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The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance enters into effect

The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance went into effect on February 15, 2012 (see the AU press release). This happy outcome was the result of fifteen ratifications of the document which occurred after a long process that mobilized, since 2007, a number of actors at different levels of government on the continent (the AU Commission, Regional Economic Communities, PAP, APRM, UNECA, UNDP, Civil Society Organizations, Think Tanks - including the AGI, ...).

The Charter reaffirms the importance of good governance, participation and human rights for the construction of accountable democracies and developmental States in Africa. Though the Charter was not yet in effect, the AU signaled its intent to abide by the principles engrained therein when it acted to respond to unconstitutional changes of government in Mauritania, Madagascar and Cote d’Ivoire.

Specifically, the Charter presents the following objectives for the achievement of developmental governance :

- Respect for democracy and human rights
- Promotion of the rule of law and respect for the supremacy of the constitution
- The holding of regular free and fair elections that result in legitimate representative governments as well as the democratic change of governments
- Rejection of unconstitutional change of government
- The independence of the judiciary
- Political pluralism and tolerance
- Promotion of regional and continental integration
- Citizen participation, transparency, access to information and freedom of the press
- Promotion of gender equality in governance and development
- Promotion of best practices in election management

The entry into effect of the Charter on democracy, elections and governance at the beginning of the year 2012 which has been dedicated by the AU as the year of ‘Shared Values’ is a strong signal of the positive dynamics on issues of governance that are taking place on the continent.

However, it is not an end in itself because the Charter must now be implemented in and by all African countries. The expectations of the people in this regard are significant, as were evidenced by the recent social and political movements in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. On its part, the AGI will remain mobilized in this major issue.

- The AGI portal dedicated to the African Governance Architecture

- The African Charter on Democracy and Governance

The charter (summary)

The charter

by Bukola Oyinloye and Thierry Sanzhie Bokally

Publié le 2 mars 2012