Lack of commitment to signing the ACDEG charter is a concern – CSOs
Participants at the African Union (AU) Pre-Summit Event in Addis Ababa have expressed concern about the delay of some member states in ratifying, domesticating, and reporting on the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
Made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with focus on governance, the group said effective democratic governance is a prerequisite for the realization of the AU’s vision of ensuring a peaceful, prosperous, and integrated Africa.
They are of the view that there is a continued occurrence of abuses of democratic rights of citizens as well as disregard for governance principles on the continent and this is hindering the attainment of the vision of AU.
Mr Buba Khan, Africa Advocacy Advisor of ActionAid International, at the opening of the two-day AU Pre-Summit meeting, said non adherence of the Charter has become an obstacle to effective citizen participation in building strong democracies and increasing levels of persecutions and prosecutions of human rights.
He said corruption in Africa is rife and as observed by the 2016 African Governance Report IV, it is one of the major impediments to structural transformation on the continent.
Mr Khan said the report identified weak governance structure and institutions as one of the main determinants of corruption on the continent and thus threatening prospects for positive outcomes of transformation.
Mr Khan recalled that the 2018 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International showed that African countries were featured among the top ten most corrupt countries in the world with Somalia leading in the ranking.
Mr Sallah Siddig Hammad, Senior Human Rights Expert at the Department of Political Affairs at the AU, giving an update of the status of various countries, said 31 countries, including Ghana has ratified and was implementing the Charter.
To ensure a total ratification and reporting, he said there was the need for the CSOs to popularise the Charter at the national level by using their effective advocacy tools.
“One of the challenges that block the smooth process of the charter was that we observed that the negotiators and other respective who represent their countries fail to share the information with officers at the national level,” Mr Hammad said.
As part of the solutions to popularizing the Charter and encouraging the adherence by member states, he said, his office has begun organising training for national officers and would collaborate with like-minded institutions to educate people.
Mr Hammad said the Permanent Resident Commissioners and the Policy Organ of the AU would soon establish a sub-committee on democracy, governance, and election to support the process.
Mr Rafal Sanchez Carmona, a representative of the EU missions to Africa, also presented similar findings that the ACDEG could help address the issues and pledged to support the process.
The pre-summit, which is under the European Union funded project “Mobilising Civil Society Support for Implementation of the African Governance Architecture” (PANAF), is being implemented by over six organisations.