THRONE SPEECH (1970)
“We thank the Almighty for enabling us all to observe the 40th anniversary of Our Coronation, for blessing the services We have rendered to Ethiopia since We acceded to the throne of Our forefathers through His will and the wishes of Our beloved people and for safeguarding the peace of our nation.
The death after a long illness of His Holiness Abuna Basilios, who was with Us in times of triumph and trial, has grieved our people deeply. A great man, blessed with divine grace and spiritual power, His Holiness has constantly prayed for the well-being of his flock in particular and for world peace and security in general. The loss of our religious leader this year is indeed great; however, we shall always cherish his memory through the lofty and memorable deeds our spiritual father has left behind him.
Ever since We assumed the heavy mantle of leadership, the basic structure of our government, including the constitution and the development programmes that We drew up for the nation, have opened the road to progress for our people and are presently leading them satisfactorily along the charted path.
Our people have, with the time and the means at their disposal, never desisted from participating in various development projects that are bound to enhance their progress without disturbing the spirit of their long-standing freedom and unity which they have maintained with great vigilance. We have been encouraged by the diligence of our youth in the pursuit of, and their brilliance in mastering higher education. Last year our government achieved major projects in the economic, social and political fields. Many development plans are proposed for this year.
To bring about a rational change in the lives of our people, various projects are being launched and accomplished which may perhaps not be readily obvious to a casual observer. However, in accordance with the Third Five-Year development Plan the Imperial Ethiopian Government, in conjunction with various private institutions and agencies, has continued to expand its work to improve the living conditions of Our people in fields like education, agriculture, industry, mining, highways, air and marine communications, electric light and power and water resources.
In efforts being made by Ethiopia to develop her natural resources, it is evident that the making of thorough preliminary studies of the tasks to be later undertaken is indispensable. For this reason vast sums of money were spent last year in carrying out studies on the development of the country’s mineral and hydrological resources. In accordance with plans drawn up to utilize the formerly wasted waters of the outflowing rivers of the country by conducting studies on them with the help of friendly nations with a view to harnessing their power, the potentialities of the Wabi Shebelle, like those of the Awash and the Abbay in the past, are now under investigation. Similarly, the potentialities of the Tekezie river in the field of hydro-electricity and irrigation farming are being studied in accordance with plans drawn up to utilise the resources of other rivers and lakes.
When the project materialises following the completion of these preliminary studies on this river, the hydro-electric needs of the people of the northern provinces will be fully met. Surveys to utilise the resources of the Omo River are also being conducted. Likewise, the necessary survey stations have been established with the view to carrying out studies on ways and means of utilising the resources of the lakes of the Rift Valley for the development of the country. Water drilling operations have been intensified in arid areas like the Ogaden, Borena, Issa, Yerer-Kereyu and Haikotch and Butajira to alleviate the water problems of the people by making sufficient appropriations for these and other rural water resources development schemes.
The Legadadi dam which we will inaugurate tomorrow, constructed at a total cost of about Ethiopian $35 million, will go a long way to alleviate the water shortage of our capital city. The Mai Nefhi Dam costing Ethiopian $10 million will be completed within the next few months to meet the water needs of the city of Asmara.
To provide towns in our Empire with sufficient electricity and to improve the existing facilities in order to provide enough light and power to meet the existing needs and to provide for future industrial establishments, considerable investment was made last year. Among the projects nearing completion is the Fincha Hydroelectric Power Plant. Provincial centres like Gondar and Jimma have been also provided with self-contained electric stations to meet the needs of their inhabitants. Other rural centers, now not enjoying the benefits of electric light, will this year begin to be provided with electricity following the completion of studies for the establishment of additional power stations.
Especially today it is more than self-evident to what extent the speedy betterment of the living conditions of man and the augmentation of the wealth and economic power of a society are based on the utilisation of mineral resources. The search for minerals is being conducted by the Ministry of Mines in Eritrea, Beghiemdir and Tigre, in Wollega, Sidamo, Illubabor, Kaffa and Gamu Gofa with additional funds secured from friendly governments and the United Nations Development Fund, since it was realised that our government had to make the necessary preliminary studies to determine the kind and extent of our mineral wealth. From the exploration so far made there were some promising signs of subterranean wealth in some parts of the country and the government has entered into agreement with a number of big foreign firms to prospect for these minerals in Hararghie and Bale and along the sea-coast and the sea-bed in Eritrea. Already work on these projects is proceeding in a satisfactory manner.
As it may be recalled, legislation on prospecting for minerals which will safeguard the rights of foreign investors, those present and those who come to participate in the development of the country, was discussed and passed by Parliament. When the Bill becomes law and the regulations governing its execution are promulgated, We are of the belief that it will assist greatly in the development of Ethiopia’s mineral resources.
We had brought to your attention last year that a draft legislation to improve the system of land administration was to be presented to you. As this important legislation affects the lives of the majority of our people and should therefore be prepared with the utmost care, it had not been possible to present the draft legislation for your deliberation last year since additional time for careful study was required. We had reminded you in the past that in certain ways the philosophy of Ethiopia’s land administration differs from that current abroad. In principle it is known that there is enough arable land in Ethiopia for our people. From studies so far carried out it has been discovered that only a small part of this land has been developed.
The full utilisation of land already developed on modern lines, the regulation of landlord-tenant relations and the definition of the rights of land ownership have been given priority in the third five-year development plan, and to this effect a draft legislation which embodies some beneficial elements from our traditional land tenure is being prepared. This draft legislation will be prepared in such a way as to harmonise the family-like relations between landlords and tenants by safeguarding the common and individual rights of everyone and by removing the causes of friction over land. We believe that for a country like Ethiopia, heavily dependent on agriculture for its livelihood, the proclamation of this law and the measures proposed are bound to stimulate the people to work together harmoniously and thereby speed up the country’s pace of development.”
When God created the earth for man it was for its use and not for its misuse. This is why Parliament should realise the importance of the revised draft legislation on land administration. We urge you to deliberate on it with utmost care and speed, since the primary aim of this law is to improve the living conditions of Our people.
As We mentioned earlier, the improvements We are making from time to time with regard to the system of land administration are designed in such a way as to enable Our people to work peacefully together and make good use of the land blessed and given to them by God.
“It has been so often said that agriculture, including animal husbandry, is the backbone of the country’s economy. Educational programmes and projects directed towards the modernisation and mechanisation of Ethiopian agriculture have been organised and in effect for a long time. We understand very well that agriculture yields satisfactory results when tackled through modern science and technology and not when done in traditional fashion.
Insufficient annual harvests could lead to hunger. For instance, the problems encountered almost everywhere last year due to the shortage of grain have been a matter of grave concern to every home. We advise Our people to explore ways and means of expanding agricultural production through individual or co-operative enterprise by utilising existing educational facilities and by securing credits from banks established to encourage the development of farming. It is Our hope that every citizen in the Empire who doesn’t own land will acquire his own land and since assistance is necessary to help the people establish themselves, We are confident that this assistance will be made available so that none of the land will lie fallow.”
It is a matter well known to you that much effort has been so far put into the expansion of education – the proven instrument for the social and economic well-being of Our people. The time has passed when we had to cajole parents to send their children to school. the fact that the people are now seen working side by side with the government for the expansion of education by contributing what they can, provides ample evidence that the attitude of parents has undergone a change for the better. Those who have been educated in the various fields at home an abroad are contributing greatly in all the endeavours to reach Our cherished goals. When you members of Parliament were discussing the 1963 government budget, you were in particular deliberating on ways and means of finding new sources of revenue for the development of education. The fact that you had promptly passed the bill presented to you for levying additional education taxes to alleviate the problem shows how much you were preoccupied with this national issue.
It is the wish and the desire of all that education should expand fast and reach the length and breadth of the country, and for this to be achieved, it is indispensable that financial resources be readily available. The demand for education is doubling every year. On the other hand, the capacity to extend educational opportunities is always determined by available funds. Thus, to accelerate the tempo at which education is expanding, the people must continue in the path of strengthening the spirit of cooperation with the government.
Technical education should not be looked down upon as not befitting one’s dignity when it prepares one for such jobs as farming, carpentry and masonry. If education is to promote the progress of the nation, it must be coupled with the desire to do useful and creative work which is not only confined to clerical or administrative jobs. An educated person can benefit his society when he shows beneficial results without discriminating between jobs.
Since it is the fundamental responsibility of our government to safeguard the health of our people, a lot more was achieved last year in promoting the physical well-being of the nation. Some hospitals and many clinics have been opened at considerable expense and are now operating normally. In accordance with provisions made to establish a self-sufficient health service in every Governorate-general depending on the availability of funds and skilled medical personnel as well as giving priority to the eradication of malaria, 16 health centres were established in rural areas at the beginning of last year. Likewise, 46 new health stations are expected to be built this year and to become operational in 1964.
As a result of the thorough studies made of the areas affected by malaria and identification of the season when the scourge becomes prevalent, and in accordance with the malaria eradication programme to rid Ethiopia completely of the disease, it has been possible to protect over nine million people last year against infection or recurrence of the disease.
In like manner, preventive measures have been taken to control epidemic diseases like cholera which erupt and affect the lives of people.
The country, blessed and bequeathed to the Ethiopian people, is extensive and richly endowed. In area the country is ample. There is scope for Ethiopians to become both employers and the employed, since development projects are distributed widely over the country. As there are places like Setit-Humera where extensive agricultural projects are proceeding and where employment opportunities are available for tens of thousands of people, to congregate and remain idle in big cities is to harm both oneself and one’s country.
Helping the disabled and the physically handicapped is part of our traditional moral duty. Even today our people are performing their charitable acts by sharing part of what they have with the disabled. An institution is now to be established by the Ministry of National Community Development and Social Welfare to coordinate and administer charitable funds obtained both nationally and from foreign sources with a view to helping the disabled.
Work For Everybody
There are immense opportunities for work in Ethiopia for everybody. It is now some time since new investment legislation was proclaimed with a view to encouraging the inflow of foreign capital. However, the capital inflow abroad has not been up to Our expectation. One of the facets of Ethiopian policy in its relations with friendly foreign governments is to widen the avenue of mutual economic co-operation. we thus renew our invitation to all friendly industrialised nations to participate in our development programme through their public and private capital. The constitutional framework of the Ethiopian Government receives its stability from its pattern of history and tradition. In order to predict the future of Ethiopian events one should familiarise oneself with the history and culture of the people and nation.
Members of the armed forces and the police are each, in their particular fields, discharging their duties satisfactorily in the maintenance of law and order throughout the country so that the economic development of Ethiopia continues in the right direction. Members of the armed forces have shown exemplary results since they began participating in civilian activities directed towards the progress and development of the country.”
Noted O.A.U. Summit
One of the main events in the political field is the recent meeting here in Our capital of the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity. The Summit conference discussed various matters of common interest and passed the necessary resolutions. One of the reasons why the recent meeting was called a conference of reconciliation was that the difference between Nigeria and some independent African states was resolved in a spirit of brotherly understanding, the continent’s bond of unity and solidarity was preserved, and this was proclaimed to the whole world.
Africans have realized more than ever before that it is through the Organization of African Unity that they can attain their unity and solidarity which is the central pillar of the continent’s well-being and freedom.
The spirit of friendship and understanding among independent African countries has been steadily growing stronger from year to year. In particular the border agreement signed recently between Ethiopia and the neighbouring friendly country of Kenya has not only reinforced the long-standing fraternal relations between the two nations but has also set a good example to others.
When President Kenneth Kaunda and Lady Kaunda paid a state visit to our capital upon the invitation extended to them by Us we discussed in detail relations between the two countries in particular and international peace and security in general.
In addition to strengthening its ties of friendship with other African countries as usual, Ethiopia has been also expanding relations with the countries of America, Europe and Asia. Upon invitations extended to them by Us, H.E. President Cevedet Sunay of Turkey, H.E. President Jossip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, His Majesty King Frederick and Her Majesty Queen Ingrid of Denmark, have paid state visits to Ethiopia. We have also held talks with His Beatitude Patriarch Nicolaos of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa, H.E. President Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic, His Highness Crown Prince Carl Gustav of Sweden, H.E. Prime Minister Burnham of Guyana, H.E. Secretary of State William Rogers of the U.S., and H.E. Foreign Minister Aldo Moro of Italy in the course of their visits to the capital.
During the visits of these world leaders and high-ranking officials We were able to exchange views on bilateral relations and ways and means of promoting world peace, progress and prosperity.
We have held important and useful talks with Mr. McNamara, President of the World Bank, on ways of further expanding the participation of the World Bank in the country’s development programmes. Mr. McNamara, who visited Ethiopia for some four days on a special invitation extended to him by Us, had toured the sites of the various development projects undertaken with loans secured from the World Bank prior to this exchange of views.
We have also paid state visits to Japan, the Soviet Union, France and the United Arab Republic upon invitations extended to Us by these friendly governments. During our visit to Moscow, We discussed with President Podgorny and other high-ranking Soviet officials matters pertaining to political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries as well as exchanging views on the world political scene. A high-level economic delegation was recently sent to the Soviet Union to finalise matters on which agreement was reached during Our visit. We are hopeful that the talks We held with President Pompidou of France on relations between our two countries in particular and world peace in general will have fruitful results.
Ethiopia has been able successfully to acquaint visitors with its ancient cultural history and various aspects of its modern development by participating in Expo ’70 held in Osaka, Japan. By personally attending the Expo ’70 “Ethiopia Day” ceremonies and thereby exchanging views with prominent Japanese businessmen and industrialists, We have been able to talk to them about the particular fields in which they can usefully participate in the development of our country.
The Lusaka Conference
By attending the conference of non-aligned countries in Lusaka recently, We had an extensive exchange of views with other leaders on effective ways of strengthening world peace. In particular the proposals We had presented with regard to the freedom of our brothers languishing under the yoke of racialism in South Africa and South West Africa have been accepted by the conference.
The continued denial of fundamental freedom to, and the oppressive racial domination of, the peoples of South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea by the racialist regimes in Southern Africa poses a threat to world peace. To illustrate the oppression under which these people live, it is enough to cite the cause of the wives of Nelson Mandela and other African freedom fighters over whose trial the tyrannical South African Government has not only made a mockery of its own laws but has also trampled under foot the principles of international law.
By attending the 10th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence celebrations in Lagos which saw the end of the civil war in that country and the restoration of the people’s unity, we have been able to reaffirm to General Gowon that Nigeria’s peace and unity can always count on the support of Ethiopia.
After Our visit to Lagos We proceeded to Cairo to attend the funeral of Our close friend the late President Nasser and to share in the nation’s grief. Africans in general and Arabs in particular have lost a great leader through the untimely death of President Nasser.
By going to the headquarters of the United Nations and attending the Silver Jubilee celebrations, We seized the opportunity to reaffirm Ethiopia’s full support for the world organization – the last hope for the security and welfare of mankind. Going there also gave us a chance to reiterate the principles which We advocated at the discarded League of Nations when the fascist forces in unprovoked aggression invaded Ethiopia. Had these principles been accepted, the world would have been saved from the Second World War and the United Nations can avoid meeting the same fate as its predecessor by observing these principles in order to maintain international peace, security and the well-being of mankind. We also seized the opportunity to hold high-level and fruitful talks with President Richard Nixon on bilateral and African questions and, in general, on world issues.
When we view the general international situation, we realize that the number of innocent lives lost as a result of political conflicts prevailing in the world as well as hunger and disease have not decreased. If men were working sincerely and in concert for the promotion of world peace and progress, this problem would have been solved. We had often expressed the belief that since the Great Powers possess both the wealth and the might they have a special responsibility to eliminate the political ills affecting mankind. Have the Great Powers exerted enough efforts to assume this heavy responsibility? Have they done enough in pooling their resources for the benefit of the whole of mankind? What has been done for those who have been shorn of their fundamental human rights and are being subjected to inhuman and oppressive laws? History is waiting for answers to these questions.
In this age of transition, characterized by rising expectations, the burden of leadership is heavier, all the more because leaders are a link between the past and the future.
It is well known that from the time that We assumed the responsibility of guiding the destiny of Our country by accession to the Throne of Our forefathers, We based the government on its three main branches – the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. Since the functions of each branch of the government are defined in the constitution, the separation of their powers must be strictly observed.
Today the tasks to be undertaken in various fields of national endeavour are not only becoming more complex but more pressing in character each day. It is for this reason that each one should fulfill his duties and shoulder his responsibilities with industry and enthusiasm so that the tasks undertaken will be satisfactorily executed. Working and thinking for the common good are dictated by the times in which we live and are indispensable for the progress and development of a country.
Parliamentary deliberation demands attentive listening, mutual comprehension, profound and far-sighted vision, understanding and the ability to convince in an orderly manner. Mature views based on inquiry and supported by good morals and self-discipline, apart from producing the desired results, will protect one from making errors or being judged wrongly by others.
Inquiry is a magical power that opens the door to hidden rewards and must be pursued calmly, diligently and intelligently to achieve this goal.
May the Almighty bless the services you render your country following this spirit and aim.
Nov. 2, 1970.