On 20th November 2019 Action Aid Uganda convened a CSO meeting on the African Governance Architecture, AU-ECOSOCC, African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance and the African Peer Review Mechanism at Royal Suites Hotel, Bugolobi. The meeting was attended by 40 people comprising of the Youth, Media, Women Organization, Media, AU-ECOSSOC Uganda Chapter and the mainstream NGOs.
AGA was established as a result of a decision made by member states to have a governance system to check themselves. Mr. Michael Aboneka, Coordinator, AGA Action Aid Uganda discussed the objectives and the major principles of AGA which include; Transparency and fairness in management of public affairs, Holding regular transparent, Effective participation of citizens in democratic processes Free and Fair Elections, Promotion of separation of powers, Promotion of Gender Equality and Youth empowerment. He noted that it is important that CSOs join efforts to ensure that the ACDEG is ratified in Uganda and also cultivate a common understanding of the AGA, mobilize Youth and CSOs to contribute, influence and be involved in the AGA processes. He stressed the need for harmonized policies, laws, a good democratic and governance culture that ensures sustained peace, development and welfare of citizens.
Mr. Richard Ssewakiryanga the Executive Director, UNNGOF shared an overview on the AU-ECOSOCC and defined the African Union as a body that brings together member states of Africa. He also informed participants that he was privileged to serve as a Presiding Officer of ECOSOCC for the last two years and that Uganda National NGO Forum hosts the AU-ECOSOCC Uganda Chapter. He discussed the mandate, structure and the general assembly of ECOSOCC as well as the role of national chapters are a framework for accountability of elected members as well as a conduit for disseminating information and mobilizing support for AU programs and activities. However, he noted ECOSOCC still has challenges of; ECOSOCC statute is due for revision, absence of a full dedicated secretariat, non-remuneration of ECOSOCC standing committee especially in regards to time spent and administration challenges.
Participants were also informed about the African Peer Review Mechanism as a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union as a self-monitoring mechanism. Mr. Ssali Simba from the Department of Political Science, MUK underscored that the performance and progress are measured in four thematic areas including; a) democracy and political governance b) economic governance and management c) corporate governance and d) socio-economic development. He also informed participants about the stages undertaken during the African Peer Review Mechanism, the role of National Governing Council and the role of Civil Society.
As way forward Action Aid Uganda informed participants that they will do the following; convene quarterly engagements on the ACDEG, develop shadow reports as Civil Society Organisations, mobilise resources to tap into the regional and global processes, continue to tag all members on twitter in the ongoing events, CSOs need to think through on how they can engage in their different capacities in these processes, advocacy team urged to select key priorities from the advocacy strategy for CSOs to engage on until April 2020, conduct community actions and thinking through reviving the Governance structures to deal with governance issues.