Politicisation of judiciary has triggered unrest in African countries – Ibn Chambas warns

Democracy declining in Africa despite periodic polls

Need to safeguard democratic institutions

Institutional capture can result in unrest

Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a former President of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, has cautioned of the consequences associated with politicising democratic institutions.

He mentioned specifically the case of the judiciary and elections management bodies.

According to him, doing so has resulted in instances of political instability in most African countries despite those countries signing up for democracy.

“Whilst majority of Africans accept elections they perceive the announcement of the results from the last elections in their countries as inaccurate.

“Another survey shows that election management bodies are one of the established public institutions. When political actors perceive an election management body, as lacking independence, it breaks down the trust and confidence in the process and makes it difficult for parties to accept the outcome of the process.

“The politicization of the judiciary in a number of counties to influence election results or to elongate the mandate of certain presidents has contributed to political instability,” Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas said.

He questioned how it is that despite periodic polls across Africa, surveys continue to show a decline in democratic principles year in and out.

“African states have organized regular elections without question but democracy continues to decline. Why are these elections not moving us towards the promised lands of development, peace and stability?” he questioned.

“There is a growing dissatisfaction with electoral processes that is fueling the emerging trend of violence and non-acceptance of electoral outcomes,” Dr Ibn Chambas stressed.

Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas made these remarks while speaking at the ‘Regional Lessons Learned and Experience sharing’ Workshop organized by the West African Network for Peace Building on Tuesday, April 26.

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