Democratic Governance.

Democratic governance. The EAC Treaty ( Article 3.3a), supports: “adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice”, as one of the main criteria for admission into EAC membership. Over the last 30 yrs (CSOs) promoted peoples’ participation & democratic governance, advocating for transparency, accountability and defending human rights. As a result, democratic practices improved over the last 2 decades across Africa, including East Africa. However democracies remain fragile, hence the necessity of sustained CSO activity, to engage governments to institutionalize gains realized. The unfortunate trend of events in Madagascar, Guinea Bissau and Mali are a rude reminder that a lot still needs to be done to entrench constitutionalism on the African continent. EACSOF sees opportunities in policy advocacy at EAC and AU level, election monitoring and engagement in negotiations and implementation of international agreements, especially those related to trade facilitation. Although there are disparities in strength of CSOs among EAC Partner States, as a combined voice we have great potential to influence public policy and practice in our region. Civil society is convinced that true democracy and good governance translates into accelerated socio-economic growth and development. The focus of EACSOF will be promotion of shared ideals of good governance and democratization across the EAC. In this regard EACSOF seeks to encourage EAC Partner States to enter a Governance and Democratic Charter to operationalize Articles 3 and 6 of the EAC Treaty. Overall objective 1: To make the East African Community integration a pro people process. This objective shall be achieved through the following strategies: Strategies for Action on Democratic Governance by East African CSOs: Engage with EAC organs for the speedy conclusion the Draft Protocol on Good Governance, adoption, ratification, implementation and monitoring. Fast truck EAC Regional Charter on Human Rights / Democratic Governance and promulgate one EAC Federal Constitution; Civic Space Protection and Establish a model form of the Freedom of Information law. Advocate for democratization of access to power across the region through a common EAC position on term limits, harmonized electoral laws and shared EAC Electoral Commission; Promote active participation of CSOs in Civic Education and Election Observatory Processes across boundaries, especially during general elections; Restoring of Presidential Term limits in all Partner States sensitization activities on elections and the use of electoral gadgets Institute a mechanism to track transparency and accountability among the Partner States Speed up enactment of the EAC Anti-corruption Act as well as Access to information Act and explore the role of women leaders in strategic positions in the fight against corruption; Therefore EACSOF seek to work in partnership with EALA to accelerate integration through legislation. CSOs together with EALA will promote legislative drafting at regional level and reach out to national parliaments in Partner States to advocate for timely domestication of regional law. The existence of enabling laws will underpin clear guidelines and accountability mechanisms for harmonized implementation of integration processes to the benefit of East African citizens.