Ethiopia: Federalism without judicial independence and constitutionalism?

Disputes among branches and levels of governments are bound to arise in federations. Federal systems require an institution that impartially and peacefully umpires such disputes. Some federations assign this function to regular supreme courts while others allocate this task to constitutional courts. Ethiopia has assigned this function to a political organ, the House of Federation which has largely remained subservient to the ruling party. This resulted in a centralized federation. The house has failed to serve as guardian of the constitution, rarely set limits on political power and largely failed to enforce human rights. How do emerging federations ensure the supremacy of the constitution and address such disputes where power remains less institutionalized? Using the case of Ethiopia, the paper argues the case for establishing an impartial constitutional court that ensures supremacy of the constitution, resolves disputes impartially, enforces human rights and sets limits on power.