Political pundits believe that the establishment of a system of checks and balances between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches is essential to the expression of a democratic value.
Members of the Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) sat down with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government last week to discuss a plethora of questions and issues gathered from the public during February’s month-long discussions with their constituents.
This week, the House hosted a five-hour meeting with participation from all three branches of government.
During the public meetings with their constituents, hundreds of thousands of questions were posed by the general public, according to Meset Haile, the government whip of the Parliament.
Only 347 of the 474 constituencies held public discussions, and 127 members of parliament (MPs) were unable to communicate with their constituents.
Numerous security concerns prevented 69 of the 127 electorates from holding MP-constituency meetings.
In the constituencies where public consultations were held, the public posed an overwhelming number of questions, primarily from 39 executive and judicial institutions seeking an answer.
Shortage of electric power, lack of telecommunications service, unavailability of water supply, trade, peace and security, and education are among the most important issues raised by citizens.
Absence of peace and stability, inability of citizens from excising their freedom of movement rights, robbery and contraband, lack of agricultural input, inflation, the absence of job opportunities, and financial constraints on government institutions were mentioned in almost every constituency and discussion with the electorate, Meseret says.
MPs also reported that those who contributed trucks to the war in northern Ethiopia on behalf of the federal government are seeking compensation for the trucks they lost.
The local government is also seizing land that was supposed to be used for agricultural training centers without proper consultations and negotiations.
Talef Yitawek, an MP from the Amhara region, posed questions to the executive organ, such as the failure to effectively address the recovery program for war-affected areas, the insufficiency of the budget to pay salaries for public service employees, and the cancellation of a planned road project without the public’s knowledge.
In addition, the lawmaker mentioned the security issues associated with people entering the capital, Addis Ababa, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the inadequacy of fertilizer supplies for farmers.
Melese Mena, another MP from the southern nation and nationality region, stated that virtually all zonal and wereda assemblies are contending with financial shortages, confiscation of land provided for agricultural excellence institutions, inflation, the issue of fertilizer, and other problems.
Dina Mufti (Amb.), a lawmaker hailing from Addis Ababa, asserts that the public in the city is becoming more suspicious due to the security threat the country faces. He highlighted the public’s discontent with social security, rising inflation, and soaring commodity prices.
A representative of the Somali regional state told the gathering that his region’s infrastructure, including electricity, telecommunications, and road facilities, is falling behind. He stated, however, that a number of electorates are not complaining about it.
An MP from the Gambella region stated that the region is afflicted by contraband, failed investments, attacks from neighboring regions by a South Sudanese militant group, investors leaving the region, and a lack of goods that should be available to the general public.
Oromia region representative Bizuayehu Degefu echoed the concerns and complaints expressed by representatives of other regions. He stated that the security situation in Oromia is comparable to that in Tigray a few months ago. The situation in Oromia, according to him, requires reconciliation.
“The security situation in Oromia is not different from what it was in the Tigray region a few months ago,” he said. He believes the situation in Oromia needs reconciliation.
“It has been two years since we met with our electorate. The security situation prevents us from meeting them; we have asked the Parliament, the Prosperity Party (PP), the Prime Minister, and the Africa Union (AU), but we are not seeing any single effort.”
“When we are saying this, we are not saying it for media attention; we are saying it because the public is requesting attention and urgent help,” said the MP.
During this meeting between MPs, executives, and the judiciary, Minister of Justice Gedion Timotheos (PhD) stated that efforts are being made to locate and prosecute individuals who have been identified as posing a threat to public safety.
People on the list are held accountable for their actions.
In order to make the justice system viable, accessible, and fair, the executive branch of the justice road map has been finalized and will soon be operational.
Zelalem Mengiste, deputy commissioner of the federal police, elaborated on the arrest of more than 285 suspects in connection with an alleged illegal roadblock.
In the final half of the Ethiopian fiscal year, over 67 incidents based on religion or identity were recorded. Over 644 individuals were arrested.
At least 83 illegal miners were arrested in Gamabella, Beinshangul, and the Southwest regional states, according to Zelalem, who describes these criminals as “gangsters and mafia members who are initially under search warrants in their respective countries.”
In 5200 investigations, the federal police and the Ministry of Justice have saved over 45 billion birr, according to Zelalem, who adds that at least 104 citizens from 16 different countries have been arrested for transporting drugs worth billions of dollars on the international drug market, including 82.8 kilograms of cocaine, 9.7 kilograms of cannabis, and 9.7 kilograms of opium.
The deputy commissioner claims that since the government gave the green light for peace negotiations, members of the Oromo Liberation Army, also known by the government as Shene, have begun to surrender.
In response to a question about road projects, the Director of the Ethiopian Roads Administration, Mohammed Abdurrahman (Eng.), stated that his office is currently responsible for managing road projects worth more than one trillion birr across the entire country.
However, officials from regional, zonal, and woreda governments, as well as the general public, demand higher compensation fees for roads traversing areas so that the projects can be carried out.
This is prompting officials to even consider making decisions that could result in the cancellation of projects.
Regarding the court system, the president of the Supreme Court, Tewodros Mihret, stated that there are financial issues, court decisions are not being implemented, and there is an ongoing effort to revise the civil code.
Gebremesekel Chala, Minister of Trade and Regional Integration, stated that illegal trading practices, a lack of manufacturing inputs, economic sabotage, contraband, and commodity hoarding are the primary causes of market distortion.
Currently, the nation’s macroeconomic committee is holding a discussion because his office is unable to primarily address inflation and supply shortages. The Minister stated that a study is being conducted on some of the most important commodities to determine whether or not a government intervention with a price ceiling must be implemented.