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The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I



CHAPTER 30

A commentary on the Constitution



On the side of the officials and the people there were few who knew what the meaning of a constitution was, but since We considered it essential that they should all understand it, We directed, during the week in which the constitution was signed, that all officials and many of the people should assemble; Our Minister of Finance, Bajerond Takla Hawaryat, then addressed them and explained in the following discourse:

‘Your Majesty!

The idea which has been realized in Ethiopia this year and the plan which has been initiated is of a kind which has never before been carried out in any country in the world at any time whatsoever.

A level towards which Ethiopia did not progress in two or three centuries has been brought about by Your Majesty in one rapid march forward, thus causing her to reach a high and lofty rank.

The abundant benevolence which you have up to now shown to each one of us has been astonishing. But today’s instance, while not excluding anyone, extends to the entire Ethiopian people all at once and is truly amazing.

Because this is being accomplished in our time and He has granted us to see and to hear it, our good fortune will assuredly be well remembered. It can, therefore, not be doubted that it will serve to glorify our time, not only for Your Majesty’s sake but even for ours. It will bring honour to future generations that come after us.

Altogether Ethiopia has found a source of life that will secure her existence henceforth and, while her power develops, she is able to give out light uninterruptedly—shining forth like a sun for ever. Therefore all those enquiring into world affairs, both men of the present time and those to arise in the future, are full of unceasing admiration for the kindness—unexampled in the world—which Your Majesty has done to Ethiopia, quite suddenly with no one expecting it, by Your free will and benevolence, while only Your understanding and study, Your sincere mind and obvious intelligence were guiding You. History will judge you above the good and wise kings.

It is more than three thousand years that Ethiopia has been known in its nationhood. From that time till today Ethiopia has stretched out her hands towards God and has been waiting patiently for some great benefit; and it is only now that God has caused her, at Your Majesty’s hand, to be favoured by the divine blessing.

It is by His creating the whole world with inviolable and firm laws, determined for ever, that the Creator causes us to believe in His existence and supreme rulership.

It is through manifesting, by thorough study, the Creator’s law and through observing it that man’s greatness is particularly recognized. In this way he brings honour upon himself and also serves his fellows. To confer suitable benefits upon Ethiopia, nothing better could be done than to set up a constitution. Nobody will fail to appreciate that it was because Your Majesty was above all convinced that no greater benefit appropriate for Ethiopia could be found that by Your own will You established a basis for the foundation of Your government and determined a constitution for the governance of the people—and not on account of some fanciful or other reason.

While all this was planned not only for those of us who are alive now, We realize that it was done with a view to safeguarding the independence of the coming generation; hence our gratitude is sincere.

Since Your Majesty is convinced that laying a foundation for government and setting up a pillar of law is the main consideration required for safeguarding our generation, we natives of Ethiopia and all Your subjects are able to appreciate and to assess the value of this and to recognize the advantages which You have wrought for us; therefore, all Your toil will not be in vain. But for this favour which You have done for us who live at the present time, can we ever know how to make an adequate return? Or can a counter-favour, whatever it may be, ever be sufficient?

Before making the appropriate response to this question which I have posed, may I first request Your Majesty graciously to accept my sincere gratitude which I present before Your throne for having permitted me, Your humble servant, the interpretation of this great concept before this august assembly.

Your Highnesses the Princes, Your Excellencies the chiefs and officials! What I request of you now is to permit me to explain to you the interpretation of the thoughts underlying the decree promulgated on 9th Hamle (= 16th July), so that you may be aware of the profundity and subtlety of the idea, of who is to be the beneficiary of it, and what we are to do to render adequate return for His Majesty’s great favour.

Well then, I will myself provide answer and discussion to the matters I have mentioned above and if, after listening patiently, you find frivolity in what I say, you must chide me; but if you discover matters of substance, you should store them in your heart.

ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION

Your Majesty has graciously caused it to be proclaimed that from now on and forever the governance of Your imperial realm is to be by the determination of the law. Constitution, i.e. the law of the realm, means to set up well, to constitute. It is like setting something up by selecting from two or three things and uniting them into one only. For instance, the constitution of a wall is established by four things: stone, lime, sand, and straight levelling. And similarly, a country, people, king, and law, when united together, form the basis for the establishment of a government, and the concept of their being fused together is called a constitution. It will be found recorded in world history that many great men, in various epochs and in different countries, toiled hard to harmonize, with well-disposed application, the ideas underlying the establishment of a government.

Let us then indicate to you all the various kinds of expositions that have been presented as conditions and principles to be applied to the framing of constitutions in the world.

(1) A king with unlimited powers, in the absence in his country of any special customs or regulations, will do as he pleases, with his caprice as the only principle guiding him from day to day, and bring about fortuitous changes according to his character. He punishes without proper judgement, and kills and hangs people. A government of this kind may be suitable for pagans but it is not appropriate for a Christian people. The word of the Gospels does not permit it. An example of this would be, if a man lived in an accumulation of stones in a field—as in a cavern—and if they suddenly collapsed they could crush him. This would be called arbitrary government. Succession to the throne is according to the chance of time and superior strength and may change frequently and abruptly; each time such a change occurs it splits the people into factions, seeking to annihilate each other and making their fate constant bloodshed and mutual destruction.

(2) A king with unlimited powers, in the absence of properly specified written legislation, proceeds by long-established custom handed down from generation to generation. He is thus able to apply punishment as well as mercy, to appoint and to dismiss as well as to hold court in open assembly, to award honours and to issue clearly drafted proclamations. If suddenly he commits some wrong, no restraint can be placed upon him. Government of this kind has mostly remained to be practised among peoples for whom no constitution has been set up. An example of this would be a house built with natural stone walls without mortar. This would be called a government existing by custom which possesses a measure of tolerance. The succession to the throne is to the faction to which the chance of time may offer it.

(3) A king with full authority may have specially appointed counsellors who prepare legislation for him and work by meeting in special assemblies on specified occasions. The number of persons who are permitted to tender advice is defined and they are selected from among the princes, officials, and people of each part of the country; if the advisory assembly is held in two or three sections, then the chambers are to be organized and divided in accordance with these sections. The persons who are to be counsellors within each section are chosen according to the rank of their respective parties. Parliament is divided into chambers of princes, notables, and the people. But those selected for the people’s chamber, it is by the people’s choice that they are appointed according to the rules; and consequently they serve as counsellors for a fixed term only, then they are removed again and others are once more elected and substituted for them.

All their deliberations are to be decided by majority vote and then to be submitted to the king in writing; if the king likes their counsel and accepts it, he then confirms it. He subsequently causes it to be promulgated. Afterwards the ministers, in accordance with instructions under the law, have to see it is carried out. They have to put on trial people transgressing the law and see that they are punished.

Revision or complete change of the law is undertaken after proper consultations about it according to the (existing) law. Government of this type is called joint rule determined by law. Succession to the throne in no circumstances passes outside the dynasty. It rests firmly upon the words of an oath and threat of excommunication entered into by the king, the princes, the notables and the people. An example of this is a house whose walls are built with stone, lime and sand.

(4) Then there is a republican form of government where the head of the republic is appointed by the will of the people for a fixed period. A government like this is a communal government subject only to the authority of the people.

The president of the republic demits office at the prescribed time and is succeeded by the next one likewise elected by the will of the people. In a republican government, the president of the republic, the ministers and counsellors are elected entirely by the choice of the people. Any proposal that has to be carried out is decided upon by the party with the majority of popular votes. Such a government is called government of the people. Government of this type is not for very uneducated and uncivilized people. Even in civilized countries it often causes great difficulty and leads to bloodshed.

Even if there exists another method of government apart from those enumerated, none has been discovered that is better than these for the condition of man at the present time.

There is no limit to man’s desires, and as such desires increase they have no benefit for life but remain mere concepts. I have, therefore, shown you the various kinds of governance that exist in the world and that can be of use to man’s life. Well then, it is the third method of governance for which H.M. Haile Sellassie I has opted in the belief that it will be suitable for the conditions in which Ethiopia exists at present, i.e. the government of Ethiopia is for ever to be a government of the King of Kings (= Emperor), with the Emperor possessing full authority and the principal determination of the law being by the Imperial will, while for the necessary matters of detail he is to be advised, for the time being, by the assembly of princes and notables; these matters are to come into force when approved by the Emperor’s authority. Later on, when the people have been educated to an adequate standard of knowledge, they will be permitted to elect, on their part, men to whom the privilege of counsellorship is to be given.

This means that for the present the Emperor is appointing the princes, notables, and officials as tutors for the people, so that they should guide the populace towards amelioration.

Thus the constitution given to Ethiopia by H.M. Haile Sellassie I may be briefly defined as follows:

(1) The government of Ethiopia is for ever an Imperial realm. The Emperor possesses full authority, but his rule is subject to legal determination.
(2) The Senate and Chamber of Deputies are firmly established for ever and cannot be removed; the counsellors are to be elected at a predetermined time from each part of the country from among the princes, notables, officials, and people.
(3) The principal laws, by virtue of being based on the Emperor’s knowledge, shall remain permanently valid.
(4) Laws concerning matters of detail are to be examined by Parliament and to be decided by majority vote; after they have been ratified by the Emperor’s authority, they shall be promulgated.
(5) Ministers are to be responsible for the work of their respective departments and have to see to it that their work is carried out in the whole of Ethiopia.
(6) It is the Emperor alone who is in supreme command of all the armed forces in Ethiopia.
(7) It is the Emperor alone who can award senior authority and rank, office and rights, decorations and honours, hereditary land-rights and fiefs (rest and gult), as well as major grants of lodgings and maintenance.
(8) The Emperor alone can proclaim war or peace.
(9) After a malefactor has been convicted by due process of law, it is only the Emperor who is able to lighten his sentence or to pardon him altogether.

Now, then, that I have explained the establishment of the basis government, in its various forms, which is termed ‘constitution', may it be your wish to let me expound also the concept of what is called 'law'.

ABOUT THE LAW

The meaning of law is the obligation of government to define every contract made between men, so that security and peace be created for the conditions of life in the world. The meaning of law is also that it should hold responsible any man transgressing a contractual obligation and hand him over to the powers possessing the responsibility of enforcement. This being so, law provides for man a distinct definition of what it permits to him, so that he may fully benefit from it. Furthermore, the law, while warning man of the duties incumbent upon him, orders him to fulfil his obligations. Anything that is permitted to man to benefit by is called the right of exercise of enjoyment. This right of enjoyment is divided into two main parts:

(1) Private privileges are those which are for each person in his individual capacity.
(2) Joint privileges are those which are for the whole people in its entirety and for Ethiopia in her united capacity.

Private and joint concepts may be of three kinds:

(1) The interests of livelihood (worldly goods);
(2) The interests of the mind (knowledge);
(3) The interests of the inner life (love and religion).

Emperor Haile Sellassie I has given laws as regards the general judicial concepts for all these interests, private as well as communal, which have been referred to. But for matters of detail he has set up what is called a constitution as a basis for the establishment of government, so that the counsellors should submit to him (as we have shown above) the legislative proposals they have prepared in Parliament.

Up to now I have spoken in order to expound what a constitution is and also how the determination of laws is to be done. I shall now explain in detail the answer to the questions I have presented to you before.

THAT WE MAY KNOW MUTUAL AID AND UNITY

What Emperor Haile Sellassie I has done for us, other kings have done for their countries. But in other countries improvements of this kind were not carried out by an act of spontaneous generosity but through bloodshed and compulsions and by leaving behind a sense of danger for all.

But in our country, while the educational level of the people is as yet inadequate, our Emperor, in weighing up and estimating the deficiencies and advantages for the future, has been meaning to improve the conduct of our fortunes and has arranged, by his wisdom and his will, that Ethiopia should rise up from the condition of mere custom, in which she had been living hitherto, and pass on to a higher level of civilization. What makes this so very astonishing is the fact that all this is being accomplished in such peace and security, while Ethiopia turns away from the situation in which she had been up to now and makes progress all of a sudden, the Emperor being in accord with his supporters and servants—all in unity, mutual aid, and joy.

This fact is by itself enough to bring honour to Ethiopia and render her an equal with the civilized nations.

In order to repay His Majesty’s generosity, we must judge for ourselves and impose an obligation upon ourselves so as to be truly and sincerely submissive. When His Majesty has been graciously pleased to establish for us such an esteemed project, unless we make an equally gracious and willing return for those benefits, we shall give offence to our Emperor, on the one hand, and to most people, on the other, as well as incurring hatred all round; that is, if we are seekers, on the narrow road, of our own interest only and despise our common benefit which ties us to the nation.

The meaning of law is a strong and unchallengeable force which is ordained to exist among men in sanctity, purity, and honour; it is a requirement of peacefulness to be a safeguard of the interests existing among men—properly poised and for ever indestructible. That which safeguards the law itself is its faithfulness in true impartiality and sincerity in the fulfilment of contracts tied to covenants.

This contract attached to a covenant, referred to as law, specifically cautions on every occasion those dwelling in the world, lest they transgress the proper limits in any of their daily occupations; the law defines those limits for them, brings them into harmony, and delivers them from enmity.

Therefore, the law deserves to be honoured—being the supreme power above all. And we, all the natives of Ethiopia, it is our obligation and our desire to live in future with honour for the law, taking great care never to forget that we have entered into this covenant knowingly and willingly.

Anyone seeking to interfere with the mode of living permitted to every man by law or seeking to cause upheaval deserves to be rebuked before the Creator and by the assembly of the people; he also deserves to be punished as an evildoer before the king. Likewise, if a man fails to carry out what the law has commanded him or if he is found transgressing what the law has determined, then he renders himself liable to be punished by that law.

It is the Emperor who has entered into a contract sanctioned by covenant to safeguard with diligence that the people may benefit to the full from every aspect of life which the law permits; and it is up to us to see he succeeds in this.

Again, it is the same Emperor who has entered into a contract sanctioned by covenant to apply force lest anyone should be guilty of a transgression which the law forbids; let us then strive, for his sake, to the best of our ability to bring about success for this as well.

The existence of a binding covenant between the Emperor and the people entails a desire and an obligation for both parties in unison and not for one side only.

Therefore, there is no greater benefit for us than the desire and obligation that is mutual to both sides. By the Emperor’s action of giving us the law and by our action of accepting, honouring, and fulfilling it we are able to make our life in this world one of hope and loyalty. As a consequence, all our thoughts will be tranquil and this will let us take care to initiate and to bring to fruition all kinds of important and beneficial deeds.

We are not wrong in considering this the main concept for our country’s prosperity. If there were no law we would have no hope amounting to any sort of confidence—but only violence and injury—and our heart would become insensitive. Our life, on account of our unsuccessful plans, would become unsettled and unstable.

Upon such conduct, our world would remain without proper basis, a thing of idle hopes only. When we come to assess the damage of all this, we cannot fail to be very conscious of the gravity of the matter. But by virtue of the fact that it is the Emperor who gives the law and thereby becomes the custodian of the people’s benefits and deficiencies, he is given the special privilege of supreme authority and rights. It is of the essence that this should for ever remain his personal prerogative and thus no other man can challenge him. After his life-time it passes by due inheritance to his children and these, in turn, according to precedence will take over and carry on the work of government according to law, but it cannot be turned over to another dynasty. It is all the natives of Ethiopia in their entirety who have entered into a contract sanctioned by covenant to be guarantors of this arrangement.

The principal advantage deriving from this is that it should stop the quarrels and upheavals which arise each time on the occasion of the succession to the crown and throne, and that it should prevent the mutual extermination which the division of the people into factions causes as well as the dismemberment and partition of Ethiopia.

If any man were to oppose or to infringe the Emperor’s authority, the people’s interests, or the power of the law, then he would, by his own will, have become an outlaw, and no defence whatever could be found for him to save him from punishment.

From now onwards, Ethiopia, by virtue of being protected and rendered tranquil in every respect, will on one hand internally progress in every sphere of her standard of living and continually grow in wealth; on the other hand again, as far as the outside world is concerned, she will be able to conclude treaties, accruing to her benefit and honour, with her neighbouring countries regulating all mutual relations and consonant with Ethiopia’s long-term interests.

It is thus not very difficult for us to appreciate that these two methods of amelioration represent something of major value. When a basis for the establishment of government is set up and the law is defined, it is not possible at the same time to discuss precisely and bring about every determination of matters of detail. This is because the people’s mode of living is so very variegated in type, extent, and general distinctions. But our hope is absolute that in the course of time, as the need arises, permission is bound to be granted, and this inspires our heart with confidence for the future.

When that time comes, the full extent of His Majesty’s generosity will be clearly seen. While it was perfectly possible for him to rule according to his wishes like the kings in the past and to act as his momentary caprice made him, he abandoned all this and, by his own will and generosity, laid a firm basis for the establishment of his government and gave freedom to his people within the framework of the law. When he did this, he did not compel us to choose a particular kind of law and to live under it by simply translating the constitution of one of the civilized nations. If it had been done like this, it would have been to our detriment rather than our advantage. On the contrary, he saw to it that the constitution was in accordance with the country’s customs, the people’s educational level, the economic difficulties, and with the spirit of the times; he permitted the people themselves to advise on what was suitable for the time being, to be the custodians of the constitution, and to make their views known.

Any proposal that had to be decided upon by majority vote required to be examined by the properly and specifically established parliament, i.e. by the assembly of counsellors specially selected; if the proposal was suitable to become law according to the constitution, it was to be promulgated after ratification by the Emperor’s authority. For the present, no better method of legal procedure can be devised for us. After ratification and promulgation by the Emperor, it has been arranged that the ministers who possess full powers shall be responsible for the execution of the law; and no man whatsoever, be he great or small, shall be in a position to transgress the law.

Well now, I have explained to you the road along which Ethiopia is to be renewed and guided as well as the reason for the differences compared with her earlier situation; henceforth things will be different in that Ethiopian legislation is to be devised by the knowledge of indigenous Ethiopians and to be approved by the Emperor—and is no longer to be a matter that is exclusively under the guidance of foreigners.

The authority of ministers will have reference to all matters directly concerning the government and the people; chief among these are agriculture, cattle-breeding, manufacture, trade, the process of justice, and all other similar matters.

From now onwards, no man will be able to extinguish, by power or force, the rights granted to the people, or to infringe their interests, or to cause upheaval in order to bring about change capriciously, or indeed to commit acts of violence and outrage. From now onwards the law will be a safeguard to ensure that no powerful person or upstart shall subdue the weak or the poor. It has, therefore, been arranged to have a printed version of the law and to make it available everywhere, so that anyone may take note of the law and will thus be able to save himself from oppression under the protection of the constitution.

From now on legal safeguards have been established, so that the verdict of the judges shall be impartially dispensed; and from this the people will be able to benefit very greatly. What is permitted to the people henceforth is personal liberty and enjoyment of normal life, though not freedom of lawless conduct—nor to do anything outside the law. This recognition has been embodied in the law, so that man's intelligence be uncovered and be directed properly, that he be able to profit from his work and not be deprived of his inherited land. But if the law were merely written down and remained thus, it would be like a dead person; hence an observer and promoter has been appointed, so that it be applied properly. The product of all this will be a secure peace, improvement of civilization, and advancement in the standard of living.

When I say that peaceful security will ensue, it is because it has been willed that to live by force and arbitrariness is forbidden and that to live by law alone has become an obligation—and also because everything has been firmly based on unity, so that it be protected with care. Furthermore, it is also because ministries for the successful achievement of work have been specially set up, with the appropriate distribution of their respective tasks, and because they have been given the necessary authority and rightful power to bring about the fulfilment of their respective duties without mutual friction.

If the superior power of the law does not succeed in making everybody responsible to it, then injustice is bound to be done to someone, as one man's injury is another's benefit; therefore, it is essential that the law should be above everybody.

When I say that improvement in civilization will ensue, it is because, when a man is allowed to profit from his work, he is bound to compete and strive to put his inherited propery right and make it prosper, to advance his standard of living by accomplishing things through the skill of his handiwork; he will save time by the knowledgeable use of new instruments and efficient methods and will thus be able to obtain considerable profit with little effort and at little expenditure; in all things of this kind he will engage in rivalry and competition.

When I say that economic advance will ensue, it is because man will now be able to become wealthy if he proceeds along all the roads accessible to him, and everybody is bound to strive to enrich himself by hard work and to advance and to improve his standard of living.

Now that I have assessed, separately, the advantages and disadvantages incurred by the Emperor and the people and have referred to the contractual obligations and wishes, authority and rights, by which the two sides are tied to the covenant, it is proper to recall—lest we forget—the duties incumbent upon us.

While the king and people are bound under the covenant to live by the obligations and requirements which the law commands, we are likewise mutually bound by covenant to assist them, each of us according to his entire ability, through true service and a sincere mind, as well as to join together in all things relating to Ethiopia’s unity; I have therefore reminded you of obligations and requirements that cannot be shed by us. Furthermore, since it is necessary for the law to be equal for everyone, it is essential for all natives of Ethiopia, small and great, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, all without distinction, to profit by it according to their fate. Even though a law may be set down in fine words, unless the substance embodied in it is to be truly carried out—as we have just described—or if some individual is able to transgress the law and to act wilfully, then it will remain a mere sham and cannot become the real mode of life suitable for a civilized Christian government and nation.

We have said that Emperor Haile Sellassie I, when defining by law this basis of government which he has established and when graciously granting it to us, has at a stroke raised Ethiopia from the position in which she had been and has managed to place her on the high level which the civilized nations have attained. When our Emperor revealed to us such a lofty thought, intending to hold us up to honour, and if we, on our part, expose him by failing to accept his plans or by refusing, negligently, to extend our help, then this will be testimony against us that we are seeking, by our own doing, a place of dishonour.

As regards this freedom, while some people fail to understand the meaning of the liberty granted to us in terms of lofty thoughts and a fine and genuine intellect, it is our duty to caution our fellow-men close to us lest they be deceived into thinking that it is licence that has been granted to them. Whatever freedom may be permitted, it is necessary for everyone to appreciate that licence is not acceptable.

Lest anything like this should happen, it seems to me superfluous to have to mention that the powers of enforcement of the Imperial government are entirely adequate.

Anything that the law has ordained, only that same law can abolish, through revision and with the Emperor’s permission, but no one else can cancel it. It is needful for us to have patience, for it always takes a lot of time to accomplish a great concept. That means that this entire plan, broadly conceived, cannot be successfully carried out in a day, and we must appreciate that sufficient time is required for its fulfilment. Hence some people, lacking the patience to wait for the right time, claim that the law has been set down in writing but has not been acted upon; lest they should annoy the people and make them lose hope, it is our duty to explain matters to our friends wherever we go. There is no one leaving school who has acquired knowledge in a day. All that has been said cannot, it seems to me, cause any displeasure to the hearts of those who love their government and their king.

A wide-ranging concept of this kind is not to be initiated on slight foundations, and the essence of the scheme is to get to know first of all, by careful research, the principal skills with which the initiative is to be successfully accomplished.

If we set to work without assessing and weighing up the profit and loss which this may entail for the people, i.e. if we proceed on the strength of wanton and frivolous plans, not only shall we fail to reach a high level of civilization but we shall, in fact, be bound to degenerate and retrogress towards ignorance. I do not suspect that you, gentlemen, who are here today will make any mistake about all this. But you cannot fail to assess the level of knowledge of perhaps a majority of the people outside this audience, and it is, therefore, essential that you who are, by the Emperor’s wish, leaders and tutors should cause them to be patient and to wait until they are able to analyse the advantages and disadvantages.

In order to appreciate the real meaning and value of freedom it is necessary, first of all, to study and to develop an enquiring mind. An educated person will himself be aware and take care to restrain himself from acts of licence. But an uneducated person requires as guides men who possess knowledge and uprightness, so that he may save himself from perdition and be useful to himself as well as to others.

Apart from this, it is your duty and privilege to be of service to our country and to our Emperor to the best of your ability, as you are yourselves an example by which the inferior person recognizes the duty of complete obedience to his superior, and the superior appreciates the propriety with which he is to issue orders to his inferior.

If in these circumstances we were all of us lending a hand, the great burden which has fallen upon the Emperor alone would be eased for him by being shared and by being spread to all of us; and thus the task would be quickly accomplished to the great benefit of the people throughout Ethiopia.

While we thus apply ourselves to our task jointly with our Emperor who is endeavouring to rule with truth and justice, without withdrawing the generosity which so benefits the people, thinking only of the true and lofty concept without fear or favour, and without curbing the duty which is so pleasing to God, let it be our foremost desire and effort that our country, Ethiopia, should attain a higher level and that thereby our entire generation be blessed.

Now, gentlemen, I have spoken thus far to the best of my ability, and if it has been to your satisfaction, then I, on my part, shall always be prepared at any future time it may please His Majesty to explain with my entire mind the proper application of the law.’

Following this, the two houses of parliament were made ready, and the first was called Senate, the second Chamber of Deputies.

Four months later, We arranged that the counsellors chosen from each district should come to Addis Ababa, and parliament was opened with great celebrations on 23rd Teqemt 1924 (= 2nd November 1931), the first anniversary of Our coronation as Emperor.

Since these happenings disturbed the mind of the enemy, and not content with being upset in his heart only, he declared: 'The initial stages of the present activities of the Ethiopian Government are very worrying, and it is therefore necessary that we Italians should now think about it very seriously.' A man who was friendly with both sides told us the actual words he had heard being uttered.


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