By Geletaw Zeleke
Dear Brothers and sisters, today I want you to evaluate the ‘preamble to the Ethiopian Constitution by examining the preambles of ten selected distinct countries. Scholars agree that preambles outlay the purpose of the Constitution and the intention of the entire document including the intention of its full laws and main organizing principle.
Now, take a look at these 10 countries preambles and compare them with that of the Ethiopian constitution preamble and see what we can learn.
Some countries constitution preambles:-
In the name of Almighty God!
The Swiss People and the Cantons,
mindful of their responsibility towards creation,
resolved to renew their alliance so as to strengthen liberty, democracy, independence and peace in a spirit of solidarity and openness towards the world,
determined to live together with mutual consideration and respect for their diversity,
conscious of their common achievements and their responsibility towards future generations,
and in the knowledge that only those who use their freedom remain free, and that the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members; adopt the following Constitution
IN THE NAME OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD
We the People of Ghana,
IN EXERCISE of our natural and inalienable right to establish a framework of government which shall secure for ourselves and posterity the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity;
IN A SPIRIT of friendship and peace with all peoples of the world;
AND IN SOLEMN declaration and affirmation of our commitment to;
Freedom, Justice, Probity and Accountability,
The Principle that all powers of Government spring from the Sovereign Will of the People;
The Principle of Universal Adult Suffrage;
The Rule of Law;
The protection and preservation of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, Unity and Stability for our Nation;
DO HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
We, the people of Kenya—
ACKNOWLEDGING the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation:
HONOURING those who heroically struggled to bring freedom and justice to our land:
PROUD of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and determined to live in peace and unity as one indivisible sovereign nation:
RESPECTFUL of the environment, which is our heritage, and determined to sustain it for the benefit of future generations:
COMMITTED to nurturing and protecting the well-being of the individual, the family, communities and the nation:
RECOGNISING the aspirations of all Kenyans for a government based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law:
EXERCISING our sovereign and inalienable right to determine the form of governance of our country and having participated fully in the making of this Constitution:
ADOPT, ENACT and give this Constitution to ourselves and to our future generations.
GOD BLESS KENYA
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Having firmly and solemnly resolved:
TO LIVE in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nationunder God, dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation and understanding
AND TO PROVIDE for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people
DO HEREBY make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution:-
- South Africa
We, the people of South Africa,
Recognise the injustices of our past;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.
We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to
- Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
- Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
- Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
- Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
May God protect our people.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.
God seën Suid-Afrika. God bless South Africa.
Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika. Hosi katekisa Afrika.
- Papua New Guinea
WE, THE PEOPLE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA—
· united in one nation
· pay homage to the memory of our ancestors—the source of our strength and origin of our combined heritage
· acknowledge the worthy customs and traditional wisdoms of our people—which have come down to us from generation to generation
· pledge ourselves to guard and pass on to those who come after us our noble traditions and the Christian principles that are ours now.
By authority of our inherent right as ancient, free and independent peoples
WE, THE PEOPLE, do now establish this sovereign nation and declare ourselves, under the guiding hand of God, to be the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
We, the representatives of the brazilian People, asembled in the National Constituent Assembly to institute a Democratic State for the purpose of ensuring the exercise of social and individual rights, liberty, security, well being, development, equality and justice as supreme values of a fraternal. pluralist and unprejudiced society, based on social harmony and committed, in the internal and international spheres, to the peaceful solution of disputes, promulgate, under the protection of God, this Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil.
We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.
We, the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia:
Strongly committed, in full and free exercise of our right to self-determination, to building a political community founded on the rule of law and capable of ensuring a lasting peace, guaranteeing a democratic order, and advancing our economic and social development;
Firmly convinced that the fulfillment of this objective requires full respect of individual and people’s fundamental freedoms and rights, to live together on the basis of equality and without any sexual, religious or cultural discrimination;
Further convinced that by continuing to live with our rich and proud cultural legacies in territories we have long inhabited, have, through continuous interaction on various levels and forms of life, built up common interests and have also contributed to the emergence of a common outlook;
Fully cognizant that our common destiny can best be served by rectifying historically unjust relationships and by further promoting our shared interests;
Convinced that to live as one economic community is necessary in order to create sustainable and mutually supportive conditions for ensuring respect for our rights and freedoms and for the collective promotion of our interests;
Determined to consolidate, as a lasting legacy, the peace and the prospect of a democratic order which our struggles and sacrifices have brought about;
Have therefore adopted, on 8 December 1994 this Constitution through representatives we have duly elected for this purpose as an instrument that binds us in a mutual commitment to fulfill the objectives and the principles set forth above.