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Cotonou, 4th April 2018 – The challenge of how to confront Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCG) in Africa remains highly contested and sensitive among AU member states, as it impacts the optimal means of upholding constitutionalism, the respect of the rule of law and human rights.
On the 2nd and 3rd of April 2018, the African Union Department of Political Affairs held a consultative meeting on ‘Analyzing the AU Normative Framework on Unconstitutional Change of Government: Gaps, Overlays and Way Forward’. The APRM was invited to attend the meeting in accordance with its role as Chair of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) Platform. This consultative meeting is an initial step in the development of a single comprehensive instrument as a clear common framework either in the form of additional Protocol to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) or a Peace and Security Council policy or an AU decision.
During the meeting, the AU Department of Political Affairs launched a study on Unconstitutional Changes of Government, and the aim of the consultative meeting was to convene technical and legal experts from across Africa to deepen the discussion on the main issues and agree on the way forward including on recommendations. In addition, the meeting reviewed a report on ‘Analyzing the AU Normative Framework on Unconstitutional Change of Government: Gaps, Overlays and Way Forward’.
The meeting was graced with opening remarks from Mr Yves Eric Ahoussougbemey, Director for Africa and Middle East, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation representing the Republic of Benin, Ms Mary Agbebaku-Izobo, the representative of the APRM, Dr Adam Kassie, Representative of International IDEA, Mr Calixte Aristide Mbari, representing the AU Department of Political Affairs and Mr Sylvain Ore, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Present at the meeting were representatives of APRM Continental Secretariat, APRM National Secretariat Republic of Benin, International IDEA, the Republic of Benin, the AU Advisory Board on Corruption, the AU Department of Political Affairs, the AU Office of the Legal Counsel, ECOWAS, the Department of Peace and Security, Conference of African Constitutional Courts, the Civil Society, academia, policy makers as well as International Law experts from Central, West, East and the Horn of Africa.
At the end of the meeting, it was recapitulated that the AU is the overarching intergovernmental organisation for the promotion of democracy and good governance on the continent, and as such has an obligation to address and pronounce on unconstitutional changes of government by adapting its normative framework to the new realities, putting in place appropriate mechanisms and institutions to effectively manage arising crisis in that regard.