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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1609-073X

Afr. hum. rights law j. vol.12 n.2 Pretoria  2012

 

ARTICLES

 

African civil society and the promotion of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance

 

 

André Mbata Mangu

Research Professor and Head of the Verloren van Themaat Centre for Public Law Studies, College of Law, University of South Africa

 

 


SUMMARY

When the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance was adopted on 30 January 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, most African countries were governed by leaders who came to power or were clinging to power by coups d'état, constitutional manipulations, human rights violations or vote rigging. Africa continues to be subject to authoritarian and corrupt governance, which impact negatively on its development and on the living conditions of its people. Under these conditions, the adoption of the African Democracy Charter by those very same African leaders who were rightly or wrongly blamed for their authoritarian and corrupt governance was a miracle. The Charter came into force on 15 February 2012. In light of this, the article reflects on the African Democracy Charter, its significance, its shortcomings as well as the prospects for its implementation and the particular role that civil society organisations can and should play in promoting its values.


 

 

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* Licence en Droit (LLB) (Kinshasa), LLM LLD (UNISA); manguamb@unisa.ac.za. The article is based on the keynote address that the author delivered during the regional workshop jointly organised in Pretoria from 17 to 18 May 2012 by the University of South Africa and the National Development Institute (NDI) on Civil Society and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. I wish to thank NDI and the anonymous reviewers whose comments helped me improve the article.
1 B Pityana 'Hurdles and pitfalls in international human rights law: The ratification process of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the Africa Court on Human and Peoples' Rights' (2003) 28 South African Yearbook of International Law 112.         [ Links ]
2 Art 48 African Democracy Charter.
3 Preamble African Democracy Charter.
4 Art 19 African Charter.
5 Art 20 African Charter.
6 Art 21 African Charter.
7 Art 22 African Charter.
8 Art 23 African Charter.
9 Art 24 African Charter.
10 Arts 30-63 African Charter.
11 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights adopted on 10 June 1998 and entered into force on 25 January 2004.
12 Arts 28 & 30 African Court Protocol (n 11 above),
13 This Declaration was adopted at the first meeting of the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee of NEPAD in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2001. See http://www.chr.up.ac.za (accessed 20 September 2012); C Heyns & M Killander (eds) Compendium of key human rights documents of the African Union (2006) 290-293.
14 Declaration adopted by the AU Assembly in Durban, South Africa, in July 2002. See Heyns & Killander (n 13 above) 293-298.
15 Document adopted at the 6th Summit of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee in March 2003 in Abuja, Nigeria. See Heyns & Killander (n 13 above) 298-301.
16 See http://www.africa-union.org (accessed 20 September 2012); art 2 African Democracy Charter.
17 See JE Nyang'oro 'Discourses on democracy in Africa: Introduction' in JE Nyang'oro (ed) Discourses in democracy: Africa in comparative perspective (1996) X;         [ Links ] RL Sklar 'Developmental democracy' (1987) 4 Comparative Studies in Society and History 166;         [ Links ] IG Shivji 'State and constitutionalism: A new democratic perspective' in IG Shivji (ed) State and constitutionalism: African debate of democracy (1991) 27-69;         [ Links ] AMB Mangu The road to constitutionalism and democracy in post-colonial Africa: The case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (2002) 172-201.
18 D Ronen 'The state and democracy in Africa' in D Ronen (ed) Democracy and pluralism in Africa (1986) 200.         [ Links ]
19 See RA Dahl Polyarchy: Participation and opposition (1971); RA Dahl Democracy and its critics (1989) 220-224; G Sorensen 'Democracy and the developmental state' in Nyang'oro (n 17 above) 42; JA Wiseman The new struggle for democracy in Africa (1996) 8.
20 Dahl (1989) (n 19 above) 220-224; Wiseman (n 19 above) 9.
21 As above.
22 Sorensen (n 19 above) 42.
23 See M Bratton & DN Posner 'A first look at second elections in Africa with illustrations from Zambia' in R Joseph (ed) State, conflict, and democracy in Africa (1999) 378;         [ Links ] JW Harbeson 'Rethinking democratic transitions: Lessons from Eastern and Southern Africa' in Joseph (above) 39.
24 G Conac Etat de droit et démocratie (1993) 492.
25 See G Bauer 'Challenges to democratic consolidation in Namibia' in Joseph (n 23 above) 439-441; Bratton & Posner (n 23 above) 379; G Conac 'Introduction' in G Conac LAfrique en transition vers le pluralisme politique (1993) 5; Conac (n 24 above) 492; J Pelletier LAfrique en mouvement (1993) 477; G Nzongola-Ntalaja 'The state and democracy in Africa' in G Nzongola-Ntalaja & M Lee (eds) The state and democracy in Africa (1997) 15.         [ Links ]
26 See Bratton & Posner (n 23 above) 379; Mangu (n 17 above) 199.
27 Art 4-16 African Democracy Charter.
28 Art 3(1) African Democracy Charter.
29 Art 3(2) African Democracy Charter.
30 Art 3(5) African Democracy Charter.
31 Art 3(6) African Democracy Charter.
32 Arts 3(7) & 4(2) African Democracy Charter.
33 Art 3(11) African Democracy Charter.
34 Arts 4-10 African Democracy Charter.
35 Art 10 African Democracy Charter.
36 Arts 8-9 African Democracy Charter.
37 Arts 11-13 African Democracy Charter.
38 Art 12(4) African Democracy Charter.
39 Arts 14-16 African Democracy Charter.
40 Art 14 African Democracy Charter.
41 Arts 17-22 African Democracy Charter.
42 Preamble, paras 8 & 11; arts 2(3), 3(4), 17, 23(4) & 32(7) African Democracy Charter.
43 Arts 18-22 African Democracy Charter.
44 Art 21(3) African Democracy Charter.
45 See Mangu (n 17 above) 180-184; D Glaser 'Discourses of democracy in the South African left: A critical commentary' in Nyang'oro (n 17 above) 251.
46 See C Ake Democracy and development in Africa (1996) 137 139; IG Shivji 'Contradictory class perspectives in the debate on democracy' in Shivji (n 17 above) 254-255; IG Shivji Fight my beloved continent: New democracy in Africa (1992) 2.
47 ch II, 17.
48 Ake (n 46 above) 132-134.
49 See AJ Gregor Italian fascism and developmental dictatorship (1974) 4; D Nicol 'African pluralism and democracy' in Ronen (n 18 above) 165; Sklar (n 17 above) 1-30.
50 See Gregor (n 49 above) 3; AJ Gregor Democracy, dictatorship, and development: Economic development in selected regimes of the Third World (1976); Sandbrook (n 17 above) 140; Sklar (n 17 above) 2; Sorensen (n 19 above) 31-60.
51 See Nicol (n 49 above) 165; Sklar (n 17 above) 1-30.
52 World Bank Sub-Saharan Africa: From crisis to sustainable growth (1987).
53 G Hyden 'Governance and the reconstruction of political order' in Joseph (n 23 above) 184.
54 See E Boeninger Governance and development: Issues of governance (1992) 24-38; Hyden (n 53 above) 184; Mangu (n 17 above) 48.
55 Preamble AU Constitutive Act.
56 Art 3(g) AU Constitutive Act.
57 Art 4(m) AU Constitutive Act.
58 Arts 27-32, 34, 35, 36 & 38 African Democracy Charter.
59 Arts 27, 33, 40, 42, 43(1) & 43(2) African Democracy Charter.
60 Preamble, paras 6 & 10; arts 2(6) & (13), 12(1), 32 & 33 African Democracy Charter.
61 Arts 36 & 44 African Democracy Charter.
62 Arts 2(9) & 33(3) African Democracy Charter.
63 Preamble, para 10 African Democracy Charter.
64 Arts 2(10) & 3(8) African Democracy Charter.
65 Art 32(3) African Democracy Charter.
66 Art 46 African Democracy Charter.
67 Arts 23-26 African Democracy Charter.
68 Arts 25(1)-(5) African Democracy Charter.
69 Art 25(3) African Democracy Charter.
70 Art 14 African Democracy Charter.
71 Art 25(5) African Democracy Charter.
72 See Decisions Assembly/AU/Dec.45 (III) and Assembly/AU/Dec.83 (V) of the Assembly of the AU, adopted respectively at its 3rd (6-8 July 2004, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and 5th (4-5 July 2005, Sirte, Libya) ordinary sessions, to merge the African Court of Justice and Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the AU into a single court; Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights of 1 July 2008 (Merged Court Protocol); Draft Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (Amending Merged Court Protocol) of May 2012.
73 Art 25(6) African Democracy Charter.
74 Arts 23(4)-(5) African Democracy Charter.
75 See Ake (n 46 above) 40; R Gerster 'How to ruin a country: The case of Togo' (1989) 71 IFDA Dossier 25; J F Bayart The state in Africa: The politics of the belly (1993); JF Bayart et al La criminalisation de l'Etat en Afrique (1997); D Darbon 'L'Etat prédateur' (1990) 39 Politique africaine 37-45; R Fatton Predatory rule: State and civil society in Africa (1992); A Mbembe 'Pouvoir, violence et accumulation' (1990) 39 Politique africaine 7-24; JF Médard 'L'Etat patrimonialisé' (1990) 39 Politique africaine 25-36; DM Shafer 'The perverse paradox of peace and the predatory state' paper read at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC, 25 September 1995; R William Corruption and state in Sierra Leone (1995).
76 Art 21(3) African Democracy Charter.
77 See Mission Nationale d'Observation Rapport a mi-parcours de l'observation des élections du 28 novembre 2011 (2012) ; Mission Nationale d'Observation Observation de la Compilation des Elections Législatives du 28 Novembre 2011 (2012).
78 (OAU/AU) Durban Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa as adopted by the Assembly of the African Union in July 2002 (AHG/Decl.1 (XXXVIII).
79 SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections of 17 August 2004.
80 ECCAS Declaration on Electoral Support to Member States of 7 June 2005.
81 ICGLR Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of 1 December 2006.
82 AU, SADC, ECCAS, ICGLR and COMESA Joint Declaration on the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in the DRC, 30 November 2012.
83 AU Electoral Observer Mission to the 31 August 2012 General Elections in the Republic of Angola, Statement of 2 September 2012.
84 Joint Declaration on the 31 August 2012 General Elections of the Republic of Angola, 2 September 2012.
85 Art 44(2)(A) African Democracy Charter.
86 Art 44 African Democracy Charter.
87 Art 48 African Democracy Charter.
88 Art 45 African Democracy Charter.
89 Art 44 African Democracy Charter.
90 Art 49 African Democracy Charter.
91 Mangu (n 17 above) 194.
92 Mangu (n 17 above) 49.
93 Mangu (n 17 above) 50.
94 See TM Callagy The state-society struggle: Zaire in comparative perspective (1984); D Rothchild & N Chazan Precarious balance: State and civil society in Africa (1988); Mangu (n 17 above) 53; V Azarya & N Chazan 'Disengagement from the state in Africa: Reflections on the experience of Ghana and Guinea' (1987) 26 Comparative Studies in Society and History 106.
95 See P Quantin 'L'Afrique central dans la guerre: Les Etats-fantómes ne meurent jamais' (1999) 4 African journal of Political Science 106;         [ Links ] R Joseph 'The reconfiguration of power in late twentieth-century Africa' in Joseph (n 23 above) 68; RH Jackson & CG Rosberg 'Why Africa's weak states persist: The empirical and the juridical in statehood' (1982) 35 World Politics 1.         [ Links ]
96 P Evans 'The state as problem and solution: Predation, embedded autonomy, and structural change' in S Haggard & RR Kaufman (eds) The politics of economic adjustment (1992) 139.
97 P Evans Bringing the state back in (1985).
98 Mangu (n 17 above) 53.
99 Arts 55-56 African Charter.
100 Arts 5(3) & 34(6) African Court Protocol.
101 Art 17 AU Constitutive Act.
102 Art 22 AU Constitutive Act.
103 Art 12(3) African Democracy Charter.
104 Art 27(2) African Democracy Charter.
105 Art 28 African Democracy Charter.
106 Art 44(B)(b) African Democracy Charter.
107 Art 12 African Democracy Charter.
108 Art 27(2) African Democracy Charter.
109 Art 28 African Democracy Charter.
110 Art 44(2)(A)(a) African Democracy Charter.
111 Art 44(2)(B)(a) African Democracy Charter.
112 Art 44(2)(B)(b) African Democracy Charter.
113 B Moyo Introduction: Governing the public sphere: Civil society and regulation in Africa (2010) 3.
114 As above.
115 JW Harbeson Civil society and the state in Africa (1994).
116 Moyo (n 113 above) 8.
117 Moyo (n 113 above) 6.
118 See M Duverger Janus, les deux faces de l'Occident (1972).
119 B Moyo (Dis) Enabling the public sphere (2010).
120 G Machel 'Foreword' in S Parmar et al (eds) Children and transitional justice: Truth-telling, accountability and reconciliation (2010) I.
121 Machel (n 120 above) I-II.
122 Machel (n 120 above) II.
123 See UNESCO The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance: The role of national human rights institutions (2010); S Saungweme A critical look at the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in Africa (2007); T Alemu The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance: A normative framework for analysing electoral democracy in Africa (2007); L Ajong Mbapndah & E Ngonji Nyungwe 'Applying the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance to dictatorships: The Cameroonian experience' (2008) 2 Cameroon Journal on Democracy and Human Rights; B Tchikaya 'La charte africaine de la démocratie, des élections et de la gouvernance' (2008) 54 Annuaire français de droit international.

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