Chair, African Democracy Forum (ADF)
Coordinator, African Democracy Forum (ADF)
Senior Director for Africa, National Endowment for Democracy
The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance has emerged as an important tool enabling African civil society to engage with government and citizens in pressing for political reform. Panelists Hannah Forster and Patrick Mpedzisi discussed what progress the charter has made thus far, its potential for ratification, and whether it is making an impact on policy, changing the practice of governments, and mobilizing popular demand.
Hannah Forster is the Executive Director of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies in Gambia. Created by the Gambian government in 1989, the Center’s mission is to ensure respect for individual rights and freedoms through educational activities and publications, as provided in the Charter. In 2007, Ms. Forster was the first Gambian to receive the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award. She has also worked for the adoption of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Ms. Forster is the current Chairperson of the African Democracy Forum, a regional network affiliated with the World Movement for Democracy.
Patrick Mpedzisi joined the ADF team in July 2010 after working for the Southern African Trust. Born in Lusaka, Zambia, Patrick brings over 11 years of experience in development focusing largely on governance and African integration. Patrick has worked in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. Upon graduating in Law at the University of Zimbabwe and doing an internship with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, he moved to Kenya to assist with convening the first ever African Youth Parliament (AYP). Patrick later became the coordinator of AYP, after which he was seconded to the Kenyan Ministry of Youth Affairs as an advisor and liaison person for UNDP. He then joined the Eastern and Southern African NGO forum MWENGO as the Research & Development officer in Harare. Patrick is a trustee for the African Youth Trust and a member of the NEPAD Civil Society Think Tank. He has been a trainer, facilitator, and consultant to various processes and institutions including NEPAD, the AU, UNECA, the Commonwealth Youth Programme, Peace Child International, and the British Council.
The World Movement for Democracy recently interviewed Mr. Mpedzisi to discuss the Charter. The interview is available online here.