The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance: Past, Present and Future
This article traces a genealogy of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and examines the charter's overall implementation. While there has always been a struggle between competing views of how to ensure more or less continental accountability for norms related to democratic governance in Africa, enforcement by the African Union (AU) has definitively become more robust since the ACDEG's adoption. The article argues that this development is observable in three trends: continental legalization, technocratization and judicialization of politics. It evaluates the growth of normative commitments in the field of democracy, elections and governance and their increasing consolidation into binding legal treaties; explores the increasing reliance on AU technical assistance in the implementation and interpretation of these instruments; and assesses the expanding role of continental and regional judicial bodies in enforcing commitments to democracy. Building upon a better understanding of these trends, the article identifies key contextual factors that will shape the ACDEG's future implementation.