LEOPOLD DONCHIELD ZU LEONE II
How does African constitutional monarchy compare with constitutional monarchy in Europe?
Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues that most countries in Africa are already practising what we know as sub-national monarchy, while just a few with constitutional monarchy system already in place. Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II has a vision for the future for African countries to one day embrace the idea of constitutional monarchy as an institution whose objectives are to play a supporting role to any democratically elected government. With the aim to establish trade, restore dignity and integrity, symbolism and economic development.
This article is aimed at bringing forth the experiences that African countries already have and compare them with the successes of those European countries who have established constitutional monarchies. AFRICA has a rich history when it comes to the monarchy system, and yes there were negatives in the past but surely a lot of positives as well. It is from such experiences that Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues the fact that constitutional monarchy in this modern democracy is the key to any country’s success in every aspect of governance.
African History: On Constitutional Monarchy
According to history, Africa had dynasties throughout the continent whose origins date back from the eleventh or twelfth centuries. Take for instance Ethiopia: Haile Selassie I, born Tafari Mokonnen Woldemikael was Ethiopia’s regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by tradition from King Solomon and Queen Makeda. Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopia and African history.
At the League of Nations in 1936, the Emperor condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against his people during the second Italo-Ethiopian war. His internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring. His suppression of rebellions among the nobles (mekwannint), as well as what some western critics perceived to be Ethiopia’s failure to modernise adequately, earned him criticism among some contemporaries and historians.
Haile Selassie introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution on 16 July 1931, providing for a bicameral legislature. The constitution kept power in the hands of the nobility, but it did establish democratic standards among the nobility, envisaging a transition to democratic rule: it would prevail "until the people are in a position to elect themselves. The constitution limited the succession to the throne to the descendants of Haile Selassie, a point that met with the disapprobation of other dynastic princes, including the princes of Tigrai and even the emperor's loyal cousin, Ras Kassa Haile Darge.
In 1932, the Kingdom of Jimma was formally absorbed into Ethiopia following the death of King Abba Jifar II of Jimma.
Emperor Haile Selassie famous quotes, “A house built on granite and strong foundations, not even the onslaught of pouring rain, gushing torrents and strong winds will be able to pull down. Some people have written the story of my life representing as truth what in fact derives from ignorance, error or envy; but they cannot shake the truth from its place, even if they attempt to make others believe it”.
Extract from Emperor’s speech addressing the United Nations in 1963, “That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained and until the ignoble but unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique, and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and goodwill; until all Africans stand and speak as free human beings, equal in the eyes of the Almighty; until that day, the African continent shall not know peace. We Africans will fight if necessary and we know that we shall win as we are confident in the victory of good over evil”.
English translation of 1963 Speech delivered to the United Nations and popularized in a song called "War" by Bob Marley.
“Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgement in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgement”.
Emperor’s address to the League of Nations, 1936.
It is with such leadership of the past that make individuals like Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argue that Africa can rise up and draw inspiration from the past and change the future by the way of constitutional monarchy. The wars and political intolerance that we currently see in the African continent could be the thing of the past if constitutional monarchy as an institution is in place.
Relevance of African traditional institutions of governance:
In 2007, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) published a very enlightening report named “Relevance of African tradition institutions of governance” on the impact of the native traditional kings and chiefs of Africa. The main facts and observations showed monarchy to be superior and beneficial generally around. The following items were garnered from this report. The thirteen major findings were that native traditional kings and chiefs were a great advantage to the life of the people, not to perfection, but a definite improvement. It showed that invented or imposed chieftaincies were largely unsuccessful, where the traditional ones thrived and prospered.
Some of the real advantages were because these kings and chiefs were like fathers to the people and promoted and enhanced greater general moral and satisfaction, because they treasure the following:
· Traditional democracy principles and practices,
· Strengthened human rights and freedoms,
· Promote greater fairness,
· Unity and community feelings generally,
· Worked to solve important problems on local levels,
· Added strength,
· Security and continuity of leadership,
· Created better reconciliation of ethnic conflicts,
· Operated exceptionally well in dispensing justice,
· Enforcing contracts and maintaining general accountability.
They also made an important contribution as liaison between the government and their people, who ordinarily resisted many things as the people all too often thought of the governments exploitive and oppressive. Hence, cooperation has increased. Greater checks and balances on corruption, lopsided greedy or power hungry special interest groups and the overall short-sightedness of government has come with the integration of these chiefs into the upper chambers of a number of parliaments. The house of Chiefs, patterned after the House of Lords in Great Britain, can be found in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe ensuring better decisions or legislative outcomes on a general basis. (The Almanach de Bruxelles monthly newsletter, no. 132, March – April 2008) The evidence is in that constitutional monarchies are a great help, asset and benefit generally among the nations so privileged to have them.
Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II argues and proposes that Africa and West Africa look into the system of constitutional monarchy as it is the only system that has a proven history of unifying the nation and develop its economy. There is a sense of accountability by the government in the constitutional monarchy system.
Constitutional Monarchy and Executive Powers:
If we look at another example for instance in Asia, specifically Thailand and Japan. A prime minister is head of the executive government which includes a parliamentary cabinet. Generally, the prime minister takes charge of the day-to-day government business, while the monarch is only a ceremonial figure. While Prime Minister Runs government business, constitutional monarchs still usually hold onto a position of head of state, but with little power and bound by the constitution. For example the Queen of England still must approve anyone who holds a major political office, but she does not run the country.
Leopold Donchield Zu Leone II shares these views on constitutional monarchy and argues that if implemented successfully, it would play as a supportive body to the democratically elected government and improve global inter relations.
What are your comments?