An executive of the African Union (AU) Commission to Liberia has admonished members of the National Legislature to ratify the Union’s Chapter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), currently before that August body.
Liberia signed the ACDEG on June 18, 2008, but has not ratified or acceded to the convention.
The Charter was adopted by the 8th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly, held in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2007.
It was developed as part of the AU’s stated emphasis on promoting democracy and good governance in member states. It came into force on 15 February 2012.
The charter contains some provisions allow the AU to intervene in the respective states to restore democracy.
Addressing a news conference on Thursday, June 5 Ambassador Oluwatoyin Solaja noted that the chapter reaffirmed the collective will of African Leaders to work relentlessly in order to deepen and consolidate the rule of law , peace , security and development on the continent.
More importantly, the AU envoy added, “the chapter frowns at unconstitutional changes of government which had resulted into insecurity, instability and violent conflicts across the continent.”
He maintained that “it also expresses the determination to strengthen good governance through the institutionalization of transparency, accountability and participatory democracy.”
He said the chapter is an opportunity that should not be missed, adding that this steps means African leaders have begun reform by themselves, mentioning that if Arab leaders took the same step, they could have prevented the eruption of the Arab Spring.
He stressed that signing the chapter into law would ensure the holding of free and fair elections, rejection and condemnation of unconstitutional change in government.
“Upholding the freedom of the press, citizen’s participation, the promotion and protection of the independence of the judiciary, as well as, accountability in the management of public affairs become legally on these states.”
However, the AU executive hailed the country for signing the charter, noting its ratification could be the right move, calling upon the parliament to ratify it and follow up its implementation with laws on good governance and democracy.
“I’m aware of efforts being made by the government to get the chapter ratified in this year’s Annual Message of Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, where she announced the submission of 15 AU legal instruments to the National Legislature for consideration and possible ratification. ACDEG was part of these documents,” Ambassador Solaja assumed.
He continued, “I am equally aware of on-going efforts within the Legislature to ratify the Chapter , which I add my voice to the call for the urgent consideration and ratification of the legal instruments,” adding “It will guaranteed human and state security, respect for the rule of law, peace, stability and development among others.”
For his part, International Alert project manager, Michael Slewon Doe disclosed that in 2013, at the request of the Peace and Security Department (PSD) of the AUC, his institution started work on strengthening the capacity of two African Union Liaison Offices (AULOs) in Liberia and South Sudan to deliver on their stated objectives, and country specified
He further disclosed that the project entitled “Partnership for Effective and Sustainable, AULOs” was designed to address some of the concerns raised during various assessment conducted on the African Union Liaison Offices (AULO) and their recommendations.
He said, the project is a three years (2013 to 2015) initiatives founded by SIDA and implemented by International Alert, in partnership with the PSD.