Non-acceptance of unconstitutional change of government (UCG) has become a central African norm since 1995.
For decades, non-interference in state affairs characterized politics in the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and became a cornerstone of inter-African relations. Against this historical backdrop, it is remarkable that the obligation to reject UCG was incorporated into the 2002 Constitutive Act of the OAU’s successor, the African Union (AU).
By referring to its member states’ constitutional order and demanding democratic governance, the AU Charter touches African political regimes at their core. Nevertheless, African heads of state and the AU developed this governance norm further and met the regional organization’s normative requirements by intervening in most cases of UCG after the AU’s creation in 2002.
AU member states agreed to further legalize and specify the norm of non-acceptance of UCG by adopting (in 2007) and ratifying (in 2012) the African Charter on Elections, Governance and Democracy. This Discussion Paper explores how non-acceptance of UCG become a central norm of the AU from 1995 to 2012.