CSOs call on AU to facilitate full implementation of African Charter on Democracy

Civil society organisations have called upon the African Union (AU) to fully implement the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

The Charter was adopted on January 30, 2007 during the 8th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU. And it came into effect on February 15, 2012. It is currently ratified by 17 countries.

The ACDEG, also referred to as the democracy charter, is a response to decades of poor governance and particularly mismanagement of electoral process, human rights abuses, inadequate participation of all Africans in their governance and unconstitutional change of governments. It aims to reinforce the commitment of the African states through the AU towards the universal values of democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law, the supremacy of the constitution and constitutional order in the political arrangement of states, a press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com has said.

At a press conference to climax its engagement meetings with some working groups within the AU in Addis Ababa, the 14-member consortium of Civil Society Organisations called on Member States and Heads of Governments of the AU to fully implement the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

The principles of the charter include the promotion of democratic values, and participatory democracy, separation of powers, holding of regular credible and transparent elections, gender equality, and the rejection of acts of corruption, related offences and impunity.

The group says, since the formation of the AU, the body has initiated the development, passing and adoption of a number of frameworks and charters including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), African Charter on Peace and Security (ACPS) as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

“Despite the adoption of the African Chapter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, there is generally low level of awareness and understanding of the Charter on the continent.

Other critical issues such as the delay in the signing, ratification, reporting, domestication, and implementation of the Charter remain a major challenge,” the group said.

The group is therefore calling on the AU to facilitate the signing, ratification, domestication, popularisation and full implementation of the Charter in Member States as well as address the specific issues of reporting, youth migration, inclusive participation of women and the youth in governance, improved domestic resource mobilization such as progressive taxation and combating corruption in order to achieve the aspirations of the development agenda 2063.

The 14–member consortium of Civil Society Organisations is made up of ActionAid Ghana, ActionAid Nigeria, ActionAid Sierra Leone, ActionAid Zambia, ActionAid Zimbabwe, ActionAid Tanzania, ActionAid Uganda, ActionAid Mozambique, ActionAid Denmark, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), East African Civil Society Organizations’ Forum (EACSOF) and SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (SADC – CNGO).

By Bismark Elorm Addo

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