A Conference and Annual General Meeting was hosted by Malawi from 7-11 November 2011 in Lilongwe.
The Role of Law Reform in Constitutionalism, Rule of Law and Democratic Governance
The wake of the First Wind of Change – in the 1960s – was characterised by the adoption, in most African States, of ‘independence constitutions’ that served as mere platforms for transfer of power. These constitutions, as literature shows, were political tools for a highly personalized authority in a largely patrimonial State order. The absence or erosion of a democratic constitutional ethos was often legitimized under the guise of national sovereignty, centralization and modernization.
At the turn of the 1990s, much of sub–Saharan Africa endured what has been termed the Second Wind of Change. The Second Wind of Change was routinely accompanied by the adoption of largely liberal democratic constitutions. The values of a liberal democratic constitutional ethos entail, in general terms, the superiority of the individual; individual freedom; the emphasis on human rights, rule of law, democratic governance; and accountable and transparent government.
If governance is understood as the role of a citizen in actively participating in the political, economic and administrative affairs of their polity, then the question becomes to what extent has the Second Wind, and the constitutions that came with it, led to the development of mechanisms, processes and institutions that allow active citizenship to flourish? Put another way, to what extent can law reform ensure that a constitutional culture based on active citizenship takes root within a liberal democratic constitutional framework?
The Conference invites papers that speak broadly to its theme and more specifically to the sub–themes of law reform, constitutionalism, rule of law, governance, liberal democratic constitutions, human rights, and active citizenship.
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