AOMA backs Tanzania to host the 11th IOI World Conference

The African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) on Monday threw its weight behind Tanzania’s bid to host the 11th World Conference of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) in 2016.

AOMA brings together ombudsman institutions (or Public Protectors) across Africa, with a view to advancing the ideals of good governance, human rights and respect for the rule of law in the continent. This is achieved through efforts supporting and protecting the independence and development of ombudsman institutions.

The IOI World Conference is a four-yearly forum for Ombudsman institutions, or their equivalent, from around the world to meet and share experiences and expertise. This is seen as critical as global governance and administration arrangements are undergoing fundamental change.

Speaking at AOMA’s Executive Committee meeting in Luanda, Angola, the 36-member body’s Executive Secretary, Adv. Thuli Madonsela, said the bid presented an opportunity for Africa to celebrate 50 years of the existence of the institution of the Ombudsman in in the continent.

Tanzania became the first African country to establish an Ombudsman’s office in 1966. This was 157 years after the world’s first such institution was founded in Sweden.

Adv. Madonsela and other heads of Ombudsman institutions in the continent have just returned from the 10th World Conference of the IOI in Wellington, New Zealand, where the body’s General Assembly, with representatives from more than 150 Ombudsman institutions, denounced among other things "physical, mental or unjustified legal coercion" of Ombudsman institutions and their heads over their criticism of governments.

“We hope this will give us an opportunity to reflect on the role that has been played by the Ombudsman institution in strengthening good governance and democracy in Africa.

“We also hope that together with the African Union, we can reflect on the opportunities for harnessing the full potential of the Ombudsman institution in contributing to the continent’s efforts towards human rights, development and peace in the continent,” Adv. Madonsela said.

She noted that the meeting took place two years before Africa reports to the United Nations on its achievements regarding the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs), which include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving quality basic education for all and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Adv. Madonsela, who is also the Public Protector of South Africa, reminded the meeting that the institution of the Ombudsman was an important player in Africa’s efforts to fight corruption, adding that AOMA believed corruption was a major impediment to the achievement of the MGDs.

“There is no doubt in my mind that good governance is an important factor in the achievement and non-achievement of these goals.

“There is also no doubt that the Ombudsman institutions are part of institutions of democracy that should create the necessary conditions for compliance with global obligations and other national priorities that seek to improve the quality of people’s lives,” she said.

Adv. Madonsela also thanked the government of South Africa, which, through the African Renaissance Fund that is managed by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, allocated R22 million to AOMA for the body’s research and information sharing efforts, which seek to strengthen the Ombudsman institution in the continent. This is done at the African Ombudsman Research Centre, located at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.

Issued by the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association For more information, contact:

Oupa Segalwe
Manager: Outreach, Education and Communications
Public Protector South Africa (AOMA Secretariat)
072 264 3273
012 366 7035

Published Date: 
Tuesday, March 19, 2013