Judicial Independence Under the APRM: From Rhetoric to Reality
"The greatest challenges to good governance in Africa lie at the intersection of two problems: (i) low horizontal and vertical accountability, and (ii) weak constitutionalism. While courts are a critical player at these intersecting fault lines, the role of the judiciary has frequently been understated or marginalised in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). An ‘independent judiciary ’ is only explicitly listed in the APRM as a component of the separation of powers; this narrowing of the role of the judiciary obscures the potential contributions an independent and assertive judiciary can make across all major subcategories of ‘good political governance’. Beyond conflict resolution, the judiciary is responsible for the protection and promotion of civil, political and socioeconomic rights, and should be at the forefront of combatting corruption.The APRM findings from Uganda, Lesotho and Tanzania are analysed in relation to existing knowledge and literature on judicial independence. Ways in which the APRM questionnaire and assessment could be adjusted to broaden analysis and understanding of judicial independence and power are also outlined."