By: Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU- Over two decades since its adoption, Lesotho has ratified the African Union Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration.

This is according to the statement issued by the Lesotho’s Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This Charter was adopted by the 16th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on January 31st 2011 and entered into force on July 23rd, 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Charter is a binding legal instrument adopted by member states of the AU and it is envisaged to address the weaknesses within the African public service and administration.

The African Union Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration is also an Instrument through which the Member States of the AU enhance the public service delivery, fight corruption, and protect citizen’s rights as consumers of the public service. It is also a tool to promote good governance and sustainable development within the Member States.

Lesotho has become the 25th State to have signed, ratified and deposited Instruments of the African Charter at the African Union Commission (AUC).

Lesotho’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AUC and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Ntšiu Sekete is reported to havedeposited Instruments of Ratification on November 28th 2023.

According to Ambassador Sekete Lesotho is committed to realizing Africa’s aspiration of the Agenda 2063, which is expected to benefit the AU Member States, including Lesotho.

“While the Government of Lesotho works hard to modernize administration and strengthen capacity for the improvement of the Lesotho Public Service, we also find it fitting to take a stand and encourage the harmonization of policies and procedures related to Public Service and Administration among Member States, with the aim of promoting regional and continental integration,” said the Ambassador.

According to the Charter, the envisioned Public Service governance has to espouse the characteristics such as accountability and efficiency within the public service, that are guided by the functional legal framework, stringent regulatory structure, transparent systems for public finances and legal accountability.

Sekete also reportedly signed the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection. This happens as Lesotho has recently assumed the Chairship of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee (AU-STC) on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT).

The Convention is the binding regional treaty on data protection outside Europe.

It is a framework which provides general rules and principles on three broad themes: Personal data protection; electronic commerce; as well as cybersecurity and cyber-crimes on the continent. It offers a continent-wide platform to harmonize data protection policies in Africa by catalyzing digital rights; mainly data protection, privacy and internet freedom.

Ambassador Sekete remarked that the Convention will complement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement which is already operational, and seeks to advance and expedite the realization of the AU’s vision of a single market in Africa.

“The digital divide is reportedly still wide on the continent, but there has been an exponential growth of internet connectivity and digitalization plans in Member States in the past few years, which are hoped to pave the way for the Convention to be effective,” reads the statement.