The importance of Constitutionalism and Rule of Law remains primordial in entrenching a culture of democratic governance on the African continent. This vision is also rebounded and strengthened by the African Union Shared Values instruments which also form the pillars of the realisation of the vision of the African Union that of a peaceful Africa, prosperous, integrated and driven by the people, as highlighted in Agenda 2063.
On the African continent and especially in the Eastern African region, there has been a growing interest on issues of constitutionalism, rule of law and good governance and this can be demonstrated by an increased interest in the regional treaties which the Regional Economic Communities have also been pushing for.
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony, the representative of the Government of Rwanda, the CEO of the Rwanda Governance Board, Professor Anastase Shyaka, lauded the initiative of the African Union for bringing together representatives of national parliaments, Member States of IGAD and East African Community, the PAP, African Union Commission, the African Union Organs, experts in constitutionalism and rule of law, local government and local development, representatives of civil society organizations, think tanks and other organizations. He outlined the link between Agenda 2063 aspirations (3) and (6) and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Government and Local Development.
Professor Shyaka reiterated his government’s willingness to work hand in hand with the AU Commission to ensure the full implementation of AU treaties and charters as well as motivate the population to develop greater interest in the development agenda of the Union.
Dr. Khabele Matlosa, Director of Political Affairs, AUC welcomed the participants on behalf of the Commissioner for Political Affairs H.E. Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi (Amb.). He spoke about the necessity of the development of the Charter on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Government and Local Development. Dr. Matlosa urged participants from Member States who did not sign or ratify charters to explain the problems facing them by not ratifying the charters in this dialogue forum, so that AU Commission can be in better position to assist.
Interventions from different delegates enriched the discussion. They highlighted the role of the AU and Civil Society organizations have to play in civic education for ordinary Africans in order for them to be aware of the importance of these Charters and the value of constitutionalism, rule of law and good governance. The growing interest in Governance issue in the region has also been outlined.
Agenda 2063 in its aspiration 3, imagines an “Africa that has implemented good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law to the 2063 horizon” through the consolidation of democratic gains of the continent and improving the quality of governance, the establishment of strong institutions, development oriented and the emergence of visionary leadership in all spheres and at all levels. To achieve this aspiration, Agenda 2063 identifies specific areas of interventions that reflect on the mandates of national, regional and continental parliaments.
The consultation, which will end on 16 November, involves the efforts of the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission, together with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), supported by International Alert (IA) and International IDEA (IDEA) and it is designed to engage civil society organizations, parliamentarians and representatives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Member States in the East Africa region in the importance of constitutionalism and rule of law, governance, especially decentralisation, local governance and development through focusing on the values of constitutionalism and Rule of Law as enshrined in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development.