Third Time’s a Charm? Reflections on the First and Second APRM Reports of Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was designed to enhance governance on the continent through self-assessment and the sharing of experiences between countries. Since its establishment in 2003, only three out of a possible 41 African countries have undergone the full review process twice, namely Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda. The purpose of undergoing the review process more than once is to record progress and take note of new or remaining issues. Read together, the country review reports (CRRs) of these three countries reveal patterns of progress and regress between reviews in the areas of democracy and political governance, and socio-economic development. This special report analyses the concerns raised in each CRR, and considers the improvements made between each review. Overall, it finds that all three countries made significant improvements in the area of democracy and political governance. This is evidenced by constitutional and legislative commitments to democracy, the rule of law and human rights. However, while all three countries have been praised for their achievements in consolidating democracy, persistent issues such as corruption, poverty and gender inequality still require attention. In some instances, commitment to good governance remains in the realm of legislation with follow-through in terms of practical implementation often lagging. Despite improvements, this report also finds that all three countries remain vulnerable to regression, particularly when it comes to managing diversity and tensions along ethnic lines. Here, the APRM’s potential to act as an early warning system should be harnessed. In preparation for their second and third APRM reviews, governments should build upon previous reports, responding strategically to the concerns raised. The CRRs of Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda also provide a valuable starting point for those countries that have yet to embark on the review process for either a first or a second time. Overall, the APRM process should be approached holistically and be seen as an ongoing attempt to improve governance, rather than an exercise carried out once every few years.