1967 – Throne Speech

1967  – Throne Speech

Development is the accumulated result of intensive long-term efforts


“Today, on the occasion of the celebration of the thirty seventh anniversary of Our coronation as Emperor of Ethiopia, We once more stand in this Parliament building to assess the events of the past year and to appraise the future of the Ethiopian nation. Today, We once again give thanks to Almighty God for the protection which He has afforded to the Ethiopian state and for the gifts which He has bestowed upon the Ethiopian people.

“This past year has been a highly auspicious one for Ethiopia. You Parliamentarians have been engaged in the examination of a legislative program which has required the extension of the session far beyond its usual date of adjournment. You are to be congratulated for the dedication which you have brought to your work here and for the results which you have achieved. As you have examined and studied in depth the draft laws placed before the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, each of you has learned anew of the complexity of modern life, of the multiple problems which must be faced and overcome in the business of governing, of the expertise and knowledge which must be developed before legislative proposals can even be formulated or programmes for their implementation outlined. We have often repeated that the process of education is life-long and never-ending; if you have properly and fully discharged your duties and responsibilities during the past year, you have come to a new awareness of the truth of these words.

“During Our reign, We have labored unceasingly to provide the essential foundation for the future growth and development of the nation. The money spent and the energy invested in this process has been enormous, but during these years Ethiopia has undergone a vast and drastic transformation. Today, the nation stands on the verge of an unprecedented surge of activity and expansion in all areas of her national life.


Step By Step

“The standard of living enjoyed in the highly developed nations of the world was not achieved overnight, nor was it won easily nor without immense toil and sacrifice, Economic and social growth is a laborious and slow process. Development is the accumulated result of intensive long-term efforts. it is not enough that a nation desire development and economic maturity, any more than a child, in wishing, becomes a man. Time is required, and experience, and trial and error. The processes and requirements of nature cannot be ignored of evaded. The child must first crawl, then walk, before it can run. So, also, must a nation progress through the successive stages of growth before the stage is reached where rapid and ever-accelerating development is possible.

“The advancement of a nation, in addition, demands certain essential preconditions: political stability; a coherent, rational and efficient structure of government; and peace, both internally, within the nation, and externally with her neighbours.

“Happily, Ethiopia has been blessed with these during the past two and a half decades, and they have been progressively strengthened over years. In 1955, We promulgated Our Revised Constitution to reflect and secure the advances in political maturity achieved since We granted Ethiopia’s first written Constitution twenty-five years earlier. Only eighteen months ago, We announced new and far-reaching political reforms as the culmination of a period of development and maturation of the political awareness and capacity of the Ethiopian people and government, and as the prelude to further growth along these lines. The precious gift of peace has been ours for the past quarter century. For all of this, We give thanks to Almighty God.


People’s Changed Outlook

“The outlook and attitudes of Our people have undergone drastic changes during these years. The nation has come to modernity and maturity. Our people have been educated, not so much by formal, classroom instruction, but as a consequence of an increasingly broad and general exposure to life in the twentieth century and to the world around them. Ethiopia has awakened. Ethiopians now demand more for themselves that their fathers possessed. They have acquired the desire to improve their lot and that of their children. They are willing and anxious to change.

“This is what We have labored throughout Our lifetime to accomplish: to bring Our people to the point of awareness of the demands of modern life, to arouse in them the ambition to progress, to stimulate their latent desire for advancement and improvement.

“This has now been achieved, and with the natural resources with which Almighty God has endowed Our nation, the path to development has been cleared and its vistas lie before us.

“The revolutionary changes which have occurred in Ethiopian attitudes have manifested themselves in numerous ways. Some have become apparent through programmes initiated and fostered by Our Government. Others have sprung spontaneously from the people themselves. Whatever their source, they constitute a new and vital approach to life, and they testify to the revived energy and vigour which characterise the Ethiopian nation today.

“We may cite, as one example, the growth of co-operatives within Ethiopia. The concept of co-operation is not new to the nation; the ikub and the idir, have long formed part of Ethiopia’s traditional and customary system. But these are largely passive and protective in nature, designed to marshal the energies of the community in time of emergency and need. The philosophy of the modern co-operative, while drawing on the spirit of the ikub and idir, is aggressive and dynamic rather than defensive and static. It embodies and demands a collective willingness to participate in new forms of social and economic activity.

“The co-operative movement has flourished in both the developed and the developing nations, but particularly in countries with a large agricultural base. There is no reason why co-operatives should not succeed in Ethiopia, Although the basic legislation was enacted only a little over a year ago, more than a score of co-operatives have already been organised, and more are sure to follow. We look forward eagerly to the contribution which they will make to Ethiopia’s economy.

“The development of the labour movement within Ethiopia offers a second example of the new spirit which today marks the nation. Unionisation requires sound and organised deliberation and action by men who may have neither family, nor religion, nor tribe, nor neighbourhood in common, but who have, notwithstanding, been able to come together, to identify their common interests, and to agree upon effective programs to advance those interests. This is the new attitude which must be encouraged: the communal as opposed to the individual approach, the spirit of working together that all may benefit.

“We do not wish to overemphasise the importance of the labour movement as such to Ethiopia; the total product of the 55,000 union members represents only a small portion of the total production of all of the nation’s workers. Rather, We wish to stress the motivation which underlies and pervades the movement. Further, We must emphasise that with the growth in industrialisation, power is passing into the hands of employers and employees alike, which demands much of them in terms of knowledge, judgment and goodwill. Both employers and employees must respond to the challenge and the opportunity to act for the good not of the few but the many. There is no room for irresponsible action. There is no room for heedless or reckless decisions. There is no room for lawlessness or defiance of constituted authority. Employers and employees are not enemies or antagonists, but partners. The well-being of the one depends very largely upon the well-being of the other. Capital and labor must work together in harmony if the large potential which their joint efforts represent is to be realized.



“The third, and perhaps the most impressive instance of the desire and willingness of Our people to progress and change, is found in the local self-help campaigns which have spread so rapidly across the face of the nation. The drive to local self-help programs has sprung from the people themselves as flourishes because of local initiative, imagination and effort. It is a vivid and encouraging testimony to the vitality of the Ethiopian people. Roads have been built, schools and public buildings have been constructed, public health facilities have been established and many other community activities have been undertaken and fulfilled with funds locally collected and locally administered.

“As a complement to this manifestation of the will and spirit of the Ethiopian people at the lowest communal unit, Our Government embarked, several years ago, on the study and later the gradual implementation of a system of local self-government, designed to bring into ever more effective focus the local energies and resources thus displayed. The local awraja revenue legislation, so essential to the full implementation of this programme, is pending before you, and We urge that the highest priority be accorded to this vital law.



“In the modern world, no nation, and certainly no nation which is classified among the less-developed, can hope to bring to its people the standard of living and material and spiritual prosperity which it seeks for them unless its total resources are enlisted in the struggle. Surely Ethiopia’s most valuable resources are her people and the intelligence, energy, devotion and ambition which they constitute and represent. It is to them that we must look for the attainment of the goals which we seek.

“Even assuming, however, that the will and the desire exist, there remains the immensely difficult and complex task of organising the nation’s energies and resources and directing them in a well-conceived and fully integrated fashion to the achieving of carefully studied and clearly defined ends.

“In Ethiopia, increased emphasis is currently being given to the concept and function of planning. Planning as such in not new to Ethiopia; Our nation passed through the years of the First and Second Five-Year Plans with creditable success. Now, however, even greater efforts are being made to mobilise the strength of the nation and lend fresh direction and impetus to its economic activity.

“The creation of the Ministry of Planning and Development, a little over a year and a half ago, marked the first in a series of new measures in this area. This Ministry has gathered together a group of highly skilled experts who are preparing Ethiopia’s Third Five-Year Plan. This is certainly the most significant attempt thus far made to organize the nation’s economic and financial activities along development lines.

“Let us not, however, be misled. The preparation of an economic plan is only half the task, and perhaps not even that. The real test comes in the implementation, and here even the best of plans can be subverted and destroyed. Once and overall economic plan is adopted, the nation’s budget must be tailored to the implementation of the plan. Individual development projects must be fitted into the priorities established in the plan. Haphazard and ill-coordinated economic activity must be avoided at all costs. Investment must be controlled and directed as the plan dictates. And, most important, all of this must be accomplished in a coordinated and efficient fashion. The responsibility for the success of the plan does not rest upon any single ministry or department; it is a collective responsibility, shared by all development ministries concerned with economic and social development – indeed, by all departments and officials of the government, whatever their concern, as well as this Parliament itself.


Economic Development

“Ethiopia’s achievements during the past year are in themselves proof that Our Government’s past efforts in directing the course of development have borne fruit. Only a few years ago, Ethiopia produced (original translation Ethiopia disposed of but a….) but a handful of university graduates. Today, the enrolment of the Haile Selassie I University alone numbers over one thousand five hundred students. The numbers of trained Ethiopian engineers, lawyers, doctors and other professional men and women are multiplied with each graduation. The nation’s secondary schools have expanded. And for those for whom formal education is not possible, the National Literacy Campaign, a self-help program of the highest order, has  been innovated. Surely this must be a source of gratification for us all.

“Likewise, in public health, further strides have been made. Increased emphasis has been laid on curative but especially on preventive medicine. The vast malaria eradication program is now underway. The number of available hospital beds has multiplied, as has the number of rural health centres and dresser (dressing?) stations.

“In 1959 (Ethiopian Year?) alone, industrial production in Ethiopia increased over 15%. Over sixty million Ethiopian dollars was invested in industrial projects, and several thousand additional workers found employment in the manufacturing industry alone.

“In transportation, new roads have been constructed. Telecommunication facilities have expanded. Post Office services have been increased and improved. Rail, air and marine services have continued to grow, as they have annually for many years past.

“These programmes do not stand in splendid isolation; they are all closely interrelated  and interconnected. As Ethiopia’s road network grows, new areas are opened for the introduction of social services; trade is generated; travel is stimulated; and the people are exposed to the blessings – and the dangers – of modern life. Development is by its very nature dynamic; it generates its own internal momentum, as the chain-reaction of growth is released.

“Special mention must be made of a new awraja development programme which is being undertaken by Our Government with the help of bilateral and multilateral assistance in selected areas of the country. In the pilot areas chosen, a massive, broad-spectrum attack is being made in which the efforts of all development agencies and ministries are being coordinated in a concerted effort to break through and overcome the many obstacles to growth. The assistance of the local population is similarly being organised to achieve the greatest possible progress in the largest number of fields of development in the shortest period of time. If these pilot programmes are successful, as We believe they will be, a viable pattern for development will have been established which can be emulated and applied throughout the entire countryside.

“We must also refer to the land reform programmes which are being drawn up in the newly-established Ministry of Land Reform and Administration. Land reforms, so vital to the nation’s future, also pose problems of great complexity and immense difficulty. A vast amount of preliminary research and study must be undertaken before effective proposals in the area of land administration can be formulated, and this work is now fully underway. We and Our Government are committed to this effort.


To Live In Peace

“Ethiopia’s foreign policy remains constant, as it has for years: to strengthen the nation’s security; to live in peace with her neighbous; to strengthen the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity; to facilitate the peaceful settlement of disputes; to assure freedom for all irrespective of race, creed or colour. These are the standards by which Our nation lives.

“During the past year, we have become increasingly concerned at the threats posed to world peace. The Vietnam conflict not only continues, but military efforts have escalated, with ever higher tolls in human lives and destruction exacted as the price. The Middle East crisis erupted into a violent and bloody conflagration, with the ever-present danger of involvement by the great powers. Ethiopia, as a member of the Security Council, the supreme organ of the United Nations charged with the duty of preserving world peace, has spared no effort in the search for just and permanent solutions to both of these conflicts. The fact that no improvement has been realised in either area is a matter of the gravest concern to Us.

“In Africa, We have been saddened by the fratricidal civil war being waged in Nigeria which has cost so much in both human and material terms. Because of the concern felt by all Africans at this situation, the Summit Conference of the O.A.U., at the recent meeting in Kinshasa, appointed a Special Commission to assist the Nigerian Federal Government in its efforts to maintain the security and integrity of that nation, and the Commission is seized of (by?) the problems confronting it. The Congo has sustained a new but happily repelled threat to its sovereignty, and Ethiopia is proud to have participated in efforts to assure the continued existence of the Congo as an independent state through the provision of military assistance to that nation. The threat posed by the foreign mercenaries who have disturbed the peace of this sister African state must, once and for all, be rooted out and eradicated.

“It is a matter of bitter disappointment to Us, as it must be to all Africans, that in Rhodesia, in South Africa, in Mozambique, Angola and Portuguese Guinea racist regimes continue to oppress our brothers and deny to them the basic human rights to which they are entitled as free men. New ways must be found and new techniques must be devised to bring these governments to their knees, if not to their senses. The alternative is the use of force, and however abhorrent this course may be, Ethiopia stands ready to act if this be required.


Good Neighbour Relations

“On a happier note, during the past year Ethiopia’s relations with the Sudan and Somalia have been considerably improved, following direct discussions held with the leaders of these nations, and We are gratified that the governments of these two sister African neighbors are disposed to live in peace and harmony with us. We hope the basis for a permanent reconciliation between Ethiopia and these states has been laid. As We have so often stated in the past, Ethiopia seeks no territory belonging to the others. Ethiopia has no wish to engage in futile propaganda polemics. Ethiopia desires only to live in tranquility with her neighbors and to co-operate closely with them for the peaceful development of our respective territories and peoples.

“Happily, Ethiopia’s traditionally excellent relations with Kenya, our neighbour to the south, remain unimpaired – indeed, are yearly strengthened. As clear evidence of the spirit of brotherhood and friendship existing between Ethiopia and Kenya, We welcome in the gathering today Kenya’s beloved President and Our close friend, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. President Kenyatta has himself fought and suffered in the cause of his people and the whole African continent, and We are proud to have him with Us here.


African Unity

“The past twelve months have also witnessed a further steady increase in the influence and effectiveness of Africa’s chosen instrument, the Organization of African Unity. The problems with which the Organization is grappling today are no less significant then they were four years ago; the difference lies in the maturity and realism with which they are approached. The measure of the success of the Organization rests not only in its ability to concentrate African opinion and influence upon the crises which have sporadically flared up on this continent, but, equally, in the progress which is painstakingly being made in the working out of the framework for closer and more effective co-operation in the working of Africa’s day-to-day economic and social life.

“During the year ahead, a number of new legislative proposals designed to advance Ethiopia along the path of progress will be laid before you. We urge you to bring to them the same dedication and devotion which has characterised your work during the session just past. Your efforts and labours complement those of Our Government, and the nation expects that you will discharge your duties and responsibilities to the full measure of your abilities.

“May almighty God watch over and guide you in the coming year.”

November 4, 1967