The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I


About the dismissal of ministers and the outbreak of an influenza epidemic

About ten years had elapsed since ministers were (first) appoin­ted. In any event, since the people as a whole were very incensed about the ministers’ negligence to carry on equitably the business of government and about the gradual deterioration of every aspect of the work, they rose up in league with each other and indicated that the ministers should be changed for the good of the people. But as it had not hitherto been customary for the authority of the people to intervene in the appointment and dismissal of ministers, We argued on their behalf to the best of Our ability by refusing to dismiss them. In thinking to calm matters, We arranged for the ministers to depart for the time being. Until new ministers could be selected and appointed, the entire work had to be carried out on Our responsibility alone, and this caused great fatigue to Us.

After this, from the 1st Hedar to the 30th (= 10th November - 9th December), there broke out at Addis Ababa and in all the other provinces of Ethiopia an influenza epidemic, and in the city of Addis Ababa alone more than 10,000 people died. But I, after I had fallen gravely ill, was spared from death by God’s goodness.

The great war that had raged in Europe came to an end in this year, and the Germans and the Turks were defeated by France, England, Italy, and by the other allied governments. Ledj Iyasu had not at that time permitted us to help even by supplying provisions to our neighbours; and, although we had stood apart, the victors were our neighbours and we, therefore, decided to send envoys to them to congratulate them, adding some money for the aid of the wounded. The following were selected for this task:

To the French government: Dejazmatch Walda Gabr’el Bashah as principal, and included in his delegation were Dejaz­match Shebashi Bayan and Nagadras Zawga.
To England and the United States: Dejazmatch Nadaw as principal, and included in his delegation were Ato Heruy Walda Sellasse and Kantiba Gabru.
To the Italian government: Dejazmatch Getatchaw Abata as principal, and included in his delegation were Fitawrari Mangasha Webe and Azaj Dagafe.

They departed from Addis Ababa in April-May (1919) and returned when they had concluded the business for which they had been sent.

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September 17, 2016