CSOs dialogue on African Charter progress

Dr Salah Hammad

Dr Salah Hammad

A civil society consortium working to popularise the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG) have held series of discussions with various Africa Union (AU) departments on the progress on the charter.

The meetings, essentially were to brainstorm on challenges and progress made by Africa members states regarding ratification, implementation and reporting on the charter.

With support from the European Commission, members of the Consortium also engaged with their respective ambassadors on the need to give prominence to ratification and domestication of the provisions of ACDEG after 10 years of endorsement by the heads of states and governments.

Out of the 55 member states, 33 countries including Ghana has ratified the charter with only Togo, currently reporting on it.

Dr Salah Hammad, Acting Head of African Governance Architecture Secretariat, speaking at the engagement with the consortium underscored the importance of the role of CSOs during ratification of the instrument at the national level.

“The AU Commission has strategy to advocate and lobby for ratification of AU instruments at the national level and we count on participation of CSOs to support advocacy at national level to aid ratification.

“Member states need capacity to ratify and report on the African Charter since most of our countries have only one person assigned to many AU instruments numbering 56, mandated to report on it on periodic basis.

“Lack of awareness on some of the instruments at national level by both state and non-state actors alike is a course for concern, we need efforts to popularise the charter hence the role of CSOs to support bridge the gap,” Dr Hammad bemoaned.

Mtendere Gondwe, an officer responsible for treaties at the Office of the Legal Counsel, disclosed that a study conducted by the department, indicated that major challenges regarding ratification, implementation and reporting on instruments were lack of political will and capacity.

“As part of AU’s reforms, a national secretariat committee has been proposed to be established in various countries to focus on ratification, implementation and reporting of AU treaties.

“There is an executive council decision asking member states to establish a secretariat comprising all stakeholders at the national level involved in treaty ratification and implementation processes to form the committee,” Ms Gondwe noted. -GNA

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