22 November 2017

Southern Africa: Coup, What Coup? the Vexing Question of How SADC and the AU Should React to Zimbabwe's Situation

analysis

It seems unlikely that the Zimbabwe situation - even though seeming to satisfy the elements of a coup, albeit in slow motion - will be defined as such.

The phenomenon of unconstitutional changes of government within the African context is one that is supposedly regarded as a serious matter. Views abound that it was actually intended to safeguard unconstitutional change of governments that were in power even against the will of the people. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union (AU), has given much attention to the issue of unconstitutional change of government. At least three policy instruments at a continental level address the issue of unconstitutional change of government. These are, first, the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government (Lomé Declaration), second, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (Addis Charter), and third, the Constitutive Act of the AU (Constitutive Act).

The Lomé Declaration was adopted in July 2000 by Heads of State and Governments of the OAU. This document was meant to be a framework of the OAU/AU to respond to unconstitutional changes of government. According to AU instruments,...

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