        To  make this constitution work, there is much  need

        of  intermediate circuits of decision making between

        the  State and the ethnic group. A serious political

        and  institutional effort should therefore be  made,

        when  and  if  the  constitution  will  be  actually

        applied,   to  keep  low  the  number  of  political

        parties  by  mean  of  ad hoc electoral  laws.  This

        would  be  the  only  possible  way  to  defeat  the

        "politicized  ethnicism"(15) because it  will  force

        ethnic  political  groups to seek coalitions  before

        participating  to  political  elections   eventually

        bringing to the birth of two major parties.

        As  it  has been noticed in a recent article, it  is

        within  the  political party that the whole  african

        art  of mediation and of search for unanimity  could

        find  a  "modern" substitute for the village meeting

        and   for  the  other  traditional  decision  making

        devices(16).  Leadership within  major  parties  may

        eventually  reduce some of the problems  created  by

        the  potentially  weak government described  in  the

        constitution.

        Of  course  all  of  this lead us  to  question  the

        assumption  that  the rule of law  as  distinguished

        from  politics  and the rule  tradition  is  a  good

        achievement in Africa in general and in Ethiopia  in

        particular.

        

Notes

(1) See SCHLESINGER
(2) See VanDer Linden e Reyntiens
(3) see Griffith, What is legal pluralism
(4) see Mattei, Verso una tripartizione non etnocentrica dei
sistemi giuridici
(5) See Brietzke, Ethiopia leap in the dark
(6) see Sholler in Reyntiens
(7)  This  fiugures (apparently understated as  far  as  the
Oromo  are  concerned) can be founf in  the  1980\84  census
cited in Brietzke cit. supra
(8) See Brietzke
(9)  Mattei, Socialist and non socialist approaches to  land
law.  continuity  and change in Somalia  and  other  African
States
(10)  See on this aspect Calchi Novati in Ethiopian  studies
congress 1986
(11)   see   Mattei,  Why  the  winf  Changed.  Intellectual
leadership in Western Law, Am.J.Comp.L.
(12)  BOOTAN,  Somalia.  Stato Regionale  o  Cantonizzazione
Clanica?, in Studi Sacco (1994) I 94 ss a p. 117.
(13) See Sacco, Modelli notevoli di societa'
(14) See Calchi Novati
(15) See Botan, cit, M.Aden, ASrrivederci a Mogadiscio
(16) See Castellani