Citizen engagement is the essence of true democracy- Pan-African Parliament President


The President of the Pan-African Parliament, Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, has urged all stakeholders to view democracy through the prism of African citizens by taking into account their understanding, experience, and aspirations in building a democratic model fit for purpose and in tune with the realities on the ground.

The President intervened in a panel discussion under the theme: "Reflections on the state of play and a forecast on democratic governance in Africa: How do we get it right?", which took place at the ongoing African Governance Architecture Support Project (AGA-SP) End of Project Close Out and Dissemination Event in Nairobi, Kenya.

"True democracy flourishes when citizens are engaged, aligned, and empowered. Their understanding forms the bedrock of a robust and lively democracy. Instead of merely discussing democracy in academic and formal settings, we must connect with the people to gauge their experiences. This will help us tailor a model that truly fits their needs, as there is a palpable frustration on the ground about how this concept has been applied so far,” said Hon. Chief Charumbira.

 He added:” For democracy to work leaders must be accountable to their citizens. We, therefore, must be prepared to challenge and interrogate all the aspects of democracy without fear or favour and in a transparent manner. For instance, voting is not an end in itself but a means to democracy.”

The President of the Pan-African Parliament also indicated that the African Union must put in place a stronger institutional framework with clear accountability mechanisms to sustain the democratic aspirations of the Continent.

“One of the key functions of the Pan-African Parliament is to promote human rights and consolidate democratic institutions and culture, good governance, transparency, and the rule of law by all AU organs, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Member States. Given the limited resources and powers of this Parliament under the current predisposition, it is evident that the commitment to pursue this ideal lacks the necessary impetus. The same goes for the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, whose Protocol is yet to be ratified by Member States. Is it possible to talk about democracy at the continental level without a strong Parliament and a strong court?", asked Hon. Chief Charumbira.

The AGA-SP end of project close out and dissemination underway in Nairobi aims to raise awareness among a wider constituency of stakeholders and beneficiaries on the AGA scope and activities that were implemented. This includes the activities of all project stakeholders notably African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR), African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Pan-African Parliament (PAP), African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), AGA-APSA Secretariat, Charter Africa Project, Data for Governance Alliance and Expertise France. The two-day also seeks to provide a platform and opportunity to engage stakeholders, consolidate existing networks and to jointly communicate successes, results and lessons learned. Finally, it will seek to deliver critical inputs in the sustainability of the AGA-SP project and prepare.

Conceptualized and implemented within the framework of a reform process led by the African Union Commission to strengthen its structural and operational effectiveness, AGA-SP’s quest was to contribute to the achievement of Aspiration 3 and 6 of the African Union’s Agenda 2063: An Africa of good governance, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law (Aspiration 3) and: An Africa, whose development is people driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children (Aspiration 6).