ActionAid Ghana holds workshop on African Charter

Accra- ActionAid Ghana on Thursday held an expert meeting on Legal Analysis of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in Accra to promote the adherence by states to the principles of democracy and human rights.

It is also to enhance the adherence to rule of law premised upon the respect and the supremacy of the Constitution and Constitutional order in the political arrangements of state parties.

The workshop is part of ActionAid Ghana’s efforts in mobilising civil society support for implementation of the African governance architecture, popularly known as the European Commission funded Pan-African Project.

The project is a three-year initiative being implemented by ActionAid in eight African countries – Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

The objectives of the Legal Analysis include assessing the Government’s performance and compliance on different areas of ACDEG in providing an overview of the country’s legal framework and how it is linked to its overall implementation.

Mr Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, the Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, said ActionAid was promoting ACDEG’s successful implementation in Ghana to set the country as a benchmark of political excellence, inclusive governance and efficient decision-making structure within Africa and the world.

He said the overall aim of the project was to increase and strengthen the role civil society organisations played in ensuring African Union (AU) member states were more democratic and accountable to their citizens.

This should be in alignment with legal instruments, institutions and process as enshrined in the African Governance Architecture, under which the ACDEG falls.

He said ActionAid Ghana, in partnership with ActionAid Denmark, had been working at promoting the popularity and operationalisation of the African Governance Architecture and ACDEG to enhance effective governance and democracy and guarantee sustainable development and equality in Ghana and Africa in general.

Mr Abdul-Rahman noted that the ACDEG was adopted by the AU as a roadmap in 2007 for effective governance, protection of human rights and enhancement of democracy adding that the Government of Ghana showed its commitment to the Charter by ratifying it three years later.

However, the promise of government to promote the Charter had not been totally fulfilled as knowledge of ACDEG and its 53 articles had not been popularised.

He said ActionAid Ghana, in working with other civil society organisations to promote ACDEG, had conducted a legal analysis of the status and extent of upholding democratic principles and implementation of the Charter in Ghana.

It also assessed the various legal frameworks in relation to ACDEG such as the 1992 Constitution and the Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 4510).

Mrs Chris Dadzie, a Legal Practitioner/Human Rights Advocate and Educator, said preliminary legal analysis shows that Ghana has lots of laws that conform with ACDEG, especially in relation to governance.

She said the 1992 Constitution was replete with almost all the laws and provisions needed to run good democratic governance for the country.

She called for the Right to Information Bill to be passed into law to enhance free and easy access to information.

Madam Margaret Brew-Ward, the Advocacy and Campaign Manager of ActionAid Ghana, said apart from the national level activities, the NGO was also popularising the Charter in their project areas such as the Volta, Brong Ahafo and the Upper East regions.

He said very few people in Africa knew about the Charter, which was considered by the AU as very progressive to promote governance and the rule of law on the Continent.

Source: Ghana News Agency