The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance was adopted by the African Union in January 2007. Since then, 30 Member States have signed the document, but only three have ratified it (Mauritania, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone). Burkina Faso and Rwanda are currently in the process of Ratification and South Africa has now joined the group of Signatories. Between 1990 and 2000, African states saw a rapid increase in democratic practices, with many countries opening up to multi-party parliaments, and other political and economic reforms. However, much remains to be done if we are to realise the objectives and principles set out in the Charter.

Idasa has recently launched a project to build constituencies of support for the Charter in ten different African countries, namely: Cape Verde, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Africa. . Idasa is working with the African Development Forum to promote the Charter which encourages sustainable democracies in Africa.

Mapping exercises have been conducted in the 10 countries named above to get a sense of political dynamics in each country, and understand what shapes and influences political arenas. Project partners have been selected in each of the countries and these will, working independently and also with Idasa, implement activities to promote and seek the ratification of the Charter in their respective countries.

Most recently, a two-day workshop was held at the Idasa offices in Pretoria to develop national and regional strategies to promote the Charter. 40 participants were brought together from 14 countries and jointly drafted and finalised a Declaration in support of the Charter. A gala dinner was held on the evening of the 23rd of February with Ambassadors from many African countries, various other important members of the democratic movement, as well as the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, who delivered the Keynote speech.

The project aims to create national movements as well as international solidarity that promote dialogue around and awareness of the Charter. Ultimately, the project seeks to have the Charter ratified in 15 countries so that the document becomes an official international legal instrument. However, the campaign will also continue to seek the support of all Members of the African Union to ratify and implement the Charter.

See more at www.idasa.org.za

%d bloggers like this: