House to decide on ‘Africa Day’
Returning from a mid-year recess, the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) have begun to review a new draft bill that legislates on the raising of the Union’s flag, singing of the Union’s anthem and the commemoration of Africa Day in Ethiopia.
The new draft bill was proposed by the government to bring a legal framework for the implementation of the decisions made by the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union, during the pan African’s 50th anniversary, which was marked in 2013, here in Addis Ababa.
According to the proposed provisions of the latest draft bill, upon the approval by the House, this Proclamation will be applied within the territorial boundary of Ethiopia, as well as on Ethiopian missions abroad and commercial ships, boats, and air planes registered to Ethiopia.
The proposed provisions also stipulates that except in cases of force majeure that absolutely stops from having it raised, the Union’s Flag shall be hoisted at the designated places.
Furthermore, it shall be raised at 6 a.m. and lowered at 6 p.m. in offices specified under the specific provisions of this Proclamation while, the international rules and regulations on the use of flags at sea shall apply, for the time of hoisting and lowering of the Union’s flags on ships and boats registered by Ethiopia.
Similarly, the draft provisions states that the flag of the Union and Ethiopia shall be hoisted at the same height. Furthermore, the provision details the order of flags.
Concerning the Union’s anthem, it shall be conducted after the Ethiopian national anthem is conducted. Furthermore, everyone shall pay due honor during the hoisting and lowering of the Flag of the AU. Any person whose health allows him to do so, shall stand upright lowering his hands and facing the Union’s flag during the anthem.
Besides the stated two issues, the new bill also proposes the commemoration of Africa Day in Ethiopia which would be equally considered as a National day.
According to the draft, “Africa Day” shall be commemorated as a public holiday on May 25, Gregorian calendar. However, the bill further stipulates that the Government of Ethiopia, as deemed necessary, may decide to make Africa Day, a rest day.
Having undertaken first hand reviews, the House has referred the draft bill to the Foreign Relation and Peace Affairs Standing Committee for further deliberations.