An array of speakers across Africa deliver papers on constitution-building

More than 40 speakers from across Africa will deliver their insightful and thought provoking papers during the Constitution-Building Conference which will take place on 6 September in Cape Town. These range of speakers comes from countries like Uganda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Nigeria, Ethopia, Kenya as well South Africa just to mention a few. These speakers will discuss themes such as limiting the state, designing state institutions, democratic and inclusive processes of constitution-making and implementing a constitution.

 These presenters include a prominent associate professor at Ethiopian Civil Service University, Assefa Fiseha who will zero in into the legislative executive relations in Ethiopia. His paper looks for factors that contribute to the perceived subjugation of an apparently supreme parliament to the executive. It then suggests some vital institutional and legal reforms that need to be taken to restore the balance in favour of parliament.

An international development practitioner with a thematic focus in the governance and rule of law sectors, and regional interest in East Africa, Melizsa Mugyenyi looks at the role of Kenya's Judiciary in safeguarding the constitution implementation process. She observes that Kenyans adopted the Constitution of Kenya 2010 - a comprehensive blueprint for national democratic reform - in an environment of acute political uncertainty. Post-promulgation and political cleavages had deepened considerably. At the same time, the Judiciary commenced extensive internal reforms. According to her assessment, a combination of fractured leadership on the one hand and a visibly reforming Judiciary on the other has led to the implementation process being safeguarded primarily through the Courts. Mugyenyi’s paper is a critical analysis of the role of the Judiciary in this context. In addition she explores how these factors will likely shape the process of constitutional implementation going forward.

As part of the proceedings, a panel of eminent experts will reflect on the relevance of the South African transition for constitution-building in Africa during a plenary armchair session. This session will be chaired by Prof. NicoSteytler, National Research Chair Multilevel Government, Law and Policy. The panel includes prominent figures that were key in the constitution making and implementation in South Africa as well as across Africa. These are Prof. Yash Pal Ghai,Mr Valli Moosa, Mr Roelf Meyerand Dr Sidney Mufamadi.

The conference aims to provide a platform for the critical engagement with current and past constitution-making processes on the continent, drawing on the comparative experience of academics and practitioners. It coincides with the 20th anniversary of the adoption of South Africa’s Interim Constitution. The Interim Constitution was the product of the negotiations between the apartheid government and the liberation movements, which had already commenced in the late 1980s.


This insightful session will be broadcast live HERE on the day of the conference at 1330hrs-UTC (1230hrs-GMT). Please visit our website, follow @UWC_CLC and like our Facebook Page: Community Law Centre.