Thursday, October 21, 2010


African Governments Not Good at Implementing Charters

It is common for Governments especially African Governments to ratify Charters, but the implementation process can take ages before being incorporated into national laws or never to be domesticated at all.
On 18th and 19th March 2010, the African Union and its allies held a Technical Meeting on the popularisation and ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections
and Governance in Banjul, The Gambia.

It is widely accepted that the Continent is at cross roads with regards to Democracy, Elections and Governance and we want to emphasise that holding meetings alone does not guarantee the implementation process required of any initiative.

A clear indication of the review of the signatories and ratification of this Charter shows that thirty-five (35) Member States have signed, and only three (3) have completed the ratification process and one Member State is in the final stages of depositing an original copy of the instrument of ratification.

This charter was instituted 3 years ago and only 3 of 35 have completed the ratification process and 18 others seemed not to even subscribe to it. “This is a clear manifestation of how committed Member States are to this crucial Charter.”

From the look of things, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which is said to represent the most attractive opportunity to do well in the Governance and Democracy space, is not given the real attention it deserved.

To break the charter, on Democracy, the simplest way of attaining that by any government, semi-democratic or autocratic, is to introduce a government of the people; for the people; and by the people. This will include term limits for African presidents. Opposition leaders and ruling party leaders should also refrain from the menace of ‘self-declared winner’ before the Electoral Commission of a particular country announces the results. Jumping the gun is unethical in the
election process.

On Elections, usually the continent has witnesses many post election violence that have to some extent ruined the wealth, families and livelihoods of the common man in Africa.

We suggest, there is the need to establish Independent Electoral Commissions across the Continent, that which are free from Government interference.

On Governance, the plight of the masses should always be considered first. Freedom of Information Acts, Freedom of Expression and of the Press is pertinent in any governance
situation. It is also crucial for African governments to revisit their
Constitutions and possibly review or repeal some of the provisions that are
more or less a detriment to the lives of the ordinary people.

The laws should also be thoroughly interpreted to the masses probably by institutions set up by governments in their respective countries to raise civic awareness.

“The Object of Governance in Peace and in War is Not the Glory of Rules or of Races, but the Happiness of the Common Man.”

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