Author: Tariro Sekeramayi
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
South Africa’s local government elections, to elect the municipal tier of government, are constitutionally mandated through section 159 of the Constitution of South Africa to take place every five years. These elections were scheduled to take place towards the end of 2021 and have been the subject of great deliberation in the nation. Conducting elections during a pandemic has been the subject of much debate on the continent and worldwide, with certain countries choosing to continue with elections amid the pandemic and others choosing to postpone their elections amid concerns of the risks involved. Nations on the continent that have held elections during the pandemic include Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire. Given the extent of the risks of holding elections during the pandemic and mixed calls on whether to postpone or continue with elections in the nation, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa ordered an inquiry commission to determine the nation’s capacity to hold free, fair elections during the initially scheduled period in October.
Author: Paul Mudau
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law at the University of South Africa
‘Modern African constitutions’ produced by the recent wave of constitutional reforms that swept across Africa generally transpired in the constitutionalisation of public service and administration. Public administration is any institution with operations aimed at applying, enforcing or fulfilling public policies and programmes or undertaking public service duties as well as regulating the conduct of public servants. Public service is any service or public-interest activity provided by government under the authority of the relevant administration.
The role of international financial institutions in protecting the vulnerable during pandemics: Focus on World Bank in developing economiesPosted: 18 June, 2020
Author: Francis Kofi Korankye-Sakyi
Development and International Trade Finance Expert
The importance of law in development discourse as captured under Sustainable Development Goal 16 is a critical factor in establishing and maintaining the rule of law by empowering the most vulnerable persons and groups in society to exercise their fundamental human rights against unfettered legal regimes and political leadership, especially in times of global crises.
The nexus between access to justice and the fostering of a healthy business environment, economic growth, access to public services for the poor, including the curbing of corruption and curtailing the abuse of power is well noted and must reflect on discussions in this period of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the era of crises, institutions emerge as products of deep thinking and serve the long-term interest of international peace and development. For instance, the Bretton Woods institutions comprising the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) were creations after World War II in 1944. In this light, the invitation to these international bodies to rescue developing economies in this unhealthy time of COVID-19 is, therefore, a legitimate expectation. From 1959 to 1991, multinational development banks which constitute part of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) emerged as a result of the difficulties of the development paradigms of the times and have continued to execute programmes and projects within such expectations. This article takes a look at the role of the World Bank in building the judicial capacities of developing economies during this pandemic and advocates for support for a stronger monitoring and regulatory mechanisms in the application of the funds provided by these institutions to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses for whom these funds are intended to benefit.
Recalibrating Nigeria’s Whistleblowing Policy: An urgent plea for a comprehensive whistleblower protection legislationPosted: 18 October, 2017
Author: Olabisi D Akinkugbe
PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, Canada
This short essay draws attention to the current gap in regulatory framework for the protection of whistleblowers in Nigeria and its potential to derail any meaningful sustained and long-term success of the country’s nascent whistleblower program. The other socio-political factors that would contribute to the effectiveness of the program in Nigeria are discussed in a forthcoming article by the author.
Whistleblowing refers to the public interest disclosure of information by members of an organization or government employees about illegal and immoral practices by other employees or other persons who deal with the organization, such as contractors, in the case of public governance. Employees are often the first to recognize malpractice, fraud, dishonest and illegal activity, or other wrongdoing with potential impact on the public interest. As a public governance integrity enhancing mechanism, it is primarily linked to encouraging and enhancing the public disclosure of wrongdoing in order to improve accountability and transparency.
Author: Michael Gyan Nyarko
Doctoral Candidate and Academic Tutor, Centre for Human Rights; Editor: AfricLaw.com
Ghana has been described as ‘a beacon of hope in Africa’ on account of its good governance and respect for human rights.’ With a fairly liberal constitution which guarantees quite an elaborate list of civil and political rights as well as socio-economic rights, political stability and economic growth over the past two decades, this description of Ghana is not farfetched. While Ghana has performed reasonably well with regards to respect for human rights, there still remain several human rights issues that require urgent attention. One of those issues is the right to information.
The right to information is guaranteed and entrenched in the Constitution. Article 21(1)(f) of the Constitutions provides that ‘all persons shall have the right to information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society’. However, this right has not been effectively enjoyed as government has failed to enact a right to information law to give effect to the constitutional provision. A right to information bill proposed by successive governments has been pending for over a decades. The absence of a right to information law has left a vacuum where citizens do not have clarity on whom to approach for official government information, which information may not be requested and what financial burden they may bear for such request. This has resulted in the rather limited use of the right to information, especially with regards to request for official government documents.
Should the African Union be accountable and answerable to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights?Posted: 11 July, 2012
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) has recently delivered a judgment in the case of Femi Falana v The African Union. The judgment is rather controversial on various levels. Firstly, the Court decided to interpret Articles 5(3) and 34(6) which, read jointly, imply that individuals or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can have access to the Court only if the state from which they are has deposited the declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with Article 34(6). This was certainly not the issue in the Falana case. What had to be determined was whether the African Union (AU), which is not a state party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights or the Protocol establishing the African Court (the Protocol), could be sued and such an interrogation required the interpretation of Articles 3, 30 and 34 (1&4) of the Protocol. Secondly, the Court, at the very onset, failed to consider whether or not it has jurisdiction ratione personae and decided to proceed to judicial consideration of the applications which is procedurally flawed.