Toward Making a Proper Space for the Individual in the Ethiopian Constitution

A symbolic, normative, and institutional investigation of the 1995 Ethiopian Constitution reveals that the individual is displaced and locked in the periphery as much of the socio-economic and political ecology of the state is occupied by Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (NNPs). The Constitution presents and makes NNPs authors, sovereigns and constitutional adjudicators by adopting a corporate conception of group rights. As this corporate conception of group rights permeate and structure the organization of the Ethiopian state and government, the individual is relegated in the constitutional order. In order to make the transition to constitutional democracy sustainable, it is argued that the Constitution should accommodate and ensure individual autonomy by adopting a collective conception of group rights. This offers both the normative basis and institutional safeguards to strike a proper equilibrium between group rights and individual rights.

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