Pretoria, 25 - 26 April 2024

The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) of the Faculty of Law,The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) of the Faculty of Law,University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), RegionalProgramme Political Dialogue for Sub-Sahara Africa based in Johannesburg, South Africa, arepleased to announce this call for papers on the theme, “Party constitutionalisation andconstitutionalism in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

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7-8 September 2024

The mood of exuberant optimism in Africa that the so-called wind of change in the 1990s and the new era of constitutions that it appeared to have ushered in, will provide much needed political stability, economic growth and development is fast fading. After a few years of what looked like progress, there is now an eerie feeling of a return to the dark pre-1990 era. The recent spate of military coups is clearly a sign that changes to constitutionalism, have not provided a solid foundation for political stability nor facilitated the economic growth that was supposed to improve the lives of the ordinary Africans. Whilst a few elites have grown richer, most Africans have remained poor, and the quality of social services such as schools, hospitals and other basic infrastructure have instead of improving deteriorated. A combination of poor governance, corruption and a weak legal framework have contributed to this situation.

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“Is this the country I was fighting for?” asked Albie Sachs, Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. “There are many problems - unemployment, poverty, the worst GINI coefficient in the world. But, yes, it is. We got a country when we didn’t have one. There is no president for life, the Constitutional Court is strong enough to send a former president to jail for contempt, we have a free and open press, people speak their minds, the constitutional text is as progressive as you can get – with gender sensitivity and equality for language, culture and religion, and it’s the only constitution with a long section dealing with values. This is the country I fought for. But it is not the society we were fighting for. We must use the rights guaranteed in the constitution to get the society we need. This is a difficult time. We need to make the true value of the constitution meaningful for South Africa.”