A two day conference on the “Implementing Modern African Constitutions: Challenges and Prospects,” took place at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa between 23 and 24 June 2016.
The conference was jointly organised by the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) of the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Rule of Law Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa. The participants consisted of academics, legal practitioners, constitutional activists, members of the judiciary, representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), law makers and students came from different African countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Malawi, the Gambia, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The main purpose of the conference was to discuss and deliberate on the challenges and prospects of enhancing the implementation of African constitutions. Although the importance of this issue is widely recognised, it has never formed to subject of serious discussion. The conference had two broad objectives. Firstly, it sought to identify obstacles to constitutional implementation and key provisions that are often overlooked and to determine the reasons for this. Secondly, it tried to obtain lessons from the good practice of other African countries in constitutional implementation, particularly the Kenyan experience with a specialised commission for the implementation of the constitution. After the two days, the participants were able to get a better understanding of the complex issues that lead to the non-implementation of African constitutions and in looking forward, considered some of the ways of addressing this problem.