The Burundi crisis and the mirage of an African Governance Architecture

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Following Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement in 2015 that he would run for a third term, Burundi was thrust into violence and instability as his eligibility was contested. This contribution argues that the regional and subregional responses to the crisis exposed the inadequacy of what the literature refers to as the African Governance Architecture (AGA). It asserts that although the normative component of the AGA is sound, the institutional component lacks the requisite ‘teeth’ to contribute meaningfully to the promotion of good governance on the continent. The article points to the characterisation of the AGA platform as a ‘free-space’ as evidence that the AGA is inferior to its individual organs and organisations. It argues that in assessing the AGA, there are two pertinent sets of questions, namely; what are Africa’s needs in light of its history, its present reality and its future aspirations?; secondly, what is the African Union’s promise to the continent vis-à-vis democracy and good governance as captured in the AU Constitutive Act?.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-366
Number of pages18
JournalSouth African Journal of International Affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • African Governance Architecture
  • Burundi crisis
  • Good governance
  • stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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