|Haile Selassie the First - July 16, 1931
The name of Emperor Haile Selassie I will always be dominant in Ethiopian history.
This is particularly so in connection with the legal and constitutional changes which
he has instituted in the millennial history of the country. In this record July 16, 1931
is particularly significant. On that memorable day, of his own volition and against
strong conservative opposition, He granted to the Ethiopian people the first written
In the succeeding years, His Majesty the Emperor built on the basis of the 1931
Constitution a system of law and a legal and judicial system that has transformed
modern Ethiopia. On the Silver Jubilee of his Coronation which consolidated the
gains over the previous twenty-four years and gave the people greater participation
in their government through making the Lower House of Parliament a popularly
elected body. Subsequently, His Imperial Majesty had the laws of the country
codified, thus strengthening further the legal and judicial systems of Ethiopia.
We, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, having been called to the Empire by the
Grace of God and by the unanimous voice of the people; and having the Crown and
the Throne legitimately by anointment according to the law, are convinced that there
is no better way of manifesting the gratitude which We owe to Our Creator, who has
chosen Us and granted Us his confidence, than to render Ourselves worthy of it by
making every effort so that he who comes after Us may be invested with this
confidence and may work in conformity with the laws according to the principles
Having in view the prosperity of the country, We have decided to draw up a
Constitution which safeguards such prosperity based on the Law and We have hope
that this Constitution will be a source of well-being for Ethiopia, that it will contribute
to the maintenance of Our Government and to the happiness and prosperity of Our
well beloved people, and that it will give satisfaction to all. Having expressed and
made clear Our will, We have accordingly decided to grant this Constitution.
The Constitution which is to serve as the basis, in the future, for the maintenance of
the Ethiopian Government and of the laws which are based on it, and the means of
applying such laws once resolved, will itself set forth the necessity of the measures
suitable for ensuring its maintenance in order that this Constitution of Our State
may remain perpetual and immutable.
|Since Our accession to the Imperial Throne of Ethiopia, having received from the
hands of God a high mission for the accomplishment of His destinies, We consider
that it is our duty to decree and enforce all the measures necessary for the
maintenance of Our Government, for increasing the well-being of Our people and
aiding their progress on the road to happiness and the civilization attained by
independent and cultured nations.
We consider that the way to achieve this aim lies in the elaboration of the present
Constitution, which will facilitate Government action, whilst assuring the happiness
of the people who will, in addition, derive from it an honour which will not fail to be
reflected on future generations and will permit the Empire to enjoy the inestimable
benefits of peace and security.
Animated by the noble desire, and in order to enable Our State and Our people to
obtain a high place in history, We have, after Our elevation to the Imperial Throne,
and in the second year of Our reign in the Year of Grace 1923 (A.D. 1931) unasked
and of Our free will, decreed the present State Constitution.