Research Handbook on the Ombudsman
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Research Handbook on the Ombudsman

Edited by Marc Hertogh and Richard Kirkham

The public sector ombudsman has become one of the most important administrative justice institutions in many countries around the world. This international and interdisciplinary Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to discuss the state-of-the-art of ombudsman research. It uses new empirical studies and competing theoretical explanations to critically examine important aspects of the ombudsman’s work. This comprehensive Handbook is of value to academics designing future ombudsman studies and practitioners and policymakers in understanding the future challenges of the ombudsman.
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Chapter 12: Fifty years of the ombudsman in Africa

Victor O. Ayeni


Africa’s remarkable ombudsman experience offers new insight to the difficult challenges entailed in translating legislation into effective practice and impact. This chapter is a discussion of the ombudsman in Africa since Tanzania established the first office just over 50 years ago. It traces its spread and diversification, approaches to its design and implementation, and contributions to improving the lives of ordinary individuals. But African ombudsmen no longer consider themselves as only ‘grievance-handlers’. The discussion details the transformation from that more traditional form into an expanded multi-dimensional role. The chapter’s overall conclusion is that the institution has proved useful and relevant to the governance and development challenges faced in the continent. While its future prospects are promising, however several areas of serious performance gaps remain to the addressed as well. The chapter concludes by highlighting improvement areas for actions by governments and ombudsman offices.

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