House Speaker admits Ethiopia’s parliament used as ‘rubber-stamp’

The Deputy Speaker of Ethiopia’s House of Peoples Representatives said the parliament was working under the influences of the ruling party and the executive.

The MPs were mostly loyal to the party discipline than to the people and to their own self-conscious, according to  Shitaye Minale, the deputy House Speaker. “Previously there was pressure on us from the ruling party and the executive,” she told the state broadcaster- ETV.

“Now the House is conducting its responsibility freely. Our center of focus is the people and the country. The people and the country are above anything. These are above a political party. Therefore the priority we all are now giving and in fact engaged in reform to make sure that whatever we decide has to benefit the people and advance the country.”

For the past two decades Oppositions and international human rights groups have been labeling the House of Peoples’ representatives of Ethiopia as ‘a rubber-stamp parliament’, which only approves everything brought to it by the ruling party.

The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has been on power for over two decades including the recent May 2015 national election, which it claimed to win 100% seats of the parliament with its affiliates.

As a result it was almost impossible to hear a different opinion from an MP other than approving whatever proposed by the ruling coalition for approval. Meanwhile after the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power last March, for the first time MPs have begun opposing draft resolutions proposed by their own party.