President Dr. Mulatu Teshome who addressed a joint session of the two chambers of Parliament, the House of Peoples’ Representative (HPR) and the House of Federation (HoF), extended his condolences over the loss of life and injuries occurred following violence in some parts of the country. The two chambers of Parliament also held a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives and suffered injuries in a stampede caused by anti-peace elements during the annual celebration of Irreechaa.
Opening the second year of the fifth parliamentary session, President Mulatu noted the gains made so far as well as the challenges faced by the people over the last fiscal Ethiopian year (2008) underlining the need for the two chambers to pivot their deliberations on ways to maintain the success, tap opportunities and meet the challenges in the next fiscal year (2009). President Mulatu noted that Ethiopia capitalizing on domestic resource mobilization had surmounted the severe impact of El-Niño-induced drought in close collaboration with international development partners.
The President, who spoke on the loss of lives, injuries as well as damage of properties caused by the recent protests and disturbances, stressed the need to look into the root causes driving the youth to involve in those unrests. Noting the fact that the protests had had some legitimate questions, the President underlined the urgency to fully assess the loss of lives and destruction of property. He also noted that questions of bad governance, leadership inefficiency, official misconduct, dislocation of farmers and pastoralists on the outskirts of the cities, economic inclusivity, ethnicity and self-administration, among others, were at the heart of and fueled people’s grievances.
The President pointed out that focus will be given to small and middle-level rural industrial development, creation of conditions for local investors, most importantly youthful investors, on industrial and modern agricultural sectors of development, and establishment of a ‘Mobile Youth Fund.’ The Government is willing to raise the living standards of civil servants.
Concerning the reforms on the field of democratization process of the country, the President said that the Government is ready to reform the country’s electoral law to place proportional representation and a majority system on an equal and balanced footing after detailed negotiations between political parties with a view to make the voices of the people heard in both chambers of the Parliament.
He also said that constitutional solutions will be provided to the questions of ethnicity and self-administration in line with the country’s constitutional and democratic system. He also noted that the House of People’ Representatives will also announce new proclamations to achieve the goals of the second Growth and Transformation Plan. Among these, the House will endorse the special interest of the Regional State of Oromia in the Addis Abeba City Adminstration.
The President reiterated that the House plans to restructure the leadership of the Federal and State Governments in a new and comprehensive manner giving emphasis to the demands and concerns of the peoples. He also revealed that a new council will be set up to devise a mechanism to ensure the leadership of the Federal and State Governments deliver result-oriented and quality service besides guaranteeing government effectiveness and efficiency in implementing the national development and democratization agenda.