The issue of good governance is taking center stage at the African Union
summit in Sham el-Sheikh, Egypt particularly because of Zimbabwe’s just
concluded controversial run-off election. The democratic and economic
evaluations of Nigeria and Uganda under the African Peer Review Mechanism
(APRM) were presented at the AU summit.
African countries voluntarily accede to the APRM with the hope of
enhancing progress in governance, democracy, and economic development.
of the Nigeria assessment report, Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat of Kenya says
some of the challenges facing Nigeria are corruption and the management of
diversity and federalism. He says Nigeria’s good practices included the
country’s efforts in stabilizing West and other parts of Africa.
Adebayo Adedeji from Nigeria who headed the Uganda self-assessment report told
VOA President Yoweri Museveni has transformed
Uganda from a from a chaotic country soon after independence to a democratic
independent in 1962, and the first two decades thereafter were decades of
conflict, bad governance. Then in 1986 a new government emerged led by
(President) Museveni. And it has transformed the country in the past two
decades. First there is law and order…secondly development has become
sustainable. They have achieved an average rate over six percent per annum.
Thirdly from being a military government, it has now become a democratically
elected government and human rights are enjoyed by the people,” he said.
But critics of
the Ugandan government said the country’s democratic transformation bas been
moving in a reverse direction with President Museveni having enormous influence
over the political system.
like all development transformations, there are challenges, including Uganda’s
political parties, which he said need to be further developed in order to
strengthen the democratic process. But he said there is no country in the world
with a perfect democratic system.
“I said to you
that if you take Uganda of 1962 to 1986 where there was chaos, where Uganda
which used to be called the pearl of Africa became a country in disarray, where
there was lack of law and order and governance was at its worse, and then 20
years later, we can talk about a democratic country, think that is the
important thing because if this could achieve that kind of transformation in
two decades what it needs is to continue to sustain it, and there is no doubt
that two decades from now some of the weaknesses we are talking about would be
removed,” Adedeji said.
leader Kizza Besigye told VOA the Uganda Self-Assessment Report does not
include the main concerns of the opposition, including for example the role of
the electoral commission whose members he said are tools of President Museveni.
Besigye also expressed concern about the role of the military, which he said
has become intertwined with the democratic process.
Mr. Besigye would first read the entire report before criticizing it, adding
that the review panel mentioned the electoral commission as one of the
challenges confronting the Ugandan democratic process.
“We took the
electoral commission and identified the imperfections and suggested some
reforms. We noted how the multi-party system can become strengthened, enhanced
and effective. We said in the report that the people of Uganda must look into
the way in which the electoral commission is composed and that in doing this,
they should take the lead from the way judges are appointed. The electoral
commission in Uganda as indeed in most other countries of the world is nominated
by the government and approved by parliament. And we have said in the African
context, this should be looked into,” Adedeji said.
He said the
review panel recommended that the electoral process must be made as independent
as possible so that ordinary Africans regard the electoral commission as an
independent institution that is not being used by the government.