African states must respect constitutional rule – Akufo-Addo

The African Union (AU) member states should strive to uphold their respective national constitutions, President Akufo-Addo has advised.

The leaders, he said, were also expected to adhere to the presidential term limits in line with the rule of law to engender political stability and democratic governance.

The manipulation of democratic processes, including tampering with electoral laws, constitutional provisions and term limits with the goal of benefitting at the expense of democratic norms and principles ought not to be entertained, he cautioned.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, addressing the Second AU Reflection Forum on Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCGs), in Accra, said it was worrying that some member states were bent on undermining the Accra Declaration.

The Declaration acknowledges that the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government, expanding threat of terrorism and violent extremism across the continent, as well as transnational organised crime, are negatively impacting the peace, security, stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of some member states.

Africa continues to face structural challenges in adequately addressing the root causes of terrorism, violent extremism, and unconstitutional changes of government – a development that has exacerbated the continent’s growing political turmoil.

The Second AU Reflection Forum is on the theme, “Robust Response, Deepening Democracy, Sustainable Security.”

The two-day Forum is expected to build on the first edition held in March 2022, and on the Declaration on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa, also known as the Malabo Declaration.

The stakeholders will exchange views on consolidating democratic governance, advancing national ownership of governance processes, and strengthening constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa.

They will align on coordination and coherence to effectively implement the Malabo and Accra Declarations.

President Akufo-Addo expressed unequivocal condemnation of any ascent to power that was outside constitutional provisions and inimical to democratic norms.

The Accra Declaration, he noted, affirmed the continent’s collective commitment on the principles of zero tolerance for coup d’etats.

“When we gathered here two years ago, four members of our Union had been suspended due to their unconstitutional changes of governments in their territories.

“Today, two years later, the situation has worsened. As we gather here, six member states of the Union have been suspended for the same reasons .

“This is an extraordinary occurrence in our efforts to safeguard democracy in Africa,” he noted.

On the relevance of the Forum, the President urged the participants to take the discussions seriously since democratic governance and the rule of law were cardinal factors to enhance prosperity and development.