GNA feature by Albert Oppong Ansah
Accra, Aug. 15, GNA
- Over the years, Ghana has signed many treaties in many areas including;
governance, bilateral, environment, security, labour, economics and technology
with countries, international bodies and continental unions.
One of these is the
African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) as one of the
many such agreements.
Developed in 2007,
a key roadmap of this charter is to encourage better governance across the
It also spells out
the norms, values and standards agreed by the African States, including; the
universal values of democracy and respect for human rights; rule of law
premised on the supremacy of the constitution and the holding of democratic and
Others are the
prohibition and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government; promotion
and protection of the independence of the judiciary; sustainable development
and human security; fostering citizen participation and the transparency and
accountability in the management of public affairs.
The ACDEG, which is
often referred to as a Democratic Charter, draws inspiration from several AU
declarations, charters and instruments including; the AU Constitutive Act,
which asserts the eminence of democratic governance and provides for the
imposition of sanctions in case of unconstitutional change of governments.
It came to force on
February 15, 2012, through which State parties were obliged to comply with the
charter obligations, which included; reporting on the legislative, or other
relevant measures to give effect to the principles and commitment of the
In all, the
democratic charter contains eleven chapters and its main objectives are to
reinforce AU Member States’ commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human
rights, peace and socio-economic development.
The provisions in
the charter establish minimum standards for ensuring, promoting and protecting
democratic governance principles and practices.
ratify the charter agree automatically to have representative systems of
government with separation of powers between branches, promote democracy, rule
of law and basic human rights.
additionally ensure democratic rule and constitutional changes of power through
free, fair and transparent elections, respect ethnic, cultural and religious
journey in ACDEG
After Ghana joined
other countries to adopt the charter by the 16th Ordinary Session of the
Assembly of the AU in January 2011, the PRC forwarded it to the AU liaison desk
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It was then
forwarded to the Attorney General’s Department (AG) to study and analyse the
implications on the local constitution. They examined and aligned the ACDEG
instruments, which was in line with Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.
The charter was
then ratified and deposited at the AU Legal Council. Ghana did not have to go
through the implementation process, which required setting up, and
strengthening governance institutions such as the Electoral Commission and
National Commission for Civic Education as well as adherence to separation of
powers and good governance.
Ghana’s journey is
now at the reporting stage, where she is required to report on the instruments
including; free and fair elections, independence of the judiciary, political
pluralism and tolerance, sustainable development and human security.
Others are the
establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen’s participation,
transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in
the management of public affairs, promoting gender balance and equality in the
governance and development processes.
Mrs Rizzan Nassuna,
a Democracy Assessment and Governance Expert at the African Governance
Architecture Secretariat Department of Political Affairs of the AU, speaking in
an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the only step left for Ghana is
to report on the ACDEG instruments.
Ghana stands tall
and is an example worth emulating by other countries because it has thriving
democratic governance principles in practice through the peaceful transfer of
there are so many instruments being adhered to that I can relate with. It is
unfortunate that we have not seen a report from Ghana on how they were
implementing the ACDEG. I know when supported with the right tools they could
report,” she added.
disclosed that plans were advanced to provide the necessary knowledge and
skills to the Ghanaian team to be able to report empirically to back ‘what is
seen and heard’.
Brew-Ward, the Women’s Rights and Campaigns Manager at ActionAid, recounts that
the world has watched with amusement since 1992 when Ghana began her democratic
journey, a key proponent of ACDEG.
“There has been a
smooth exchange of power since the time of former Presidents Jerry John
Rawlings, John A. Kufuor, John Evans Mills, John Dramani Mahama to the current
President Nana Akufo-Addo,” she stated.
she notes that her exploits in governance and rule of law have earned an
accolade, as being a model of enduring viability of democracy in Africa.
observes that at the local level, elections have gained roots as it is done
under a free and fair environment.
government has initiated steps to elect the Municipal, Metropolitan and
District Chief Executives as part of steps to enhance local level participation
in governance and reduce the “winner takes all syndrome” as well as deepen the
nations democratic credentials”.
The country is
doing creditably well in following through to the tenants of ACDEG, hence the
urgent need for it to take steps to meet its reporting obligations under the