Chapter Three African Union Strategy for Democracy

Chapter Three
African Union Strategy for Democracy, Development, and Peace

One of the key factors in founding the AU was the recognition of its founders in improving democratic structures and promoting good governance. They felt that these issues, like others, such as constitutionalism and respect for the rule of law, are crucial to security and development. The basic laws of Ukraine have adopted these ideals as some of their goals and principles in addition to popular participation, gender equality and social justice.
By this time, the AU was in the process of adopting the Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance (hereinafter the “Charter for Democracy”). The main objectives and principles of the Charter are the elements of democracy in the Constitution. The Charter of Democracy also seeks to eradicate corruption, incorporate a culture of peace and create a favorable climate for democratic consolidation, including opposition parties. It also seeks to promote the separation of powers and controls and balances, representative government through free and fair elections and civil control over the security sector (Article 3).

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Achieving these goals requires collaboration with various actors, AU, RECs, African states, civil society organizations and the donors. In theory, this is a normative leap from the state-centered nature of OAU to people-centered processes and activities. If successful, this can be a transition from a culture of impunity to a responsibility for the protection of vulnerable populations.

However, the essential goal is to make the decision makers and the people involved in the decision-making process. Given the various factors, the current situation requires a significant change. African countries have different political and legal systems, lack of awareness of the local population of the AU and the fact that some African rulers still believe that they are not responsible to the people they govern.

This chapter discusses, in its first section, the parameters, framework, and measures that should be available to reach good governance and the rule of law. Whereas, the second section explores security and peace building in Africa, and it contains a case study about Darfur crises.

Section I: Towards Good Governance, and the Rule of Law
As above mentioned, governance is exercised at different levels of social activity. The African Commission on Global Governance has stated that governance is “a continuing process through which conflicting and diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operative action may be taken.” Regarding this perspective, good governance would be reflected in different institutions, and structures, to manage their affairs. It has also been used to describe formal and informal sets of arrangements. For example, Goran Flyden defined governance as “the conscious management of regime structures with a view to enhancing the legitimacy of the Public realm.”

Moreover, it implies the involvement of the different components of civil society in the management of mega-policy issues such as the environment, security. Consequently, development cannot be left to governments alone. Thus, local associations, organizations, ethnic networks, and other NGOs may be involved in decision-making processes.

Government decisions gain ligitimacy, partly from civil society policy. Therefore, management works with local, national and international networks. Therefore, this system is very important or useful because it involves institutional development.

I.1. Good Governane
It is possible to distinguish three different forms of government: poor governance, corporate governance, and good governance. The term good governance has been used since the 1980s by the IBRD and the IMF to designate certain types of political and economic orders imposed by the neoliberal ideology. In 1999, it was included in their definition that it requires state transparency and accountability, increasing public participation in the policy-making process to build democratic structures. Hence, the IBRD and the IMF, state that good governance is tightly linked with the spread of liberal democracy.

However, the version of good government introduced by the IBRD and the IMF has undesirable characteristics that caused significant suffering to Africans. This type of good management involves serious ethical questions. For example, is it morally possible for African politicians to offer grains for export to receive foreign currency, a priority over food crops (for consumption)? Is it a good debt for poor African countries to spend most of their income on paying off debt? Why do the new generations in Africa pay large debts that can be attributed to the African leaders and the international financial institutions?

Only with the help of Knowledge and democracy enable the African people to give answers to such questions.
I.2. Consent and Majority Rule
It simply refers to the fact that the power of government comes from the people, and that is the only source of explanation and justification. “Popular participation” must be implemented through free elections. Voters should not be required to make a specific decision about the procedures that govern the process within their community. Although the majority rule can be defined as a decision made after more than half of the electorate has been taken. On the other hand, the rights of minorities must be protected. Therefore, it is not surprising that most can be developed as a second simple alternative, a necessary alternative to the excellent lack of agreement in all orders. The unanimous claim would be to grant everyone the right to veto the decision and make it virtually impossible to make decisions in large groups. This practical justification for the unanimous replacement of the majority as a discrete method of decision-making is common in modern political thought.

Universal suffrage is specifically recognized by the Charter of Democracy (Article 4 (2)) as “the absolute right of the people”. This chapter is used to refer to conditions that most Africans need to express their views, to participate in policies and decisions that govern them. Pay attention to legality, equality before the law, and access to correct information through free and honest means of communication. The conditions under which free elections are held are set out in Chapter 7 of the Democratic Charter, with particular attention to the AU Declaration on the principles of democratic elections in Africa.

I.3. Accountability and Democratic Consolidation
Accountability in this context means the existence of a mechanism in which those who exercise power, in particular the African leaders, should justify their actions against the voters. This means that political leaders will continue to agree to the government. Accountability can only be made when African citizens learn their rights, responsibilities and opportunities. Some African countries, which consider themselves to be democratic, do not show approval, public participation and accountability. It could also explain why these countries were attacked by violence and human rights violations. The Charter of Democracy seeks to fight against these practices by attracting African countries to promote democracy, rule of law and human rights. It also urges African countries to provide fundamental freedoms and human rights to citizens who recognize universality, interdependence and indivisibility.

On the other hand, democratic consolidation concerns the situation in which the authoritarian phase is over. The introduction of democratic ideals and practices in society, which has been living in the repressive regime for many years, is a real challenge. As some critics claim, authoritarian rule is one of the transitions that exist “interval between one political regime and another…delimited, on one side, by the launching of the process of dissolution of an authoritarian regime and, on the other, by the installation of some form of democracy.”

In other words, a transition takes place when wholesome change has taken place in a political system and “not just in the individuals holding positions of political power.” This change has to take place also” in the assumptions and methods of the political system, in how the system legislates, formulates, and implements policies, and in the ways in which individuals gain access to power. Such a transition can be influenced by a number of factors, such as the length of time the authoritarian regime was in power, the methods it employed to exercise power, and the level of knowledge people have about their rights and responsibilities. In a country like the DRC, where Mobutu’s dictatorship lasted more than three decades, democratic consolidation is likely to be a slow process. According to Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan: “a society would have consolidated its democracy when there is broad consensus among its members that democratic practice is the only acceptable type of rule, or “the only game in town.”

Democracy combines the strengthening of democratic norms and institutions and the emergence of new regimes “does not have the perverse elements undermining democracy’s basic characteristics.” Adam Przeworski contends that: “for democratic structures to last they must be fair by giving all the relevant political forces a chance to win from time to time, and make even losing under democracy more attractive than losing under non-democratic alternatives.”
In the current international context, corruption, external interference and the fight against terrorism tend to undermine the consolidation of democracy in Africa, which accuses some governments of violating the rule of law.

I.4. Rule of Law
The rule of law is predicated on a number of factors, including the assumption that the law must be universally heeded, obeyed, and accomplished with. According to Ismail Mohammed:

“The rule of law implies five assumptions. First, the law is sovereign over all authorities, including the government. Second, the law must be clear and certain in its content, and accessible and predictable for the subjects. Third, the law must be general and universal in its application. Fourth, the judiciary must be independent and accessible to every aggrieved person, whatever his/her status. Fifth, the law must have procedural intellectual content.”

Depending on this, it can be said that the rule of law is achieved in Africa when, in certain cases, there is a clear separation of the judicial, executive and judicial authorities from individual cases of political pressure.

A former Chief Justice of Tanzania, Francis Nyalali, stated: “Independence of the judiciary, impartiality of adjudication, fairness of trial, and integrity of the adjudicator are so universally accepted that one may reasonably conclude that these principles are inherent to any justice system in a democracy.” He further observed: “There is no doubt that these same principles are part of the African dream, resulting from the liberation struggle against colonial and racial oppression.” These are the states that emerged when our countries became politically independent. The Charter of Democracy defines constitutional law (Article 10) as a way of universalizing democratic principles. Furthermore, the principles of equality before the law and the equal protection of the law are considered the basis for a just and democratic society. (Article 10 3)

The military coups and unconstitutional changes of the government have significantly diminished since the adoption of the Lomé Declaration of 2000, the unconstitutional changes of the government and the founding law that condemns and denies this practice. However, the 2005 military coup in Mauritania and Togo showed that it was necessary to strengthen the existing mechanisms. Therefore, the Regulation on Democracy (Chapter 8) determines the measures to be taken in such cases.

While the above concepts and issues are included in the Constitutive Act, they need political will to establishe structures, strategic leadership and African norms, which can lead to the liberation and empowerment of the African population. This depends on the existence of an environment free from corruption.

III. Preventing and Combating Corruption
Africa’s opportunities to turn globalization into a force of social, economic and political reforms in pursuit of peace and security must keep pace with good governance. However, the latter is never associated with corruption. Nevetheless, corruption enjoyed benefits from the free markets and involved more activities such as money laundering and arms smuggling. These latter are being used by terrorists and the “mafia” at the expense of African people. There is a connection between corruption and poverty and insecurity. As a result, African states should address the relationship between globalization, security and governance to fight corruption.