Ras Tafari Centennial Fact!
85 years ago H.I.M. Haile Sellassie 1st presented the first modern constitution of Africa, to Ethiopia. Intended to officially replace the Fetha Nagast, which had been the supreme law since the middle Ages, the 1931 Constitution of Ethiopia was promulgated in an impressive ceremony held on July 16, 1931. Emperor Haile Selassie 1st had long desired to proclaim one for his country.
Throughout the period of his regency, from 1916 to 1920, Haile Sellassie 1st then known as Ras Tafari had cherished plans of allocating to the people of Ethiopia a larger share in the task of governing the Empire. He had constantly and consistently projected programs designed to bring the Empire abreast with the methods of government characterizing the more modern and progressive nations of the day. The earnestness and sincerity of the Regent’s methods and motives in this regard are evidenced by the fact that upon his accession to the Imperial Throne, he promptly undertook, of his own free will and accord, the task of perfecting a Constitution which, within one year after His coronation (July 16, 1931), He voluntarily put into effect throughout the Empire.
As will be observed from a study of the text of the Constitution, it was the Emperor’s aim that the Constitution would become in time the chief instrumentality through which all sovereign and governmental authority would be exercised.
In the preface to his translation of this constitution into English, William Stern writes, "It is worthy of note that this was the first instance in history where an absolute ruler had sought voluntarily to share sovereign power with the subjects of his realm."
Whereas some often refutes the fact that girmawi qedamawi 'atse hayille sillasie, mō'a 'anbassā za'imnaggada yīhūda nigūsa nagast za'ītyōṗṗyā, siyūma 'igzī'a'bihēr (Haile Sellassie 1st) is divine perhaps the argument should be taken up via a vis Article #5. His name means "power of the Trinity."
By virtue of His Imperial Lineage as well as by the anointment he received, the person of the Emperor is sacred, His dignity inviolate and His power incontestable. He therefore enjoys by right all honors due him by tradition and in conformity with the present Constitution. The Law provides that whoever shall dare to harm the Majesty of the Emperor shall be punished.
In this centennial year of H.I.M. reign, DARC says, "All power and glory to the one an only Negus Negast".