On 31 August 2023, ACJR hosted a webinar on Sub-national governance, law enforcement and oversight in Five African countries. The webinar highlighted key issues relating to sub-national law enforcement in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia, including the limited training provided to local law enforcement by local governments, the absence of effective oversight and monitoring of these local agencies, and the harsh and brutal enforcement of by-laws particularly on those living and working on the streets. It was noted in the discussions that sub-national enforcement is often accompanied by a combination of formal penalties (fines, impoundment, and confiscation) and informal penalties (bribes and extortion).
The webinar also discussed the question of internal and external monitoring, accountability and oversight and the lack thereof in many African jurisdictions which results in impunity of officials and locals having nowhere to turn to for redress. The webinar panellists included some member organisations of the Global Campaign for the Decriminalisation of Poverty and Status, Janelle Mangwanda (ACJR), Jean Redpath (ACJR), Rommy Mom (Lawyers Alert) and Peter Njoroge (City Street Vendors Empowerment Program – Kenya).
This was the third in a series of webinars on sub-national governance and the criminalisation of poverty and status planned for 2023.