Edited by Marc Hertogh and Richard Kirkham
Chapter 12: Fifty years of the ombudsman in Africa
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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