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A critical look at the Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in Africa

Sekai Saungweme1

May 2007

SARPN acknowledges AFRIMAP as the source of this document:
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This paper provides a critical analysis of the recently adopted African Union (AU) Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in Africa (the Charter). It identifies issues that pose a threat to stability and democracy in Africa. It provides an analysis into the root causes of unconstitutional changes of government including human rights violations and suggests appropriate measures that can be taken to prevent as far as possible unconstitutional changes of government from reoccurring. It concludes that there are various provisions and references to African realities that could make the Charter a stronger defender of human rights and one that protects peoples rather than regimes. These would include provisions relating to the abuse of emergency powers and recommendations on measures that member states can adopt to act as deterrent to potential or existing abusers of human and peoples rights. However to the extent that the Charter is a consolidation of efforts by African leaders to entrench a muchneeded culture of democracy and a vibrant civil society and public participation in Africa, it should be applauded for making such a commitment.

  1. Lawyer and gender activist with the Musasa Project, Harare, Zimbabwe.

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