In an essay in African Business, 2014 Tutu Fellow Linda Kasonde says that the role of governments is to manage institutions that promote development, good governance and the rule of law, while making efforts to empower their citizens and increase their role in the governance of the country. This is not only because that is in line with modern trends, but also because it is necessary in any country aspiring to attain the highest standards of economic development, democracy and good governance. She makes the point that without the rule of law in democratic governance, Africa risks seeing the sun set on gains made through democracy on the continent.
In her piece, Kasonde quotes the Sierra Leonean lawyer Augustine Marrah, who says: “The rule of law and democratic governance are not the sun and the moon which rise up every day without being prompted or summoned. They are products of our collective efforts and commitments. We cannot and must not leave it to chance or resign in the face of increasing flagrancy of abuse of power and manipulation of laws.” Without holding government accountable there can be little expectation of any dividend of good governance - such as economic development - respect for human rights, or for the rule of law.
She provides two examples that spell trouble for the Africa Rising narrative. The first is the failing fortunes of South Africa; another is the rising levels of inequality across the continent, based on World Bank data.
The full piece can be read at African Business. Each month, in a partnership with the African Leadership Institute, African Business will carry a thought or opinion piece from a Tutu Fellow, sharing insights from young leaders from across the continent. Linda Kasonde is the president of the Law Association of Zambia and a 2014 Tutu Fellow.