The advent of a modern constitution in Ethiopia goes back to the 1931 Constitution which was designed to fortify an absolute monarchy. It was revised in 1955. Unlike its predecessor, the Revised Constitution had a section on the “Rights and Duties of the People” devoted to several human rights and democratic freedoms. Another constitution came in 1987 under the military dictatorship. On paper, the 1987 Constitution guaranteed civil and political rights and personal freedoms though, in practice, none of these were protected in any manner. All three constitutions made sure that the issues of group rights, such as the interest of Oromo People in Addis Ababa City, were not raised.
In 1991, the Transitional Charter was issued to establish the Transitional Government (1991-1995). Enacted during the Transitional Period, a proclamation to provide for the Establishment of National/Regional Self-governments, proclamation number 7/1992, Article 3(4) reads:
The special national interests and political right of the Oromo over Region 13 [Harari] and Region 14 [Addis Ababa] are reserved. These regions shall be accountable to the Central Transitional Government and the relations of these Self-governments with the Central Government shall be prescribed in detail by a special law.
Pursuant to the article of this proclamation, the People of Oromo Nation have interest and political right over Addis Ababa and Harari. In legal parlance, the addition of political right was a redundancy unless it was used to avoid doubt for the sake of clarity. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th edition, 1990, interest is a synergy of rights, powers, immunities and privileges. Special interest contains political power and ownership right. During the Transition, a special law to determine the accountability of the regions to the Central Government was not enacted.