Recognition of Government in the Regional Organizations: The Case of African Union

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Addis Ababa University


The OAU charter served as a road map for the efforts of liberating African States from colonialism, apartheid and racism. This regional organization is not only deterred by liberating member states, but also promoting democracy and democratic institutions in Africa. To enhance the democratization agenda of the organization, OAU adopted a declaration on the frame work in response to unconstitutional change of government. In accordance to this declaration a government comes to power unconstitutionally would not be recognized. Further, such government would face sanction. The OAU objective of prevailing constitutionalism became stronger while OAU transformed into AU. AU in its respective legal instruments developed more strict rules and procedure that enabled the organization to deter unconstitutional change of government and fostering recognized democratically elected governments in the organization. Furthermore, AU develops a mechanism of collectively condemning a government comes to power unconstitutionally as well as collectively recognizing a government comes to power respecting the legal instruments of the organization and its own constitution. As a result this study provided due attention to the response of OAU and its successor AU to the recognition of government. The study analyzes these organizations policies with regard to recognition of governments as well as the application of these policies. In considering these issues, the paper examines the response of AU to the coup d’état of Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania and to the NTC of Libya. In doing so the study was conducted based on analyzing the organization’s legal instruments, assessing literatures and case analysis. In each cases AU was condemned and denied recognition governments come to power unconstitutionally. Although AU member states strived to prevail constitutional order in the continent through denying recognition a government comes to power unconstitutionally, there are member states which are vitiating this collective response of the organization for the prevalence of rule of law and constitutional order. However, as the findings show that AU did not take any measure on these countries which are against the organization’s collective act. The organization also lacks coordination in restoring constitutional order in member states where by unconstitutional change of government happened. Furthermore, some of specific sanctions are not directly targeted the perpetrators of unconstitutional government. This might resulted in adverse effect on the innocent civilians. Finally, this paper suggests some recommendations which the writer thinks to be appropriate and enhance the enforcement of one of the organization’s objective of prevailing recognized democratic government in the continent.



The OAU charter served, as a road map for the efforts, of liberating African States