Public Protector elected Executive Secretary of AOMA
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela was elected Executive Secretary of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) during the Association’s third General Assembly held in Luanda, Angola last week.
AOMA, which brings together ombudsman institutions from all over Africa, was established in 2003 to support and protect the independence and development of ombudsman institutions. This is achieved through the promotion of information exchanges and best practices for the advancement of good governance and human rights in Africa.
Adv Madonsela’s role as the Executive Secretary will include ensuring that the Association is registered and recognised by the African Union and other international bodies. She is also tasked with building the organisation, with a view of ensuring that it is globally recognised.
“My other responsibility is to secure funds for the Association; assemble the secretariat; build a multi-lingual communication capacity, giving priority to four official languages, and consolidate the work already done in establishing the African Ombudsman Research Centre,” said Adv Madonsela.
She added that the centre, which will operate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, would be launched in a few months.
The election was highly contested, with certain countries backing Libya to become the Executive Secretary. This was mainly due to the fact that the country had already built offices for the secretariat and secured funding and human resources.
However, countries that threw their weight behind South Africa felt that the Secretary had to be chosen on the basis of human rights track record and ability to provide leadership
Apart from the election, the Assembly also focused on a number of key issues including ways of strengthening good governance and state accountability in member states, respect for the rule of law, transparency in governance and the independence of ombudsman institutions, among other things.
The week-long Assembly was held under the theme: “The Ombudsman and Good Governance”. The next General Assembly will be hosted by Mali in 2012.