The issue of governance dominates the development agenda. Since the 1990s, donors and multilateral institutions have based their aid and support on good governance.
Donor countries realised that development aid, particularly in Africa, was not bearing fruit because of bad governance; characterised by corruption, a democracy deficit, rule of law crises, human rights violations, and lack of voice for citizens in decision-making.
According to Smith (2007), as quoted by Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, T. Shaw and V. Samonis, governance combines ideas about political authority, management of economic and social resources and the capacity of government to formulate policies and perform their functions effectively, efficiently and equitably.
Human rights, democracy, rule of law, citizen participation, gender equity and, more importantly, political freedom form an integral part of governance principles and values.
Unites States Government Millennium Challenge Account has 17 governance indicators: civil liberties; political rights; voice and accountability; government effectiveness; rule of law; control of corruption; immunization rate and public expenditure on health; natural resources management; inflation rate; trade policy; land rights and access index; regulatory quality; fiscal policy; and business start-up.
Corporate governance relates to the governance of institutions such as NGOs which facilitate transparency, accountability and probity profit organisation. It is no longer business as usual for NGOs. CANGO has a Code of Conduct which serve as a guide for NGOs. As good governance for NGOs/CBOs/FBOs is no longer a luxury, there is a need for this Governance & Human Rights Consortium to also take this on board.
The coming into force of the 2005 national Constitution ushered the country into a new democratic and human rights trajectory. These values, embedded in the national Constitution, created an expectation that at long last the government would be committed to promote these values. The Chapter on Human Rights in the Constitution confers rights to citizens including women, the disabled and children. Constitutional experts, however, pointed out in various analytical papers that there are serious claw backs in the Constitution — a serious threat to the realisation of the rights by citizens.
Purpose and objectives of the Governance & Human Rights Consortium
The purpose of the Consortium is to become “the VOICE for governance and human rights for CANGO and to also build capacity of other Consortia and members to advocate for these issues as well.
The objectives of the Consortium are:
- to provide a forum for likeminded organisations to have a forum to analyse, research, promote and advocate for governance and human rights as practiced within organisations and in the country at large;
- to coordinate, collaborate and deal collectively with governance and human rights challenges affecting the Constituency served by the NGO community in the country;
- to strengthen the technical capacity of members to base their work on human rights and good governance approaches and values.