A member of Ghana’s delegation to the Pan-African Parliament, Hon Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, has strongly proposed the establishment of sub-regional electoral bodies to supervise elections of their Member States.

According to the Ghanaian MP, such a body will improve citizens’ trust and confidence in national elections because the sub-regional electoral bodies will be non-partisan and will have no interest in who wins the elections.

Contributing to presentations made by experts during the High-Level Parliamentary Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance, under the theme, “Unconstitutional Changes in Government and Political Transitions in Africa”, Hon Muntaka pointed out that most African citizens are disillusioned and have lost hope in the current electoral systems and how it is easily manipulated by the ruling class.

He emphasized that if the situations that lead to unconstitutional changes in government are not addressed from the roots, a lasting solution will not be found, pointing out that, “The major problem is from the national Constitution of Member States.”

According to him, most of the Constitutions of Member States were enacted by military leaders, who metamorphose into civilians, and their sole purpose was to protect themselves and their interest, and not that of the citizenry.

 Earlier on, Prof Adebayo Olukushi, Former Executive Secretary of IDEP, informed the Pan-African Parliament that citizens jubilate when there is a military takeover not because they support the action of the coup, but rather because they do not have other alternative avenues to do away with non-performing governments. “Citizens now do not believe whether their vote counts anymore. The majority of our citizens are losing hope in democracy because our leaders are not delivering on their mandate. The system is not working for them.”

The high-level dialogue is the first of its kind by the PAP though dialogues of a such nature have been convened before by some Member States. The African Union and some of its Organs have in the course of this year held a series of deliberations on the rising phenomenon of unconstitutional changes of government and irregular political transitions. The outcomes of these engagements, include the declaration adopted by the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa, held on 28th May 2022 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Acknowledging that the challenge of unconstitutional changes of government and its structural causes remains a pressing threat to democracy, governance, peace, security, and stability in Africa, the Pan-African Parliament seeks to contribute to addressing the phenomenon. As articulated in the PAP Protocol, PAP was established based on a vision to provide a common Platform for African citizens to be more engaged in discussions and decision-making on challenges and problems facing the Continent. PAP’s mandate seeks to encourage good governance, transparency, and accountability and to promote peace, security, stability, human rights, and democracy in Africa. Considering the impact of unconstitutional changes of government and political transitions on good governance, democracy, human rights, and peace and security as well as the need to enhance peaceful political transitions in the Continent, this High-Level Parliamentary Dialogue is within the mandate and objectives of PAP.

The overall objective of the PAP High-Level Parliamentary Dialogue is to assess, identify and explore ways to address unconstitutional changes of government and enhance peaceful political transitions in Africa. In particular, the dialogue will offer a platform to share evidence-based knowledge, analysis, and exchange of comparable lessons and experiences in addressing unconstitutional changes of government and enhancement of peaceful political transitions. It will also provide an opportunity to share recommendations to address the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government and measures to entrench peaceful political transitions in Africa.

It is expected that the High-Level Parliamentary Dialogue will contribute meaningfully towards the attainment of aspirations 3 and 4 of Agenda 2063, which expresses the African People’s desire for ‘An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law’, and ‘A peaceful and Secure Africa.’

In particular, the Dialogue will be relevant in identifying and recommending specific measures that AU Member States, Regional Economic Communities, and non-state actors can take towards addressing unconstitutional changes of government and enhancement of peaceful political transitions on the Continent.

The High-Level Parliamentary Dialogue will produce four specific outputs: a PAP resolution on addressing Unconstitutional Changes of Government and Political Transitional in Africa; proceedings report that will be disseminated widely across new and traditional media; one Background Paper on UGC and the role of PAP; and a Policy Brief based on the background paper, and discussions leading up to, during, and after the dialogue.

Story by: Gilbert Borketey Boyefio

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