In 2010, the African Union (AU) committed to establishing the African Governance Architecture (AGA) as a Pan-African platform to promote good governance, democracy and respect for human rights. The AGA was devised to support the implementation of objectives outlined in the legal and policy pronouncements in the AU’s shared values.
However, over the past few years, despite the efforts of this pillar, there has been a noticeable decline in democracy, governance and human rights values in some AU member states. The emergence of coups and constitutional changes has coincided with a trend in the use of transitional agreements/governments across Africa.
Many of these transitional agreements are stagnant, fail to deal with the root causes of grievances (they neglect the challenges that transitional governments must navigate), and often delay steps towards democratic consolidation. Instead they produce forms of military government that entrench authoritarian rule led by military actors who use the transitional agreements to eventually deliver electoral authoritarianism.
This paper explores the rise, implementation and effectiveness (processes) of transitional agreements in six African states. It contends that the recent launch of the AU’s Africa Facility to Support Inclusive Transitions in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme is a worthy effort for supporting transitions in Africa. However, it argues that the AU needs to strengthen the AGA pillar and put in place better provisions to support transition mechanisms. It must develop context-specific adaptive stabilisation strategies to support the different forms of transitional government(s), systems, mechanisms and institutions underpinning these transitions to avoid the emergence of an array of transitional governments that do not deliver for the affected communities.
Finally, steps must be taken to deal with the root causes of coups etc., which initially receive widespread support, but might indicate that civilian support may be linked to temporarily seeking solutions to the challenges (e.g., economic underdevelopment, centre-rural challenges, political isolation, insecurity etc.) that the government of the day has neglected to deal with.