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Ombudsman Institutions Said Decisive for Africa’s Stability
Monday, 01 December 2014 09:37

The first bilateral conference of African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) and the African Union (AU) took place here in Addis at Headquarters of AU from November 4th -5th of 2014.

Organized by the Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman (EIO) and AOMA in collaboration with the AU, the meeting deliberated intensively on the Role of the Ombudsman in building Democratic, Stable and Prosperous Societies in Africa.

Good Governance, public service performance and socio-political stability, peace and security mechanisms of AU, the Ombudsman’s role in strengthening democratic and transparent electoral process, joining forces for the ratification, domestication, popularization and implementation of the AU legal instruments and the OR Tambo Declaration were the centers of discussions. The deliberators forwarded their remarks on the issue of independency or autonomy of national ombudsman institutions and on means to lift them to their respective constitutional status.

Ethiopian Chief Ombudsman Fozia Amin in her deliverance on the occasion said, it is great opportunity and has a constructive message to Ethiopia in general and to Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman (EIO) in particular to host such historical conference at the Headquarters of AU here in Addis Ababa as Addis is the seat of many international organizations and embassies.

H.E. Dr. Mulatu Teshome, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in his opening speech remarked on Ethiopia’s endeavor in the realization of human rights and good governance to ensure the national interest of the entire society. For the implementation of the laws, Ethiopia created local institutions such as judiciary, ombudsman, general auditor, anti-corruption commission and human rights commission so as to engage in comprehensive public service, the president added.

President of the FDRE

H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the AU Commission Chairperson, on her part, recommended the consultation between the AOMA and the AU to rise above the immediate challenges the continent faces. According to her remarks, in order to ensure a liberated Africa and create a better future for coming generation, ombudsman institutions should undoubtedly form balance between the executive and the entire society. As the considerable number of African people comprises the young, it would not be contentious to have ombudsman institutions so as to help invest on this member of the society, she underscored. Agriculture, health and education were part of the agendas obtained due consideration by the AUC Commissioner. On the occasion, president of the international Ombudsman Institute, President of AOMA and other delegates delivered a key note speech.

The 4th General Assembly of the Association also followed on the following days. The Assembly deliberated on different internal matters of the association including the last four years performances, the successes achieved, challenges faced and prospects supposed, and also ratified different resolutions.

Finally, the Assembly also voted on the nominees for the next President, Vice presidents and the General Secretary of the Executive Committee where Chief Ombudsman of Ethiopia Mrs. Fozia Amin was elected for the presidential seat

Last Updated on Monday, 01 December 2014 10:28
 
Chief Ombudsman of Ethiopia Elected as the President of AOMA
Thursday, 27 November 2014 12:03

H.E. Fozia Amin, Chief Ombudsman of Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman was elected as the new president of African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) during the electoral session of AOMA’s 4th General Assembly held at the Headquarters of AU here in Addis on 6th of November 2014.

Chief Ombudsman of Ethiopia

The former president, Chief Ombudsman of Angola, Dr. Paulo Tjipilica has honorably delivered the four years term presidency to Chief Ombudsman Fozia. The receiving of an honor of the appointment is said to have scaled up the contribution of Ethiopia in Africa’s peace, development, political stability, conflict resolution and sustainable democratic system, the newly elected president remarked.

Former AOMA President

The Assembly also deliberated on the ways member countries would be able to integrate their efforts for the realization of good governance and respecting of human rights for the betterment of the entire society at continental level. The Association currently comprises 39 member countries.

In the meantime, the Assembly ratified the MoU between AOMA and International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), Framework for Operationalisation of the AOMA-AU bilateral agreement and the OR Tambo Declaration or Minimum Standards for an Effective Ombudsman Institution and Cooperation with the African Union on Strengthening Good Governance. The amendments of AOMA’s Constitution have also been approved. During the AOMA-AU bilateral conference of the two-day long in the preceding days, the two parties deliberated intensively on the role of good governance in creating peaceful, economically developed and politically stabilized Africa.

The Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman has also been working as coordinator of AOMA’s East Africa sub-region, and has been recognized as AOMA’s observer status in AU. It is also member institution in International Ombudsman Institute.

Finally, the Assembly elected Ombudsman of Cote D’Ivoire as the 1st vice president, Burundian Ombudsman as the 2nd vice president and the Ombudsman of Kenya as the General Secretary of the Executive committee.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 08:08
 
Looking Forward to the Open End
Friday, 28 November 2014 09:38

Ombudsman – Good Governance – a Stabilized Continent

The first week of November 2014 passed successfully after proceedings with a three-day-long meeting of the 4th General Assembly (GA) of African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA). The meeting was held at the Headquarters of African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the presence of higher state officials, key representatives from the AU, heads of the 39 member ombudsman institutions of AOMA, delegates from international organizations and media professionals. The agreement and decision that Ethiopia would host the Assembly was passed by members of the AOMA’s Executive Committee on a meeting held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2013.

Dr. Mulatu Teshome, President of the FDRE in the middle, Dr. Tjipilica, ex president of AOMA  & Ombudsman of Angola (left), Mrs. Fozia, currently elected president of AOMA & Ombudsman of Ethiopia (right)

Dr. Mulatu Teshome, President of the FDRE in the middle, Dr. Tjipilica, ex president of AOMA  & Ombudsman of Angola (left), Mrs. Fozia, currently elected president of AOMA & Ombudsman of Ethiopia (right)

The first couple of days were just occupied with AOMA - AU first bilateral conference. The conference specifically dealt with the means the two organizations work in collaboration so as to bring Africa a step ahead to a level of a peaceful, politically stabilized and socio-economically developed continent.  The last day was left for the G.A. to discuss on different internal and external matters. In this day, the G.A. proposed different agreements, declarations and the amendment of AOMA’s Constitution for an official approval. Finally, the G.A. voted on the next Executive Committee and elected new President along with the vice presidents, the General Secretary and the treasurer.

Partial View of the Delegates

During the bilateral conference, the center of the discussion focused on the joint activities of the Association and the Commission aiming to deliberate at reaching to some possible point the role of ombudsman institutions are able to play towards the betterment of African peoples in all aspects.

Obviously, the objective behind establishing ombudsman institutions is to play the role of promoting, strengthening and upholding good governance and respecting of human rights through the realization of administrative justice so as to ensure peace, political stability and socio-economic development worldwide. The establishment of Ombudsman Institutions in Africa is therefore one of the major steps towards intending to take continental solution to the people, in this regards. The establishment of AOMA is also incomparably significant advancement in forming the integral part of member institutions towards a common goal. For the successfulness of which, the joint activity with the AU becomes significant in effect. It was this important factor that necessitated the conference.

The key message, of course, of the Association amidst their discussions lies on the part of the AUC to hold interest in ‘’raising governments’ awareness about the value that the work of Ombudsman Institutions can add to their administrations’’. All African state governments are required to render active support to the noble work the Association undertakes in advocating for good governance, rule of law, transparency and accountability. They also need to recognize the Institution of the Ombudsman in their constitutional structures in order to enable their smooth work towards influencing countries’ development. The Association underlines that Ombudsman Institutions could be ‘’instrumental in dealing with conflicts through mediation, observation of elections and other interest that concerns the rights, freedoms and guarantees of citizens’’.

Hence, the AUC seems to have strong faith on the capacity of Ombudsman Institutions with regards to ensuring good governance and the protection of human rights without which it becomes impossible to think of continental stability. In order to use such “untapped potential” the Institutions have in the good governance endeavors, the Commission expresses its readiness to work to its capacity with the Association towards achieving the AU aim of silencing guns in the continent by 2020.

The last session was duly busy with the internal matters and the ratification of different agreements and declarations. These include the formalization of the adoption of “a Joint Operational Implementation Framework of the AOMA-AU Bilateral Agreement”, the “OR Tambo Declaration on the Minimum Standards for an Effective Ombudsman Institution and Cooperation with the African Union on Strengthening Good Governance”, and the “Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) and the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), and the approval of “amendments to the AOMA Constitution”.

In order to capacitate their integration, the AOMA and the AU officially approved the already signed Joint Framework.  They signed the bilateral cooperation agreement in October 2011 aimed at establishing cooperation in promoting the strategic priorities of AUC in the realm of democracy, good governance, the promotion and protection of human rights, transparency and administrative justice, including observations of elections in Africa. This agreement, in fact, moves their mutual interest-continental interest-to a more meaningful and result oriented progress. It is, of course, an encouraged step too towards accepting good governance endeavors as primary tool for Africa’s security. AOMA also has a permanent observer status within the AU. This seems to witness the incessantly permissible joint activity of the organizations.

Partial View of the Delegates

Their collateral activity also strengthens ombudsman institutions in all member states of the AU and creates a combined effort between AOMA and other African Institutions to struggle jointly and multilaterally in the endeavor to bring about peace and stability across the continent.

The OR Tambo Declaration for Minimum Standards for Ombudsman Institutions which is a ground-breaking governance instrument was declared in February 2014 at a conference held in Kempton Park, the Republic of South Africa. The declaration aims at providing minimum standards of mainly guaranteeing autonomous power to Ombudsman Institutions. As mentioned in the strategic plan, the Association was established with a mission to “support and protect the independence and development of African Ombudsman Institutions by promoting information exchanges and best practices for the advancement of good governance and human rights in the continent”. Article 15(2) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance also provides the independence and autonomy of the Institutions must be guaranteed by the Constitution. According to the expressions in the declaration, the independence extends to the extent that the Institution should not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the discharge of its duties. The discharge of the Ombudsman’s function is rather “subject to nothing but the law and commands of his and her conscience”. With this, it is believed that the Association succeeds in its objectives of:

  • Encouraging the establishment, development and promotion of African Ombudsman Institutions;
  • Fostering mutual support, cooperation and joint activity through information sharing, training and development of Ombudsman and staff;
  • promoting good governance including the observance of human rights, transparency and administrative justice;
  • supporting and promoting the autonomy and independence of Ombudsman offices;
  • fostering affiliation and maintain liaison with other Ombudsman Offices, Institutes and Associations, international bodies and organizations interested in the progress of Ombudsman activities and Human Rights;
  • Identifying and carry our any other relevant activities which the members may deem appropriate.

 

AOMA is also expanding its communication scope at international forums since it increases the participation of African Ombudsman Offices in voicing an African agenda at international level. It also creates awareness among people of the world that AOMA is playing a significant role in the efforts made to secure peace and stability in Africa and coordinates the efforts paid by AOMA to promoting Ombudsman philosophy. The official approval of the MoU signed between AOMA and the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) is believed to scale up their relation to a further step since the central point around which it was established shows their mutually advantageous and cooperative relationship. Since they share similar objectives to strengthen the concept of ombudsmanship, and encouraging existing and new ombudsman institutions in their work of assisting, enhancing and protecting civil and human rights, the agreement aimed at “sharing best practices in the field of control of public administration and protection and promotion of human rights”.

Finally, the General Assembly adopted the amendment of the Constitution and elected members of the Executive Committee that will run the Association for the next term.

This is a step forward for the AOMA to coordinating to incorporate the various activities of its member Institutions so as to help create a combined effort capable of assuming a strong hold in the endeavor to create government bodies who hold account of what they do, in a way it is transparent based on the rule of law in view to realizing good governance and human rights across the continent. It is also an encouraging stride that AOMA is looking forward to an open end in the endeavor to succeed its objectives.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 December 2014 11:31
 
Ethiopia to Host AOMA’s 4th General Assembly
Thursday, 30 October 2014 14:43

African Ombudsman and Mediators Association’s (AOMA) 4th General Assembly will take place from 4th to 7th of November, 2014 here in Addis at the Headquarters of AU. Ethiopia was assigned to host the Assembly under decision passed by members of AOMA executive committee on the EXCO meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in the month of June last year.

The meeting will be deliberated on the Role of the Ombudsman in Building Democratic, Stable and Prosperous Societies in Africa

The meeting will be organized by the Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman (EIO) and AOMA in collaboration with the African Union.

The assembly will stay for two days long following a bilateral conference between AOMA and AU. With a Joint Operation, the association is said to have a contribution in popularizing the African Union shared values at the level of the African governance platform so as to achieve peace, political stability and conflict resolution initiatives in Africa.

On the occasion, H.E. Dr. Mulatu Teshome, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the AU Commission Chairperson, will be expected to forward speeches.

The 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd General Assemblies were hosted in Muldersdrift, South Africa, Tripoli, Libya and Luanda, Angola in 2005, 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 October 2014 14:47
 
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