TPLF Spokesman Getachew Reda if the Council opts for interpreting the constitution, and worst yet, if the Council ended up extending the constitutional deadline for government mandate, they are in effect interpreting the constitution of the regional states against their wishes. The prime example can be found expressed in the context of the Tigray Regional State’s recent decision to continue with the scheduled election at the regional level. Tigray has already objected to the postponement of the national election. This doesn’t sit well with the tenet of the Constitution in relation to the establishment of the House of Federation, which is essentially established to express the Collective Will of ALL nations and regions. Therefore, any interpretational outcome that likely extends the deadline of the election will fail or betray the collective will and Sovereignty of nations and nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. The framers of the constitution didn’t seem to envision for the Council and the House of Federation to interpret the document against the express will of those who it was created for.
With respect to constitutional amendment, as shown in the previous paragraphs, the interpretation of the constitution in the absence of justifiable ground amounts to constitutional amendment. However, the constitution explicitly has specified a procedure for constitutional amendment and there are institutions mandated to do so. The mandate of constitutional amendment is endowed to the Council of member States and the joint session of the House of Federation and House of Peoples’ Representatives.
In addition, it is a manifestation and representation that the covenant that established the country is subject to change only with the say that comes from the people themselves through their representatives. Therefore, using interpretation to run the task of amendment amounts to eroding the people’s control and voice over the constitution and in doing so, putting such a mandate into the hand of few experts.
The sovereignty of the people can be exercised in many different ways. Among these is through self-rule by their representatives elected in accordance with the constitution (Art. 8 (3)) and leverage over amendment of the constitution. With regards to self-rule, an interpretation of Art. 54 (1) or Art. 58 (3) or Art. 93 in a way that contradicts the foundational Ethos – i.e., self-rule – of the people would be unconstitutional and has the practical impact of shaking the constitutional foundation of the country. State of emergency under Art. 93 (1) can be used to suspend the right to vote and be elected stipulated under Art. 38.
However, it may not be used to limit the sovereignty and self-governance of nation, nationalities and peoples stipulated under Art. 8 (3) and Art. 9 (3). Particularly because, these provisions implicate Art. 1 of the constitution that constitutes a Federal and Democratic State structure, which is not subject to suspension even under state of emergency as specified under Art 93 (1).