Citizens empowered to demand implementation of the ACDEG
Many citizens are not aware of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. Through the interventions and activities carried out by the Africa We Want alliance, citizens are learning about ACDEG and getting sensitized on their rights to demand accountability.
Prosper Mubangizi, a 24-year-old young man from Uganda, has become an activist advocating for the implementation of ACDEG. He is now training other youths himself to demand a space for young people in decision-making processes. On February 24th to 28th he attended the 5th Annual National Youth Camp organised by ActionAid Uganda. He shares his thoughts:
"I am pushing to have the ACDEG included in the National Youth Manifesto for the period 2021-2026. This means that if included, it is easier for political candidates in the 2021 General Elections to make commitments towards its ratification and implementation.
I will also intensify my “Fire Place” conversation model so that more young people are sensitized about the Charter and discuss it. With the East African Youth Leaders’ Initiative on the ACDEG, we shall continue engaging the policy and decision makers in a bid to have the Charter ratified and implemented across the East African Region.
I joined the ACDEG Movement in August 2018 after attending a training by Action Aid Uganda and the East African Civil Society Organizations Forum (EACSOF) which was training youth leaders and Civil Society actors about the ACDEG. Being a university student by then and a believer in the gospel of good governance, it was easy to offer myself to advocate for good governance using the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
I have always said to people who are skeptical towards ACDEG that without streamlining our governance systems and making its structures people-centered, no change is feasible let alone sustainable.
I have always said to people who are skeptical towards ACDEG that without streamlining our governance systems and making its structures people-centered, no change is feasible let alone sustainable. Solving the governance question and finding the answers we have been seeking like affordable health care, quality education, social protection, good transport networks etc. can partly be facilitated by having the ACDEG ratified, domesticated and implemented.
This is why the focus on my advocacy for ACDEG is on articles 17-21 found in Chapter 7 of the Charter about elections as the biggest form through which power can be transferred. I am advocating for this through the Youth Coalition on Electoral Democracy (YCED) in which I am Technical Person and we are calling upon youth to vote and stand to be voted for in Uganda’s electoral processes.
My major focus has also been Chapter 6 of the ACDEG which entails articles 14-16 that talk about strengthening democratic institutions. This is an important focus given that state capture of state institutions and individualization of the state are salient features of the Ugandan and African states.
Article 30 is also very crucial to me because it advocates for youth participation.
As a civil society actor, participatory and inclusive governance, accountability and transparency, equity and social justice – which are all embedded in the ACDEG – are what inform my work and advocacy. This makes the ACDEG an easy reference point in my professional life and career. My guiding philosophy is that good governance is the perfect conduit to socio-economic and political transformation of any nation. So there is a simple, yet ideologically complex connection between the ACDEG, its guiding principles and aspirations, and my everyday life."