John A A Ayoade, mni
African Studies Centre
University of Pennsylvania

    Africa is the most ravaged continent. It was home to great civilizations that predated most other civilizations. But like the history of other civilizations, they blossomed and declined mostly without successor civilizations. Unfortunately, the recuperation process was halted by the worst international abuse of human rights in the form of the chatelization of human beings. Thus Africans lost their humanity and were massively exported in the illegitimate triangular trans-Atlantic trade. The practice was that of abducting and exporting men and women in their prime from the continent. It was the greatest human resource displacement in human history. The effect was a human resource gap and deficit. Human capital for development was therefore not only short in quantity but also in quality resulting first in retardation and later in retrogression of African development.

    The slave trade dispersed Africans to Europe, the United States and the Islands. In these destinations, they rendered uncompensated service under conditions which would be criminal for pets in those societies to live. Eventually the economic tide turned with the industrial revolution and it was no longer cost-effective to retain slaves. But the economic situation was not enough to end the nefarious trade. Missionaries and philanthropists carried out campaigns against slavery which eventually cost the United States a civil war. The war ended but slaves remained in chains as they fought continuous street battles to regain their humanity. As one would expect, the status of the African-American who was uprooted and for a while was without citizenship, determined most American perception of the African continent itself. This created the misperception of a 'Dark Continent' which does not describe the state of development but the unknown continent of a continent about which Pliny had said "Ex Africa semper aliquid novum". The phrase 'Dark Continent' became a justification for the imposition of colonial rule.

    The industrial revolution which signaled the death of he slave institution also initiated an equal deprivation of humanity in the form of colonialism. After the Slave Trade, the Europeans turned to what, in their view, was legitimate trade. Unfortunately, as trade progressed, the European powers discovered that trade on the basis of equality was irksome as proved by the activities of British traders in the Niger Delta. The British Consul was no longer able to guarantee compliance with trade agreements. It therefore became necessary to impose direct British authority. Thus the history of colonies is summarized by the phrase "the flag follows the trade". The scramble for African colonies was accelerated by the need for the strategic balance of power in Europe. The British used trading companies like the Royal Niger Company, the British East African Company, and the British South African Company to administer their various colonies. But in the heat of the scramble non-state actors were no match for the other European states. Africa was shared out by the European powers including Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium {as successor to Leopold II}, and Italy. The continent was subjected to all sorts and condition of administration ranging from personal rule of King Leopold II to the French ambitious project of designating African territories as France Overseas and transforming Africans into French citizens. The whole colonial project was anchored on a superior race and civilization hypothesis. Even King Leopold 1I who sufficiently infuriated his European peers by the crudity of his administration described the project as a civilizing mission. It was characterized by forced labour, heavy taxes and corporal chastisement. The French system regarded African culture as inferior and should be replaced by French culture. On the other hand, the British elevated the expediency of indirect rule into a doctrine of cultural preservation which was subject to the repugnancy doctrine that a culture merits a certificate of fitness only when it was not repugnant to British sensibility and sense of justice. It was therefore not based on the parity of cultures but one culture in the service of a master culture. Paradoxically, the British ascribed Pax Britannica to their colonies where wars were necessary to capture slaves. In the end, colonialism was not a substitute for slavery but a form of slavery in situ and at source. It manifested in the form of forced labour in the mines and plantations, forced cultivation of crops for European industries, and taxes to pay for colonial administration. The prisoner was forced to pay for his handcuffs. African reaction to colonial slavery took different forms dictated by respective philosophies of colonial administrations. In British exploitation colonies where the British did not intend to settle permanently, the transition to independence was peaceful. This was unlike the settlement colonies like South Africa, Kenya, and Southern Rhodesia. Similarly Namibia which was a trust territory administered by South Africa was liberated after a bitter struggle by the Namibians. The former French colonies were also divided between countries with substantial settlers like Algeria and the other countries. Since the French engaged themselves in the task of replicating France in all her colonies, there was no plan for independence. Algeria fought one of the bitterest wars of liberation to become independent of France. Guinea under Sekou Toure, to the utter surprise of France, led Guinea to reject the offer of membership of the French Community (Hodder 1978:124). Although France had offered the choice to the colonies, she did not expect any country to opt for independence. Guinea therefore did the 'wrong' thing by choosing freedom. France angrily granted her independence in a hurry in 1958 by destroying the rudimentary infrastructure as an object lesson for preferring freedom to colonial servitude... As one would expect, Guinea had a rough beginning and was only propped up by China. The other Francophone A frican colonies benefited from the decision of Guinea and were granted independence within two years of Guinean independence. The present Democratic Republic of the Congo was granted Independence without any serious political or administrative training. In fact, the Congo was the most deficient and factionalized country at independence in 1960. She was initiated into independence with a civil war which consumed her first President and the country recorded the first United Nations peace-keeping operation. The Portuguese colonies of Guinea Bissau, Angola and Mozambique engaged in wars of liberation which destroyed any semblance of administration which was laid by Portugal. Worse still, these were colonies in which the arsenals of the cold war were unleashed and the ever fragile political institutions were further weakened. At the time of independence, these countries were fatigued, heavily divided along ideological lines, and lacking in executive capacity. The case of Somalia which stood an excellent chance of unity was uniquely unfortunate. The Somalis were divided between five different administrations of British Somaliland, French Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Northern Kenya, and Ethiopia. They resorted to irredentist wars of unification. British and Italian Somaliland united after independence to form Somalia and in the early years of the administration of Siad Barre recorded immense progress which was later neutralized by cold war contradictions and the authoritarian regression of Siad Barre. The above was the picture of Africa which established the Organization of African Unity in 1963.

    The Battle for the Union
    Independence was a highly prized commodity. It could not have been otherwise given the African sweat and blood that was shed. Even those countries that attained independence "on a platter of gold" had enough reasons to regard independence as a priceless jewel. The African diaspora had taken serious interest in restructuring Africa. People like Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, and W E B Dubois had seen the unity of Africa as a redemptive tool for African problems. They had attended Pan-African conferences to plead the cause of Pan-africanism. In fact such conferences were held before the independence of most African countries. Marcus Garvey had started the "Back to Africa Movement" and greatly influenced much of Nkrumah's political thought. Similarly, W E B Dubois was involved in the Encyclopedia Africana Project financed by Kwame Nkrumah. The seeds of Pan-Africanism were planted abroad. This was not surprising because the African Diaspora were more easily fired to understand that African political redemption can only be achieved through continental unity. But independence must be attained before unity can be contemplated. The Gold Coast attained independent status in 1957 and many other African countries became independent in 1960 which was seen as the annus mirabilis of Africa. In fact by 1963, the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, has come to accept that the wind of change was blowing over Africa whereas Winston Churchill had said that he did not become the British Prime Minister to liquidate the British Empire.

    The Pan-African project was surely an ambitious project for the newly independent states that were simultaneously involved in nation-building and post-colonial rehabilitation. Africa, from Cape to Cairo is five thousand miles and two thousand miles broad at the narrowest extremity (Fordham 1972:17). The large land mass was made more daunting by its near insularity and inaccessibility. It is bounded on the North by the Mediterranean Sea; on the East by the Indian Ocean; and on the West by the Atlantic Ocean. As if those were not enough the Sahara Desert divide the northern half into two and thick almost impenetrable equatorial forest straddle the equator creating a debilitating mosquito infested zone. The African terrain therefore makes development a challenge particularly for recently ill-prepared independent countries with minimal executive capacity. Arnold Toynbee however argues that difficulties are not always a disadvantage. Rather, he says, "Ease is inimical to civilization … The greater the ease of environment the weaker the stimulus towards civilization." But Africa has a lot of locked-up wealth which her weak technological base combined with the strategic importance of the minerals continue to threaten her existence and development. In this sense, therefore, the abundance of strategic resources by militarily weak under-developed countries only expose them to exploitation by the stronger powers as the on-going scramble for African resources has demonstrated. It is estimated that Africa has 9.49% of world's proven reserves of oil; 8.22% of world's gas reserves and 42% of bauxite. In addition, Africa has 38% of uranium; 42% of gold; 73% of platinum; and 88% of diamonds (BP Energy Survey 2008). The continent has great potentials that paradoxically may make development difficult because of the feverish competition for these resources both locally and internationally. The resources have sometimes become a curse rather than a cure of under-development as they have turned out to be the cause and source of funding of civil wars. The civil war experience of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo prove this paradox which attracted world the attention and condemnation. Diamonds used for perpetuating wars against legitimate governments were termed "blood diamonds" under the Kimberley Process operated by forty-nine members in seventy five countries. Their mission of the Kimberley Process is to stop the traffic in such conflict diamonds.

    The emergence of Pan-Africanism

    Independence fired the pan-African spirit to ensure the complete decolonization of the Continent and superintend its development. Although the new African States were in agreement on the need for continental cooperation, they differed on the extent of such cooperation. Seven African countries Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Ghana, Guinea and Mali formed the Casablanca group in 1961. They were led by radical meta-nationalist Heads of State who proposed a United States of Africa principally to establish an African Military Command and an African Common Market. This radical proposal would have meant the loss of the recently acquired sovereignty which the more conservative countries felt was unrealistic. In 1961, seven countries (Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia Togo and Tunisia) joined the Brazzaville Group (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Dahomey, Gabon, Madagascar, Mauretania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta) to form the Monrovia Group. Unlike the Casablanca Group, the Monrovia Group advised gradualism in the Pan-African project. It accordingly proposed a loose association of African states. These two groups occupied the ideological spectrum in the 1960s. It took the mature diplomatic handling of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia to forge a unity between the two resulting in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 following the Monrovia Group caution to hasten slowly. The OAU, by its Charter, thus put a moratorium on conflicts over ideology (Oloruntimehin 2000:2).

    The OAU Charter, curiously but understandably, approved the sanctity of the colonial boundaries. Whereas the Organization was an anti-colonial response, it endorsed the colonial boundaries with all their deficiencies following the principle of uti possidetis juris. The contradiction, as it were, is understandable because countries that recently gained independence would want to avoid a spate of intra-African wars by reopening boundary issues which would make unity difficult. Africa stands out as the most politically fragmented continent with the longest land boundaries (Hodder 1978:30) totaling 50,000 miles (Griffiths 1995: 85) and awkwardly shaped states (Hodder 1978:102). Many of the states have multiple immediate neighbours with Sudan having nine and Zaire about nine (Hodder 1978:31). In addition, fourteen of the world's twenty-eight landlocked states are in Africa. They depend on neighbouring transit states for access to the sea. But despite the imperfections of colonial boundaries, they were accepted as the territorial frameworks for independence following Nyerere's advice to use them as instruments of unity rather than division (Hodder 1978:35). The Somalis who suffered most from the partition attempted to reunite the Somalis divided into five different administrations. That posed a serious problem in the Horn of Africa and left a sore relationship ever since. Secondly, The OAU adopted the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of member countries (Maathai 2009:33). This is a corollary principle of state sovereignty. It is the result of the historic battles waged by colonies to acquire sovereignty. It was also necessitated by fear of the bigger African neighbor countries that may have territorial ambitions. Early post-independence period was characterized by fear of domination. Even when there was no direct domination, it was fashionable to raise the specter of neo-colonialism particularly because most of the states remained fragile and at the risk of internal strife. The principle of non-intervention, inadvertently, tends to protect authoritarian leaders who violated citizen rights and protected regimes more than state or citizen. There have however been developments globally and in Africa and to mitigate the walls erected by the sovereignty of nations. In 2005, the African Union pioneered the principle of humanitarian intervention when a state manifestly fails to protect its populations. This is an obvious extension of the Banjul Declaration for the Protection of Human and Peoples Rights. The AU also adopted the Ezulwini Concensus of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as a tool for the prevention of mass atrocities. This followed the passage of the (R2P) by the General Assembly in September 2005. However, it must be noted that the R2P is a norm and not a law. It is based on the principle that sovereignty is a responsibility of states and not a privilege. Sovereignty is therefore deserved by the performance of states and not an automatic property of States. This is a shift away from the strict Jean Bodin definition of sovereignty held by the African States at the inception of the OAU. The Rwandan Genocide of 1994 and the stunning apathy of the world powers was the turning point in the reinterpretation which now requires the international community to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian, and other peaceful means to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The reaction of the African countries to these principles which they approve has been clumsy and only understandable in the light of their rigid adherence to old fashioned sovereignty and African solidarity. In the glaring cases of Zimbabwe and Sudan, the African countries have neither taken positive actions nor allowed such actions. This form of protection against principle has permitted the continuation of genocide in Darfur.

    There are some misgivings against the R2P on the grounds that it infringes the sovereignty of states particularly as regards military intervention. The issue was taken up by the International Commission for Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) which listed six conditions for military intervention as: (1) Just Cause, (2) Right Intention, (3) Final Resort, (4) Legitimate Authority, (5) Proportional Means, (6) Reasonable Prospect. Although these conditions are well intentioned, they are not precise. The imprecision of the conditions of intervention is also compounded by the selectivity of implementation particularly when the mass atrocities are perpetrated by the Powers. It has also been pointed out that there are possibilities of discrimination in intervention. Although both Rwanda and Kosovo predate the R2P, the interest of the Powers in Kosovo contrasted with the apathy in the case of Rwanda.

    Another development that has implications for the development of the African Peer Review Mechanism is the Right of Humanitarian Intervention which can be applied to situations beyond the mass atrocities that constitute the focus of the R2P. Apart from the fact that it applies to a broader area, it also can be carried out unilaterally unlike R2P which is carried out multilaterally with the approval of the Security Council. The Right or Duty of Intervention was coined by Mario Bettati and the French politician, Bernard Rouchner in the late 1980s. It came at a point when it was perceived that the classical definition of sovereignty is incompatible with the existence of a world-level policing arrangement that is already in place. However, the African nations are accused by Juan Mendez of the crime of "complicity with African problems."

    Africa made rapid institutional changes to suit the spirit of the times. First at the 37th session of the Heads of State and Government in Lusaka, Zambia in July, 2001, the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) was established. This was aimed at fast tracking economic cooperation and integration among African countries based on two guiding principles of comparative advantage and poverty reduction. The establishment of NEPAD was anchored on the statement that "The hopes of Africa's peoples for a better future can no longer rest on the support of imaginary others" although it is still based on the expectation of donor support. This was followed by changing the OAU into the African Union on July 9, 2002 to align the organization with the new demands of the development of Africa. The OAU had been established in 1963 for three main reasons: to decolonize the entire continent, promote unity, and effect economic and social development. By 2002, it could be argued that the decolonization of Africa in the form of direct physical domination had been achieved. The promotion of African unity was a mission in progress while the socio-economic development remains disturbingly "kept-in-view" in most African countries. Socio-economic development had remained a forlorn hope for different reasons. First, the unsettled issues of governance, ethnicity, ascendancy and hegemony which were choreographed, ignored, or bullied into temporary abeyance by the colonial governments re-emerged forcefully to divert and dominate the attention of nascent post-independence African governments. Some of these issues resulted in civil wars that gulped men and materials essential for development. The scars of such wars are prominently displayed in Somalia, Western Sahara, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the inter-lacustrine region of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. These troubled countries, to a large extent, have defined modern Africa to the outside world. The second demobilizer of socio-economic development is what Sandbrook identified as "an adaptation of colonial inspired political structures and processes in a patrimonial or neo-patrimonial direction"(Sandbrook 1985:12). Some of them embraced different brands of socialism which were attractive to them because they satisfy the political lust of African leaders for monocratic rule. Thus many of them invented a conjunction between African traditional political tenure and the exogenous system. The results are regimes without legal dissent where opposition to misrule was a crime and governance was a privilege to the citizens. The rulers demanded reverence, behaved like "tropical gangsters" and took on titles and sometimes uniforms to create the myth of personality. Their performance confirms the observation of Judah Grundstein that "(N)ations are guided by both interests and individuals. The former are not always clear and the latter are not always prescient". The most devastating effect of the ideological experiments in the era of the cold war was that it turned Africa into a surrogate theatre for war between the East and the West. The self-veneration of these African leaders was further complicated by the prescription of fatal salvation of the World Bank which resulted in "Africicde", the wiping out the African middle class. The externally-driven solutions matched the internal inefficiencies to halt development on the continent and reversed the hope of independence about which Okot p'Bitek wrote:

    Crippled by the cancer
    Of Uhuru
    Far worse than
    The yaws of
    The walls of hopelessness
    Surround me completely,
    There are no windows
    To let in the air
    Of hope!

    The prescription by Africa's eternal overseers was compounded by the low international prices for primary commodities that cost Africa to lose about $50 billion in 1980s and early 1990s. The consequence was an economic decline resulting in Afro-pessimism that was captured by the title of Basil Davidson's 1974 book: Can Africa Survive? In fact to Afro-pessimists like Richburg, Johnson, Kaplan, Michaels and Hitchens, development was a waste of scarce resources. The Economist joined the club of the skeptics in May 2000 when it called Africa "the hopeless continent": a point which the New York Times followed up in October of the same year by announcing that Africa was "Back to Despair". These vilifications resulted in disillusionment and donor aid fatigue which drastically reduced Africa's competitiveness for foreign investment. Some other people, however, argue that the economic down-turn of Africa carries a fear factor as Abdou Diouf of Senegal was quoted to have said, sarcastically, in 1985 "Our last trump card is our capacity for nuisance".

    The Rise of Afro-optimism
    Despair soon gave way to hope as Afro-optimists argue that the energy and perseverance of the African peoples portend hope for the future of the continent. The Afro-optimists admit the poor performance of the continent since independence but deny the assertion that there is a regression since the termination of colonialism. Instead, they hold the view that a bright future awaits the continent and that future will be crafted by the Africans themselves. In effect, Africans will take ownership of that development in both principle and execution. They envisage "fifty three countries but one continent". The new paradigm of development was stated clearly on September 22, 2010 at the UN General Assembly by the President of Malawi and Chairman of the African Union, Mr Bingu wa Mutharika when he declared

    I want to present to you another Africa…This is the Africa of new hopes and new possibilities… I have come to inform this world body that Africa has decided to shift from Afro-pessimism to Afro-optimism (

    This new position had been reflected in the opening statement of the African Union that "(T)he time has come to build an integrated Africa, a prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by our own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena". This is what Mafeje calls Africanity which is an expression of a historically determined common will of rebellion against domination by others (Mafeje 2001:14).It is important to note that the African self-imagination re-entered African discourse through South Africa. Apartheid has created a pernicious black and white dichotomy. Steve Biko had asserted the right to resistance (Ngugi wa Thiong'o 2008:102) which is particularly meaningful in the context of South Africa. He emphasized this right by insisting that "It is better to die for an idea that lives than to live for an idea that dies" (ibid: 103).That resistance was seen by Robert Sobukwe as the African struggle "for the right to call our souls our own" (ibid: 107) - a sovereign consciousness rooted in black self- imagination. Nelson Mandela saw the destruction of Carthage as the end of an African era and proposed the new African Renaissance (ibid: 101) which is critical to the construction of an equitable and secure world order. Thabo Mbeki combined the black self consciousness of Sobukwe with the African Renaissance of Mandela in 1996 when, in the same spirit of pregnant inclusiveness, he said "I am an African". He portrayed an African renaissance persona ever hopeful and determined to define for themselves who they are as well as who they want to be. According to Mbeki, the elements of the African renaissance are social cohesion, democracy, economic rebuilding all of which will transform Africa into a player in world affairs. However, Prof Okumu argued that development encompasses more than the economic and the elements of African humanism as social inclusion, hospitality and general sharing must be taken into account. All these pronouncements are part of the African rebranding process to rebut Afro-pessimism and offer a collective redemptive meditation. The new resolve is a unique development paradigm shift urging Africans to claim ownership as crafters of their own future and stop being wards of 'benevolent' guardians. This shift is based on the realization that the hopes of African peoples for a better life can no longer rest on the magnanimity of imaginary others. African leaders now assert that the true genius of a people is measured by its consummate capacity for its own development. The liberation of South Africa marked the beginning of this new consciousness or what Ngugi termed "the key to the social liberation of the continent" (ibid: 105). It is no surprise that Thabo Mbeki, then President of South Africa along with Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal), Abdoulaziz Bouteflika (Algeria) established the New Partnership for African Development in 2001 marking a shift from colonialism to development in line with the conversion of the OAU to AU. The OAU had been established in 1963 to inter alia pursue the liberation of the rest of the continent from colonial rule. NEPAD was established as the implementation arm of the African Union Commission although it initially appeared as a stand-alone institution with the headquarters at Midrand in South Africa. This situation was corrected in February 2010 at the 14th AU Assembly established the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency as a technical agency of the AU to replace the NEPAD Secretariat. By this act, NEPAD was integrated into the AU and, of course with it, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). NEPAD is designed as a combination of two interlocking partnerships: the partnership between African Governments and their people, and the partnership Africa and the rich nations of the world (Bing-Pappoe 2010 (2):4). The second partnership is both to position Africa in a new world order and indicate the need for international support. NEPAD would need about $64 billion annually for her rolling cycle of activities (ibid: 4). The APRM , which is an arm of NEPAD, is an organically evolved home-grown initiative of self-monitoring aimed at the dissemination of best practices and the amelioration of governance deficits among AU members. It is a deliberate attempt to speak with an African voice to African nations whose members volunteer for a self assessment process and constructive peer dialogue for sharing information and experiences to reinforce best practices in Africa. Some people however think that the APRM is not really an African initiative. Rather it "is wholly a creation of the G8 or … attempt by Africa to meet the demands of the G8" (Bing-Pappoe 2010(2): 5). It is therefore not driven by African concerns. Its voluntary compliance requirement proves that it is not even an African concensus. Being voluntary only equates it with a 'soft law' regime which is driven by collegial dialogue, persuasion, friendly pressure, rather than law. The APRM respects the sovereignty of its members and only thirty of the fifty-three (56.6%) members of the African Union have acceded to it. Apart from the fact that membership is voluntary, Article 32 of the Memorandum of Understanding also enshrined the right of withdrawal. This is particularly important because the sovereignty of states demands it and the principles of domestic jurisdiction and the doctrine of territorial inviolability necessitate it. Furthermore, the Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic, and Corporate Governance which recommended the establishment of the APRM, implicitly guaranteed the freedom of action to the states. Article 8 of the MoU adopted at the 2003 Abuja NEPAD meeting defined the objectives of the APRM as eradication of poverty, promotion of sustainable growth and development, integration of Africa into world economy, and acceleration of women empowerment. This is to be achieved through a new approach to governance where policy reform is driven by domestic constituents rather than externally driven accountability to development partners. It is also unique because it is devoid of external conditionalities (Gambari 2003: n.p). It is a unique example of south-south peer review. "No other regional grouping has committed itself to similar peer review on political as well as economic governance issues" (AFRIMAP summary and Conclusions 2010: 1) In fact, the APRM is based on the premise that the dismal economic performance of Africa is the effect of bad governance. The process is aimed at addressing governance deficit by making frankness, debate, differences of opinion and criticism less threatening and more acceptable to Africa. The APRM is therefore a new departure in African governance (Bing-Pappoe 2010:144) to foster development strategies at regional and continental levels (ibid: 149). However, it raises certain critical questions. The first is why the laudable goals of general African development only require the voluntary endorsement of members as if development is optional. The second critical question is how Africa will secure for herself the near-isolationist freedom to forge a new global partnership without an independent source of funding. Each member of the APRM is required to contribute US$100,000 annually with contributions from development partners such as Canada, the United States and UNDP. In 2007, the APRM reported a revenue of US$17.4m with 60.7% of it coming from development partners. Most of the African members defaulted. By 2006, 62% of the operating funds came from African countries and 60% of that came from Nigeria and South Africa. If ownership has anything to do with funding then the African countries have collectively demonstrated that they have financial challenges. The situation is even more glaring when the countries are disaggregated. Both South Africa and Nigeria bear a disproportionate share of the financial burden. The cost of the process imposed too much burden on some members like Rwanda that depends on aid for 90% of its capital expenditure. The 2005-2007 budgets for the Rwandan internal APRM process was US$2,426,050.00 out of which Rwandan Govern ment was only able to raise 50%. The Rwandan APRM process was finally funded by contributions as follows: Rwanda $100,000; UNDP $500,000; DFID $540,000; UNICEF $60,000; and UNIFEM $21,000 (Ligues des Droit 2010: 303). This meant that Rwanda only contributed .00081% of funds for the internal national process showing a gross lack of domestic carrying capacity. Similarly, Burkina Faso demonstrated insufficient financial resources (Natielse 2009: 23).

    Ownership is not only tied to finance. It also has to do with the idea. In the first place, it was an idea by the Heads of State and Government taken behind closed doors. It is by no means a bottom-up idea because it is not rooted in the people. Even after that decision was taken by the leaders, the citizens were hardly briefed or carried along by their leaders. The reaction of the citizens of Lesotho to the peer review of their country, as we shall show later, confirms the disconnect between the government and the people in most African countries. APRM is supposed to be rooted in the citizens through the participation of the civil society in the country review process. Experience of the process in the various countries shows a heavy state presence with little citizen input. Some governments select the civil societies to work with or sack 'un-cooperative' civil societies. Some other governments 'outwit' civil societies for endorsement while others ban them. It has therefore been difficult to transform the APRM from a government mechanism to a people mechanism through citizen involvement whereas ownership and leadership are its core principles.

    Comparative Peer Review
    It is important to note that the APRM benefited from the practice in other countries. In fact the OECD claims that "The success with peer review has encouraged other organizations such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to adopt this tool…" (OECD 2008: 8). Peer review lies at the heart of international cooperation in the OECD which believes that there are three main prerequisites for the success of peer review, namely: value sharing, mutual trust, analytical credibility of the peer review process, and commitment to compliance. It is a policy-relevant interaction to help participants improve their policies and comply with laid down standards and principles. Although the emphasis is on the non-adversarial assessment of the policies and performance of a country by other countries, it also entails experience-sharing and mutual learning. Thus peer review is non-rating and non-hierarchical. The reviewers are not superior to the countries they review but the collective wisdom of the participants identify best practice solutions to the problems of the country under review on the basis of collegiality. The interaction is driven by the exchange of policy-relevant information while the total review process also builds the capacity of the reviewed states. One distinguishing mark of the OECD review is that it is not an omnibus review but single issue reviews like telecommunications, education, agriculture, or cross-border tax evasion as the 2010 review of eighteen countries. It therefore can be focused and subject the country's policies to her peers and experts for detailed scrutiny. The review is not aimed at dissemination of information to the public but rather as a policy action although it would be advisable that the report is made public because it can help secure public support for such policies.

    The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted the peer review mechanism after the Asian crisis of 1997 and reviews were institutionalized as the ASEAN Surveillance Process (ASP) on October 4, 1998. For them, peer review is a tool for regional policy dialogue. Among other objectives, it is to achieve a single market and production base through exchange of information and discussion of economic and financial development of member states. It will highlight possible policy options as well as recommend appropriate unilateral or multilateral actions. The Surveillance Process will include an early warning system and a peer review process to enhance macroeconomic and financial system of the region. The ASP however complements its regional focus with international commitment to monitor and discuss global economic and financial developments which could have implications for the region. To a large extent, the ASP reflects a preponderant financial concern having been thrown up by the financial crisis of 1997. It may however monitor any other specific areas including structural or sectoral issues with the approval of the ASEAN Select Committee. Unlike the APRM, all members of the ASEAN are required to participate in the ASP which is based on the principles of informality and peer review. While the ASP pledges to complement the global surveillance exercise undertaken by the IMF, the APRM could not have made the same pledge bearing in mind the deleterious effects of Bretton Woods conditionalities on the African continent.

    APRM Performance
    Peer review in Africa has precedents in the African University system as well as examples from other experiments in other parts of the world. It still had unique features of its own. Academic peer review is based on anonymity and independence of the reviewer, as well as multiple journal outlets. The reviewer is shielded and protected away from the candidate who must obey the review ethics by not approaching the reviewer if per chance the reviewer is known. The anonymity of academic reviews tends to free the reviewer from being held accountable for views expressed. It is therefore radically different from the APRM where the peer reviewer is known to the state being reviewed. It is also different because the APRM provides an opportunity in the Peer Review Forum for peer dialogue between the reviewer and reviewed state thus satisfying the principle of audi alterem patem. Ultimately, the report is adopted through the collective wisdom of participants after a mix of formal recommendations, informal dialogue, public scrutiny, public opinion, and comparisons (Kanbur 2004). As was pointed out earlier, APRM is also different from the OECD peer review which reviews one issue or functional area at a time. OECD review addresses more policy and administrative rather than governance issues because, by and large, governance is regarded as a settled issue unlike in Africa where governance is at the heart of all problems. The APRM identifies four possible types of review, namely (1) Base Review, (2) Periodic Review, (3) Requested Review, and (4) Crisis Review. A Base Review is carried out within eighteen months of a country's accession to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). A Periodic Review takes place every two to four years. It is only the Base and the Periodic Reviews that are mandatory. The Requested Review is at the request of a member country while a Crisis Review takes place at the early signs of political and economic crisis. Since the coming into operation of the APRM, no country has availed itself of the opportunity of a requested review and neither has there been a crisis review even when a good number of the countries in Africa are in permanent crisis. The mandatory reviews cover four thematic areas of Democracy and Political Governance; Economic Governance and Management; Corporate Governance; and Social and Economic Development. Perhaps, as one should expect, it was not easy to decide on the modalities. In fact the resistance came from the most unexpected quarters. Thabo Mbeki, who arguably was a leading light in establishing the APRM, was alleged to have opposed the inclusion of political governance in the peer review. Although he denied the allegation, he insisted that AU institutions were more appropriate to deal with some issues. This view was countered by Jean Chretien who observed that AU institutions were too politicized to produce objective reports. Be that as it may, apart from peer pressure which is very weak, membership of the APRM is voluntary which accounts for why only thirty states have joined. Furthermore, the MoU is not a treaty and therefore does not bind any of the subscribing members (Hansungule 2007:8). Some people however think that peer review only needs legitimacy rather than legality although that makes it just a loose organization. The lack of definitive legal status is deliberate and flows directly, if imperceptibly, from the rigid observance of the sovereignty of member states. We will illustrate with some countries reviewed to assess the performance of the APRM.

         The Algerian President Abdoulaziz Bouteflika, one of the founding fathers of the APRM, described the peer review of his country as an 'audit of Algeria by Africa' (Boumghar 2009: 23) and announced his wish to make Algeria a model of transparency - une maison de verre (ibid:23). Algeria has a serious governance problem being authoritarian lacking in the tradition of civic dialogue. The National Governing Council was unrepresentative. Organizations classified as 'politically sensitive' were excluded from the NGC as part of the practice of preventing the emergence of a pluralistic society. In the same vein, the National Self Assessment Report was not presented to the public thus raising doubts about ownership and participation. The heavy dose of government control of the process to the exclusion of the citizens depicts peer review as a government rather than country mechanism (Hansungule 2007: 20). The disconnect between government and the citizens results in the institutionalization of riots as a tool of civic participation. Algeria is a highly centralized state with almost all things revolving around the President and Algiers. The President exercises immense powers. He appoints one-third of the Senate and has power to legislate by order, even on financial matters without reference to Parliament. Article 74 of the Algerian Constitution was amended to remove term limits and allow Bouteflika to run for a third term on November 15, 2008. This was a 'constitutional rape' and contravenes the Accra recommendation of the APRM team of July 1, 2007. The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (Art 23) forbids unconstitutional change of government which includes any amendment or revision of the Constitution or legal instruments. The constitutional amendment in Algeria contravenes this charter but it went unchallenged. On the contrary, the AU suspended Mauretania after the August 28, 2008 coup and ordered a return to constitutional rule (McMahon 207:3). The APRM also went ahead at the October 2008 Special Summit in Cotonou to suspend her but failed to query Algeria for having imposed a state of emergency for over fifteen years.

         Corruption was found to be rife in the Algerian society and politics in spite of the fact that Algeria ratified the UN Convention on August 25, 2004. It became a basic part of life for Algerians and was in fact the key domestic issue. The El Khalifa Group siphoned out about $689 million out of the country resulting in the stunning collapse of Khalifa Bank, the country's biggest private bank. The affair revealed the laxness of Algerian authorities as well as a high degree of powerlessness in the state.

         Algeria however has some bright side. It is making serious efforts in the area of national reconciliation and has established a community policing system which has improved security in the country. The country is also taking steps to rectify gender inequality by setting up an Observatory of the Employment of Women in the Ministry of Energy and Mines. It also set up the National Association in Support of Children in Difficulty and in Institutions (ANSEDI).

         Benin Republic is the first West African francophone country to complete the APRM process. It led in the democratization process in the 1990s and it sees the "APRM as a way to assess the society and to create a space for dialogue between citizens and leaders about the issues of governance" (Badet 2008: 80). Benin also believes that peer review will enhance the democratic process that it started in the 90s. It therefore took definite steps for governance quality improvement by setting up the National Governance Commission. The National Programme of Action 2008-2015 estimated to cost US$2.6 billion. Opinion in Benin about APRM was however critical. Some complained that the assessment was conducted by foreigners who do not know the realities of Benin while others saw APRM as an irrelevant metaphysical utopia. There were other criticisms. Citizens complained about political opportunism and unethical behavior of Beninois politicians. This is worsened by public corruption and amateurism in economic management. Vulnerable groups like women and children are marginalized.

         Overall, however, "No study in living memory had ever been conducted so exhaustively or had ever given the Beninese society the chance to speak out to the same extent" (Ibid: 22). The participatory tradition reminiscent of the Sovereign National Conference of the 1990s came alive again although the report of the self assessment was not made public (ibid: 21). Benin scored very high in the management of social peace. Elections are held as and when due with near flawless democratic alternation. It is no surprise that there is relative respect for human rights, the rule of law, separation of powers and the constitution. The Constitutional Court performs its oversight role with dignity unlike the recent partisan act of the Ivorian Constitutional Court in cancelling the votes of the opposition candidate, Alassane Quattara.

         Burkina Faso chose a wrong time (2005-2007) for the Peer Review. This was the period of election as the Presidential election took place in 2005 while the Parliamentary election took place in 2007. The process was hasty and consequently it was not well publicized. There was a very poor understanding of the process by the public resulting in limited popular adherence. The civil society was hardly carried along and the process was under the heavy hands of government. The process was also cash-strapped.

         Ghana is one of the first countries to undergo peer review. The process adopted for the Country Self Assessment was very professional. The four Technical Research Institutes used were all non-governmental organizations (Bing- Pappoe 2010:145) thus showing little government interference. Apart from the fact that the questionnaire could be more user-friendly, the report demonstrated a political will to make a success of the project. Since the presentation to the Peer Review Forum, Ghana has kept to the schedule for the submission of reports. It has also gone ahead to actualize partnership by entering into a mutual agreement with Uganda on July 21, 2009 to collaborate and share experiences on the modalities for the implementation of the APRM (Ghana News Agency July 22, 2009). Ghana, Togo and Benin have also jointly established the West African Centre for the Advancement of APRM to concretize and further peer learning and experience sharing. At its meeting from October 18-20, 2010, it recommended the establishment of such sub-regional centers. In addition, Ghana has embarked on the practical supervision of the implementation by setting up District Oversight Committees as follows: Upper West Region 9; Northern Region 16: Brong Ahafo 22; Ashanti 26. It projected to set up others as follows: Volta 4; Greater Accra Region 3; Central Region 7; and Western Region 17 (Ibid). Ghana put in place a unique democratic process by establishing the Annual Governance Forum and the People's Parliament to discuss developments on the National Programme of Action (NPoA). It is also important to note the Ghana has been the oasis of peace in the turbulent region. It reduced the size of the cabinet and more importantly passed a long-awaited law to protect whistleblowers just as Uganda did to protect witnesses (Chene, n.d.:7-8).

         There are however significant challenges thrown out by the review. The country has a bloated cabinet of 88 members in 2006 in spite of its heavy dependence on foreign aid. The cost of implementing the NPoA US$3.6 billion is a high 5.6% of her GDP (Bing-Pappoe (2):9). This is difficult to explain because Ghana was not given to political jobbery. The membership of Ghana's National Governing Council of the APRM was a moderate 7 while Nigeria's was 250 and the African average was 67.

         Kenya was one of the pioneer countries in the APRM. The Kenyan Report was strong on data of the political, social, cultural and economic situation in Kenya. The report was also good in what it did but the process was not as empowering and inclusive as expected (Akoth 2010:187). It was more of a data collection exercise than an effective appraisal to generate debate (ibid: 190). It was a state-centric process dominated by government officials. The National Governing Council was not independent. In fact on July 20 2005, the Minister, Prof Ayang Nyongo removed the Chair of the NGC, Grace Akumu, and two members: Ambassador Orie Rogo-Manduli and Prof Shanyisa Khastani. The Police followed this by sealing off the NEPAD office to prevent them from gaining access to the office. The action of the Minister was challenged in court although the case was later dismissed by the High Court in October 2005 (ibid: 203). The Minister had shown that the process was not going to be autonomous having announced in April 2004 that government would select the non-state actors to participate in the APRM implementation (ibid; 192). The report recommended a 'new moral governance code" for Kenya emphasizing accountability rather than non-interference (ibid: 190). The APRM Eminent Persons Country Report surprisingly described Kenya as a "bastion of stability" while noting, at the same time that ethnic strife is prominent in the calculus of power. It also expressed concern over the neglect of North-East Kenya where the people are disillusioned against government and the divisive methods of the Kenyan African National union. The country is gripped by corruption and government's lack of political will was demonstrated by the escape of the anti-corruption chief, John Githongo, to Britain.

         Mauritius is a multi-ethnic society with Indo-Mauritians in the majority (68%), Creoles 27%, Sino- Mauritians 2% and Franco-Mauritians 2% (Bunwaree 2010: 236). It is also a middle income country with a relatively good development prospect. The Report shows, however, that it suffers from lack of common national vision among the main political actors translating into a poor understanding and appreciation of the objectives of the peer review mechanism. The review process was dominated by government with insignificant participation of the civil society, but even with that, it was marred by a poor communication strategy and funding requirements. It did not receive much external funding because of its middle income status for while the UNDP gave Ghana $800,000 and Rwanda 500,000, Mauritius got only $200,000 (ibid:236).

         The report however indicated that Mauritius has institutionalized democracy and has a very vibrant public service (Gruzd: 2010). It has shown considerable economic resilience as a result of the entrepreneurial drive of its population and the entreport location of the country. Its social policy for the elderly is very good. The challenges are however very daunting. It has not been very successful in the management of its ethnic diversity to evolve a common nationhood and the Rodriguez Island about 550 km from Mauritius is not fully integrated into the nation. There is a high level of political corruption and, perhaps for the same reason, there are pockets of poverty characterized by the feminization of poverty (ibid).

         The review of Nigeria showed the gap between international posturing, which to some extent, gave birth to APRM and domestic realities. The President of Nigeria, Gen Olusegun Obasnjo, one of the moving spirits behind the establishment of APRM described the 2007 election in Nigeria as a "do or die affair" throwing away all the niceties in the democratic aspirations of the APRM. The Peer Review process in Nigeria started with the domestication of the questionnaire. It was observed that :the questionnaire did not have a feel of homegrown peculiarities … (and was) too in-depth for people" (Jinadu 2010:260). The National focal point ran a pretest of the questionnaire following which a decision was taken to unbundle and simplify it. It was also translated into the three major languages. Four technical research institutes were contracted to produce the Country Self Assessment Report. Ostensibly, the Report was discussed at different fora. The public dialogue process by the civil society was however truncated by corruption which the focal person, Ambassador Tunji Olagunju said "held back economic growth and development and frustrated incentives to align budgetary allocation with development priorities" (Ojiabor 2011: n.p. ). Civil Society members were invited to check into hotels at various centres prior to the meeting only to be confronted with the surprise at one of the centres, Gateway Hotel, Ijebu Ode that they were financially responsible for their own accommodation. Many members of the civil society left the venue in anger knowing that there was a budgetary allocation for their accommodation. The effect was that the civil society was screened by manipulating the accommodation. It was no surprise that the civil society threatened to conduct its own parallel 'shadow assessment' (Jinadu 2010: 286). The APRM would have recorded the biggest success in Nigeria if it could deal with the issue of corruption. A former World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz said that Nigerians stole $300 billion in four decades. Even the Nigerian Conference of Bishops said "Corruption is a way of life, especially in government and business and responsible in large measure for broken promises, dashed hopes and shallow dreams that have characterized the lives of Nigerians (Ojiabor 2011: n.p. ). This is not a recent phenomenon as the Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority said in the University of Benin Convocation Lecture in 2004 that development eluded Nigeria because the Nigerian political class was behaving "like a child born drunk" (Vanguard December 5, 2010). The same view was expressed by the Governor of the Nigeria Central Bank, Mr Lamido Sanusi, that "as a country we cannot continue to spend our money on recurrent and overheads if we want to develop" (The Nation, December 7, 2010). The observation was sequel to the fact that the National Assembly spends 25% (N136.2 billion) of total Federal Government overheads (N536.27 billion) as contained in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (Vanguard, December 5, 2010). Nigeria has not shown enough political will to put corruption at bay and so, like Kenya, forced Nuhu Ribadu, the anti-graft boss to exile in 2008 (Ribadu 2010: 85).

         One of the cardinal objectives of the APRM is to eradicate poverty on the African Continent. Nigeria, the world's sixth largest producer of petroleum, has the third largest concentration of poor people. In fact, it is among the top twenty countries with the widest gap between rich and poor. She scores below the sub-saharan average in critical socio-economic indicators like Gross National Product, per capita income, infant mortality, access to portable water, and life expectancy. Even if the peer review did nothing else, it exposes governance or developmental problems by either bringing them to the open or denying them.

         Rwanda, a sleepy country that shocked the world with its killing fields in 1994 took a plunge into peer review along with twelve other countries. It was a government-dominated process which depended heavily on public archives (Ligue des Doits: 310). The effect of this lack of autonomous source of information is that the report just repeats government position. In fact, the technical research institutes charged with the responsibility of preparing the CSAR were public servants whose career advancement depended on government. There was however some attempt to moderate the effect of this. Rwanda was the only country, because of a lack of local capacity, that sent the CSAR to experts outside the country, namely: Africa Institute for Political Analysis and Economic Integration (AIPAEI), and Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA). Rwanda also faced problems with funding. As indicated earlier, she relied 98.3% on external sources to fund the review and depends about 90% on aid for her capital expenditure. The location of Rwanda also poses serious challenges of poor neighbor relations in the Great Lakes region particularly with the Democratic Republic of the Congo where a large number of Hutu refugees live. The legitimacy and trust of Gacaca courts operating a system of community justice were queried because victims sat in judgment in their own cause.

         Rwanda, however, had some bright sides which other African countries could learn from. It has about 49% of women in the national legislature which is the highest in the world. It also made giant strides in social services most especially in education. The effort in administrative reforms was also significant. Provinces were reduced from 12 to 4, districts from 106 to 30 while sectors were downsized from 1545 to 500. (ibid: 313).It also improved its business environment.

         The review of South Africa was misconceived as the assessment of the ten years of post apartheid administration. It therefore focused on the performance of the African National Congress. It was a state-centric process yielding only a small space to civil society. In fact the government selected the civil society organizations often relying on the local hybrid of Lekhotlas, Indabas and Imbizos. Even though the APRM provided for dialogue between the civil society and government, the process did not result in the institutionalization of such dialogue (Mbelle 2010: 357). The reports written by the technical research institutes were amended by state officials without consultation because the government used the peer review as a public relations event.

         South Africa however has some best practices to encourage peer learning. It has a progressive constitution unlike Kenya that took so long to put a constitution in place after election riots of 2007-08. South Africa passed Black Economic Empowerment Charters to correct the ills of the marginalization of Blacks during the apartheid regime. In spite of such efforts, racism, not surprisingly, has not disappeared and neither has the black condition changed that much. Unfortunately, however, there is a growing spectre of xenophobia resulting in the attacks on fellow Africans. To a large extent, these attacks demonstrate that the efforts made for continental unity does not translate to unity among African citizens. Perhaps this is also to be expected when the economy is depressed. For example, 3.5 million Basothos work in South Africa as against only 1.88 million who work in Lesotho itself. Migrant workers are not new but the number increased of recent because the unemployment rate in Lesotho is at an all-time high of 30% and 56.7% of the people live below poverty line (BusinessDay 19 April 2010). A large number of Basotho were retrenched in South Africa. This was probably why Basothos protested when it was rumoured that the APRM was to make Lesotho the tenth Province of South Africa (ibid). Xenophobia however does not explain the high incidence of gender-based violence in South Africa. Jerry Okungu summarized the South African peer review as follows: "It is not that the APRM was ineffective, just that it is a relatively small thing in the national consciousness and has no real power to accelerate reforms in any of those areas" (New Vision September 4, 2009). There is clearly an asymmetry between legislation and implementation just as between policy formulation and action. This largely accounts for why the country still has a dualistic polity, pervasive poverty, structural unemployment, wide gap between the rich and the poor, and a high crime rate. "South African government's commitment to the idea of the APRM may have been more symbolic than real" (Mbelle 2010: 321).

         Appraisal and Overview

         The African Peer Review Mechanism was planned "…to foster in a systematic way the development of collective strategies at regional and continental levels in pursuit of broad development goals" and thereby promote political stability, growth, sustainable development and integration (Bing-Pappoe 2010: 149). The implementation was not and could not have been achieved through a collective strategy bearing in mind the diversity of the countries on the continent in terms of political orientation, resources, socio-political domestic reality and varying commitment of the leadership to the African project. Of the fifty three members of the African Union, only thirty have acceded to the African Peer Review Mechanism and of these thirty, only thirteen have completed the peer review process. It is not all the countries that acceded to the APRM that are particularly active. For example, beyond membership, Egypt has demonstrated little commitment to the process (Chene: 6).

    The process would have been too complex and complicated were it to be continentally uniform (Hansungule, n.d.: 19). The template of four thematic areas and hundred questions was prepared by the APRM secretariat. Each country was required to adapt, simplify, and domesticate the complex and lengthy questionnaire to meet local needs. South Africa abridged the 88- page questionnaire into a 6 -page document while Nigeria also adapted the template and translated it into the three major languages. Each country also imposed her unique nuances on the process. Benin and Burkina Faso saw APRM as a foreign affairs or regional integration issue while Kenya regards it as a national planning and development issue. As shown earlier, South Africa, interpreted it as a public service or administrative matter.

    There is no doubt that peer review "is the most ambitious piece of innovation to have come out of Africa since decolonization" (ibid: 1). It faced many challenges which will be mentioned here but only few of which will be discussed in some detail. Article 14 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recognized the functional role of regional economic communities. There is the sneaky possibility, however, that member states may show greater commitment to the regional organizations than the African Union and by implication, the APRM. It is also possible that the regional organizations may duplicate or implicitly contradict the aspirations of the continental organization. Recently, Egypt revived a 30-year old agreement with Sudan that will provide incentives for private Egyptian companies to plant wheat in Sudan. The agreement is meant to reduce Egyptian external dependence because it is the largest world importer of wheat. This kind of agreement gives synergy to intra-African cooperation. The Economic Community of West African States has served to complement the African Union in the region as shown by the role of the ECOMOG in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has also very recently advised Laureant Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast to hand over power to Alassane Ouattara having lost the Presidential election. It went further to warn that failure to comply will force the ECOWAS Commission to employ a legitimate decapitation strike to oust him. Consequently, the Heads of States and Governments of the Commission have put the Chiefs of Staff of Defence on alert (The Sun, December 25, 2010). It still remains to be seen whether the military option would be adopted in the light of the fact that the civil society in Nigeria had called for a reduction if not suspension of Nigeria's international peace-keeping engagements (Jinadu:278).

    There are also embedded procedural contradictions in the peer review system. The peer review is tied to the political structure to be reviewed. As has been demonstrated, each state, by and large, is the judge in its own cause. The Country Self Assessment Review is at the discretion of the State which decides who should participate. Although leadership and ownership are the core principles of the APRM, most of the countries reviewed narrowed participation by either excluding or screening non-state actors in an exercise that is supposed to be participatory and inclusive. The effect is undue executive dominance and a low level of public awareness of the peer review. This is prone to lend credibility to poor state performance particularly because, through regular interaction, African political leaders have developed a camaraderie that makes them reluctant to criticize each other. The Forum is erected on constructive dialogue and soft persuasion. The results are entirely non-binding and advisory (Stultz 2007: 7). Jordaan raised the danger that "a timid and toothless APRM" would give credit to oppressive and no-performing governments (Jordaan 2006: 351). This is a real danger because of what Juan Mendez characterized as "African complicity with African problems" (Traub 2005: 24). Ambassador Masula Leleka indirectly underscored this on March 29, 2010 when he criticized the little time devoted to the actual peer review by the African Heads of State. He lamented that only thirty minutes was allowed for presentation and thirty minutes for answers. Heads of State were protected from the grilling as only 'peers' most of whom hardly attend such meetings could ask questions.

    The National Programme of Action which constitutes the end-product of the peer review process often looks like a national stand-alone document. First, it is not presented to the citizen public and it does not, as intended, constitute a national source of domestic dialogue on how the country should be governed. Second and worse, the NPoAs are not domesticated because they are not presented to the national legislatures for enactment. They therefore remain 'pet' projects of the executive because for the peer review to make the necessary public impact, a critical mass of the population must be mobilized into sustained effort (Bing- Pappoe: 180). If this does not happen, they can hardly become an integral part of the national plan.

    All plans for development call for money which is a rare resource in Africa, but in spite of its poverty, continues to bleed money both internally and externally. Almost all countries reviewed are guilty of high level corruption which stimulates the stimulus of under-development. Corruption grows while the anti-graft personnel are often an endangered species. The peer review process did not address this glaring impediment of development. Of course a randy clergyman never preaches against adultery. Kenyan Ministry officials told a Parliamentary Committee that corruption could be nearly $4 billion a year (BBC December 3, 2010). Kenya could, in fact, be losing nearly one-third of the national budget in what Kenyans refer to "kitu kidogo" meaning something small. Similarly, courtesy of Wikileaks, the US Ambassador to Gabon in a memo of July 7, 2009 leaked that some officers of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) stole about $36 million and paid it to two of France's political parties - UMP Party and Socialist Party. Payments were also made to Nicholas Sarkozy. Africa squanders its investible capital and hunts for aid. Experience has shown that aid cannot buy an enabling economic policy environment but can attract externally mandated conditionalities which according to Stultz make aid "burdensome, sometimes misguided and implicitly nationally humiliating" (ibid: 6).

    Aid becomes particularly humiliating when it is understood that "the amount of money that has been drained out of Africa…is far in excess of the official development assistance going into African countries" (Kar and Cartwright-Smith 2008 :7). From 1970 -2008 Africa, by a conservative estimate, lost $854 billion in illicit financial flows either through their external accounts or mispricing of trade transactions (ibid 2008: 7) at the rate of $29 billion annually (ibid:11). By 2008, the cumulative financial outflows have not only exceeded the continent's external debt (ibid:5) but also turned the continent into a net creditor to the rest of the world (Ndikumana and Boyce 2008: 6). In the period 1970-2008, every African lost $989 (ibid:12) while the five worst hit countries lost to the world's shadow financial system as follows: Nigeria $89.5 billion, Egypt $70.5 billion, Algeria $25.7 billion, Morocco $25 billion, South Africa $24.9 billion (ibid: 12). Much needed revenue is also lost to trade mispricing or mis-invoicing. Between 2002-2006, the following countries lost substantial percentage of their tax revenue: Zimbabwe 31.5%, Mali 25.1%, Republic of Congo 24.9%, Zambia 21.7%, Cameroon 17.1%, Guinea 16.5%, Ethiopia 16.2%, Central African Republic 14.6%, Togo 13.5% (Hollingshead 2010: 4&8). As long as the African countries continue to bleed money, economic development will elude the continent. In fact "economic growth without credible reform could lead to more not less capital flight" (ibid: 17).It will appear, therefore, that what stalls the engine of growth in Africa can be traced to the illicit financial flows which is not addressed by the syllabus of the APRM. Paradoxically, it is the foreign beneficiaries that are making frantic efforts to stem the tide of the illicit financial flows. The United States passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which makes it unlawful for persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials in obtaining or retaining business. Some American companies including Halliburton have come under the axe of the law reining in a sizeable income for Nigeria. Panalpina, Royal Dutch Shell and five oil service companies paid $236.5 million to Nigeria to settle a bribe case to expedite the import of goods and equipment, avoid customs duties, and extend drilling contracts and lower tax assessments (Nigerian Guardian December 1, 2010). However, the US Chamber of Commerce is seeking amendment to indemnify parent companies of the actions of their subsidiaries. The implication of such an amendment is a return to status quo ante because it is the subsidiaries that operate in the developing countries. For example, recently Action aid alleged that SAB Miller, the second largest beer company in the world has been using transfer pricing techniques of paying royalty and management fees to developed countries in order to avoid tax in Ghana. The British Bribery Act will also come into effect in April 2011 but the British Government prevaricates on Tax Havens.

    There is however a ray of hope. The OAU transformed into the AU in 2000 and cut a new organizational focus for the continental body (Ebobrah 2007:1). Article 4(h) of the AU constitutive Act empowered the AU to intervene in a member state, including in the event of 'a serious threat to legitimate order to restore peace and stability to the member state of the Union upon the recommendation of the Peace and Security Council" (ibid 2007:3). Although Art. 4 (b) upholds the sanctity of African internal boundaries and Art. 4(g) non- interference in the internal affairs of member states, the continental organization had started gradually enforcing decisions across borders and on domestic jurisdiction. The African Commission held that the annulment of the 1993 Nigerian Presidential election violated Articles 13 and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Odinkalu 2007: 2). In another case, the deposed Gambian President, Dauda Jawara, the African Commission held that the coup d'etat was a grave violation of the right of the Gambian people as enshrined in Art. 20(1) of the African Charter (ibid:2; Saungweme 2007: 2). In July 1996, the States of the Great Lakes Region of East and Central Africa resolved to impose a regional blockade on the government of Burundi while in 1997, the OAU condemned the military coup that overthrew President Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone and appealed to the international community to deny recognition and assistance to the military government. For the first time the OAU, was unanimous in denying recognition to a regime (Ebobrah 2007:3). In 2000, the OAU passed the resolution to suspend an unconstitutional regime and order it to roll back within six months (ibid:3). Some scholars think that the new inspiration to tackle unconstitutional change of governments started after the conference at la Baule France in June 1990 (Kameldy 2008:1). It is difficult to assign a date to a process but what is clear is that Art. 4(p) of the constitutive Act of the AU in 2000 stipulated the "condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government". This was confirmed in Art. 2(10) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The Charter in Art, 25(8) even frowns at granting asylum to perpetrators of unconstitutional changes of government. This negates Art 1(1) of ECOWAS protocol which gives blanket privileges to former heads of State ((Ebobrah: 6). Perpetrators of unconstitutional acts cannot participate in subsequent elections to restore the democratic order or hold any position of responsibility in that State {Art. 25(4)}. Above all, they can be tried before the competent Court of the Union {Art. 25(5)}. The AU thus became pro-active in the defence of democracy and good governance. Art. 4(b) of the Union still recognizes the sanctity of the national boundaries and Art. 4(g) upholds the doctrine of domestic jurisdiction. There is however a slight but significant derogation of the doctrines of the sanctity of borders and domestic jurisdiction. Intervention (interference?) is therefore open to the Union as a multilateral actor but forbidden to individual member states' unilateral action. There are however serious problems of interpretation in deciding the difference between six and half a dozen between African governments. Saungweme points out the difficulty of classifying a government when the legitimacy of elections is in dispute. Art.17 (4) of the Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance is not very helpful because it only says that election disputes must be resolved through legal means. Sandbrook takes the argument further that "the distinction between military and civilian regimes is ultimately misleading", because there are soldiers that 'civilianize' their regimes just as there are civilians that 'militarize' theirs (Sandbrook 1993:96). For example, the Cameroons employs the frequent use of emergency powers to avoid normal constitutional processes. In the same vein, Egypt amended the Criminal Procedure Code by increasing police powers and tendentiously redefining terrorism as 'spreading panic and obstructing the work of authorities' (Saungweme: 5). The alliance of Zimbabwe African National Union and Patriotic Front manipulated the Constitution in 2000 to give Mugabe unrestricted access to power while Uganda amended the Constitution in 2005 to lift Presidential term limits for Yoweri Museveni. Even President Obasanjo of Nigeria, one of the architects of APRM, made an unsuccessful attempt in 2006 to extend his tenure of office by amending Section 137(1) (b) of the Nigerian constitution. These examples show that the Presidents who make the rules and see to the enforcement of the rules do not come to equity with clean hands. The situation tends to result in the sentimentality of discourse at the highest levels. However some of the cases are themselves difficult to resolve. We shall now illustrate this complexity with the Case Study of Niger.

    Niger was granted independence by France in 1960. She houses the world's largest reserve of uranium. Mamadou Tandja won the 1999 Presidential election and was re-elected in 2004. His second term was to end on December 22, 2009. About mid -1999, he and his followers in the 'Continuity' (Tarzache) Movement wanted an extension to a third term so that, according to him, he can construct a bridge over the Niger and make peace with the Tuaregs to the North. The National Assembly refused to legislate for a referendum to amend the Constitution and was dissolved in May, 2009. The Constitutional Court also ruled against the referendum and was similarly dissolved in June, 2009. Tandja then went ahead to hold the referendum which was boycotted by the opposition in August 2009. He followed this with the election which was boycotted by the opposition in October 2009 thus getting a third term. He was toppled in a military coup led by Col Salou Djibo on February 18, 2010. The coup was denounced by ECOWAS following its protocol which demands that power must be transferred through free, fair, and transparent elections {Art. 1(b)&(c)}. The dilemma is caused by the fact that Art. 10 of the Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance entrenched the supremacy of the Constitution and Art. 23 regards as unconstitutional change of government any personalizaed amendment or revision of the Constitution or legal instruments. Tandja did not only so amend the Constitution but also went ahead to hold an election against popular will. Surprisingly, ECOWAS denounced the military coup!! ECOWAS and AU have come to take a stand for elected governance of whatever hue because of the disturbing frequency of military coups in Africa which experienced 78 coups between 1960 and 1998.

    The AU has, of recent been taking courageous steps to override the doctrine of domestic jurisdiction in the interest of democratic governance. After the August 6, 2008 coup that ousted President Sidi Cheik Abdalla of Mauretania, the AU condemned the coup and demanded an immediate return to constitutional order in spite of the legislators' statement that they "support the change that occurred in the interest of the Mauretanian people" (Guardian (UK) August 14, 2008). Mauretania was suspended from the AU and the APRM for the illegal take-over. Similarly, After the Constitutional Council in Ivory Coast overturned the result of the November 2010 Presidential elections in favour of the incumbent President, Laureant Gbagbo. The results of seven regions in the North where the opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara won majorities were annulled thus giving victory to President Laureant Gbagbo with 51%. He was consequently, but wrongly, sworn in as President. He has resisted all diplomatic efforts by the AU and ECOWAS to step down for the real winner of the election. The ECOWAS has indicated that if persuasion fails the "Community will be left with no alternative but to take other measures, including the use of legitimate force to achieve the goals of the Ivorian people" (The Sun, Saturday December 5, 2010). Accordingly, it has ordered a meeting of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS to make necessary plans. Already, Angola and Equatorial Guinea have indicated that they do not support the military option. Security experts, however, think that it is most unlikely for the Community to attack because no ECOWAS country has special operations forces for a decapitation strike. The situation is quite different from that of the Island of Anjouan where the AU intervened in March 2008 to oust Col Mohammed Bacar after the disputed election of June 2007. Ivory Coast is a much bigger country for a swift operation.

    Ivory Coast is therefore a test case for the AU and it would be interesting to see how the AU will handle the African mega countries like Nigeria, Sudan, Zaire, Algeria or Egypt. For example, the Nigerian Bar Association appealed to the AU to prevail on the Federal Government of Nigeria to prosecute the perpetrators of the Jos massacre. Nigeria responded tersely and promptly that the AU should not interfere in the internal affairs of Nigeria (Vanguard November 15, 2010).Again on November 30, 2010, the ECOWAS Community Court ordered the Nigerian Government to provide, as of right, free and compulsory education to every Nigerian child. This followed an earlier judgment that all Nigerians were entitled to education as a legal and human right. The Government argued that education is in the non-justiciable Chapter II of the Constitution (Nigerian Tribune December 1, 2010).

    The AU has moved some distance away from the doctrine of territorial inviolability and the doctrine of domestic jurisdiction to a doctrine of continental self-censorship which was not envisaged by the Monrovia Doctrine. It has moved more in the direction of the Cassablanca Doctrine and gradually away from the gradualism of the Monrovia Doctrine to a position that may be identified as the Casa-rovia Doctrine. Globalization and the necessity of synergy for the African continental voice has necessitated the new positioning of intra-African partnership as a policy instrument to equip Africa for a new global partnership in which Africa is recognized to find solutions to African problems. In the first decade of the twenty-first century the African States have come to endorse democracy as a human right even though the percentage of member state governments of questionable credential is substantial. The AU has made a start in addressing the collective reproach that has made Africa the whipping continent of the world. It has in the process popularized the fact that the sovereignty of the State is a derivative of the sovereignty of the people and therefore dependent on it. With this, it has signaled its resolve to subject the law of force to the force of law. The process of rebranding Africa got off to a challenging start because most Heads of State and Government are wont to use the peer review as endorsement by their peers. For fear of unfavourable reports, most governments did not allow the review to be a participatory national diagnosis and solutions assessment. The process was driven and dominated by government and can only be as open as the participating government wants it to be. The beauty of the system, however, is that even those reports by their commission or omission became a cause for public engagement of governments by the people. It is not impossible for States that feel threatened to withdraw from the peer review. The success of peer review depends on the voluntary submission of the States severally to review as well as voluntary compliance with the final products of the review. The countries acceding to the peer review also share a collective responsibility for an objective report targeted at the observed weaknesses of the State under review. If the process must accelerate the development of Africa, the African states must plug the internal and external sources of development finance hemorrhage that keep the majority of African population below poverty line. Certain observed design errors in the peer review mechanism must be corrected. These include the optional membership of the APRM, the right of withdrawal from the APRM, the absence of sanctions for non-compliance, the lack of follow-up monitoring of NPoAs, and the non-inclusion of humanitarian law. The optional membership of the APRM conveys the wrong impression that the objectives of the APRM in terms of development and eradication of poverty can be the voluntary desire of any African country. The right of withdrawal from membership opens a leeway to members to vacate their responsibility by withdrawing in order to avoid sanctions. There is however a problem in this because withdrawal from APRM is not synonymous with withdrawal from the AU. So far only Morocco has ever withdrawn from the continental organization. Morocco withdrew in protest against the admission of the Sahrawi Democratic Republic (SADR) to the OAU.

    There are some lacuna in the African peer review process that must be fixed. One such gap is the lack of a definitive sanction for non-compliance with the terms of membership of the APRM. Unless there is some penalty for non-performance or non-compliance peer review becomes only ceremonial. There are unspecified sanctions against illegal means of accessing or maintaining power through military coups, seizure of power by mercenaries, seizure of power by armed rebels, refusal of an incumbent to vacate office after losing an election, or a constitutional amendment to effect tenure elongation. Although all the above ultimately have implications for human rights and humanitarian law the mechanism has no provision for humanitarian law. This portends some problem for the enforcement of the R2P and the Right/Duty of intervention. The addition of a provision on humanitarian law will confer the necessary legitimacy of sanctions. Finally, the implementation of the National Programmes of Action must be monitored and evaluated so that they do not become dead letters after the peer review exercise. It is the revamping of the peer review document and appropriate follow-up action that can transform hopes into reality.

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