A "culture of conservatism" : How and why African Union member states obstruct the deepening of integration (21 pages)

Document rating:
  3.0 out of 5
Vote this doc:
background image

9


which does not take country size, population, and financial contribution
to the AU into account.

An analysis of the APRM comes to a similar conclusion. The

fact that there is a monitoring mechanism that oversees democratic
and socio-economic development is remarkable; yet, as mentioned
above, the yardstick shall be the consistency and earnestness of the
process itself, and in this regard there is room for improvement (South
African Institute of International Affairs 2006; APRM Monitor 2006;
Jordaan 2006; Herbert and Gruzd 2008, Natielsé 2009; Boumghar
2009). So the questions arise as to whether the signatory states of the
APRM really want to be monitored and as to whether they will accept
the critique they receive and implement the proposed plan of action.

The APRM Forum, the highest committee of the APRM initiative,

used to be chaired by Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's then Prime Minister,
before Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took over, following
Meles' death. During his time, Ethiopia was only ranked as 'partly
free' (Freedom House Index 2008). Meles did not have a clean record
in terms of good governance and democracy. Ethiopia's government
silenced domestic opposition in 2001 (Africa Research Bulletin 2001)
and in the aftermath of the 2005 and 2008 elections (Tronvoll 2009:
449-474). During the 2010 elections there was also reportedly fraud
(European Union 2010). How can a leader with such credentials chair
an institution that wants to see democracy and good governance
flourish? With the election of Liberia's President and Nobel Peace
Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as new APRM chairperson in May
2013, there are hopes that she might lend more legitimacy and earnest-
ness to the review process. Yet the problem remains that African
leaders review and discuss the final reports among themselves before
publication, with some of them turning a blind eye to shortcomings in
other countries because they expect similar treatment.

Several APRM member states have tried to influence their

APRM report. The Mbeki-administration of South Africa, for example,
appears to have been dissatisfied with the draft report and tried to
whitewash it before publication (Mail and Guardian 2007). A draft that
was discussed during a national conference on the APRM was later
"considerably revised and downscaled, with many specific recommenda-
tions removed without explanation" (Herbert and Gruzd 2008: 264).
The South African Institute of International Affairs compiled a 60-page
comparison between the draft discussed at the national conference

Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 1 Martin Welz

Document rating:
  3.0 out of 5
Vote this doc: