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Sign African Charter, Dar, Kampala urged

TANZANIA and Uganda have been urged to sign and ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in a bid to bring about stability in the region.

The call was made in Arusha at the weekend by the East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF)’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Martha Makenge. “Tanzania and Uganda specifically ought to sign and ratify the ACDEG.

Tanzania is one of the few countries in Africa that has neither signed nor ratified the Charter although it is respected for being one of the countries whose Constitution recognises the democratic processes, free and fair election and good governance” Ms Makenge.

She was speaking during the launch of a three-year project to popularise the ACDEG in Tanzania and Uganda. Being implemented by the EACSOF with financial support from the ActionAid’s Global Platform, the project, among others, will mobilise the East African Civil Societies (CSOS) to support African Governance Architecture (AGA) through advocating for implementation of ACDEG within the region.

The African Union (AU) adopted ACDEG in January 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to promote democracy, rule of law and basic human rights, ensure democratic rule and constitutional changes of power through free, fair and transparent elections.

“The idea is to make sure all international instruments to which Tanzania is a party to are ratified and a law that governs democratic processes and protect human rights is enacted and enforced,” Ms Makenge noted.

Mr Donald Deya, the chief executive officer with the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), revealed that only Rwanda and South Sudan had so far signed and ratified the charter in the region. The remaining EAC partner states of Burundi, Kenya and Uganda though have signed the ACDEG; they have not yet ratified the charter.

The EACSOF acting chief executive officer, Ms Martha Makenge, said the forum which is, in collaboration with Action- Aid’s Global Platform, will advocate ACDEG in Tanzania and Uganda for the next three years.

The ACDEG calls for all AU member countries to promote good governance for the benefit of all citizens by ensuring that the rule of law and the human rights are dully respected. It entails governments managing their countries transparently and fairly, and respecting their constitutions without denying eligible persons the right to vote.

Governments observing peaceful transfer of power to parties that legitimately win elections and ensuring their citizens are secure.

Ensuring constitutions become supreme laws of states with all stakeholders having equal rights to contribute to their reviews when needs arise.

“The charter calls on all African nations to ratify, domesticate, implement and to amend their constitutions, laws, policies, strategies, action plans and budgets in a bid to tally with the AU values, Mr Deya said. The AU charter also calls on the nations to engage their parliaments, courts, national electoral bodies, human rights institutions and anti-corruption watchdogs in the process.

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