Gaborone, Botswana - The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and partners presented the Gaborone Declaration in Support of Constitutionalism and Democratic Consolidation today, after concluding an international summit gathered in this city from July 6 to 8, 2022.
The summit was co-hosted by the Government of Botswana and NDI in partnership with Open Society Foundations - Africa, Kofi Annan Foundation, Katiba Institute, Afrobarometer, Tournons la Page, Africtivistes, African Network of Constitutional Lawyers, Presidential Precinct, and University of Botswana.
The vision for the Gaborone summit was to promote democratic progress and resilience while countering democratic backsliding and the erosion of constitutionalism across the continent.
The Gaborone Declaration commends the peaceful transfer of executive power through credible and inclusive elections and the strengthening of democratic practices in a number of African countries. However, participants also noted with concern that in recent years, the democratic trend across the continent has shifted from one of democratic expansion and consolidation to one of autocratic resurgence and democratic decline.
The Declaration celebrates Africa’s youthful population which is eager to participate and contribute to democratic governance and development, and lamented that the reluctance of some leaders to adhere to constitutional term limits denies the continent’s youth opportunities for their participation in the peaceful and orderly renewal of political leadership and alternation of power.
Some of the commitments made by the participants include:
Promoting and defending principles of constitutionalism and enhancing democratic consolidation
Supporting ethical leadership and thriving societies
Facilitating inclusive democratic processes and the renewal of political leadership
Renewing commitment to constitutionalism and democratic progress
Promoting efforts to respect and restore presidential term limits
The Declaration urges former Heads of State with a commitment to democratic norms, to continue contributing to the strengthening of democracy on the continent through their good offices in collaboration with civil society.
The summit was officially launched by His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana and participants included sitting African Heads of State who shared virtual messages, former African Heads of State, civil society leaders, academics, university students and media professionals.
The occasion also celebrated Botswana’s efforts to champion democracy in Africa. Botswana recently reaffirmed its commitment to democratic governance through its participation and declaration of commitments made during the December 2021, global Summit for Democracy.
The Gaborone Declaration builds on the Constitutional Term Limits Summit held in Niamey, Niger Republic in October 2019, and its Niamey Declaration of Principles.
Participants extend their sincere appreciation to the Government of Botswana for its warm welcome and collaboration, which contributed immensely to the successful completion of the conference.