The last year has seen significant mobilisation from the African Union in response to several instances of unconstitutional changes of government that have taken place in a number of member states. Part of this response has been the convening of a Reflection Forum on UCG hosted by the Republic of Ghana on 15-17 March 2022 as well as the AU Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and UCG held on 28 May 2022 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. ECOSOCC aims to add to the ongoing discourse on UCG by co-convening a Citizens’ Forum on UCG that will explore the societal dimensions of regime change and propose a program of action to ensuring non-recurrence.
Consequently, a technical workshop was held in Lusaka, Zambia to develop the conceptual documentation as well as a proposed work program for the forum. The workshop also developed a draft text for inclusion in the outcome document of the AU Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and UCG, which was subsequently submitted to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
ECOSOCC Secretariat Head of Programs, Mr. Kyeretwie Osei observed that the continental frameworks which exists to discourage unconstitutional changes of government do not seem to be achieving their deterrent effect, thus requiring a re-examination of the continental and regional protocols on UCG with particular regard to the role of civil society.
Ms Adwoa Coleman, Advisor on Policy Organs for the Chairperson of the African Union Commission noted with satisfaction that CSOs had been given a space and allowed to play a pertinent role in the affairs of the continent.
“With the recent re-emergence of UCG and increasing terrorism and insurgency incidence, it is refreshing that ECOSOCC, in its policy advisory role, is looking to engage CSOs to place a key role in its mandates,” she said.
Ambassador Sallah Hammad, Head of AGA-APSA Secretariat (PAPS) noted that the AU’s current instruments that deal with UCG had failed to address the issue of coup d’états.
“Sanctions from the African Union as a continental organization and the RECs, especially economic sanctions, are no longer an effective reaction to coups as they do not affect the leaders in these countries, but the ordinary citizens,” he said.
The Citizens’ Forum on Democracy and UCG is not meant to compete with any of the ongoing AU-led processes on the topic, but to serve a complementary function by engaging frontline CSOs across the continent to deliberate and formulate policy inputs and a program of action to support the AU institutional architecture in efforts to ensure non-recurrence.
The three-day workshop had in attendance representatives from ECOSOCC, the African Union Commission, and leading civil society organizations from across the continent.