New Study: Executive Interference Limits Strengthening of Independent Judiciary, Auditors and Civil Service Across Africa

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2015 / PRNewswire – Interference from the executive branch significantly limits the strengthening of an independent judiciary, auditors and civil service across Africa, according to the Africa Integrity Indicators (AII), a new report assessing transparency and accountability in all 54 African countries released today.

Even in countries where the judiciary enjoys full legal independence, in practice about half of the countries received very low scores and only six received high marks.

However, there is also progress. For example, a 2014 law in Tunisia added explicit provisions on judicial independence and constitutional protections from external intimidation were introduced in Liberia. In practice, in Benin, judges have been vocal whenever their independence was somehow threatened.

Similarly, the research found significant instances of executive interference into audit operations (restrictions from auditing certain accounts, politicized appointments and removals without due process) and the civil service (reports of the removal and replacement of civil servants based on political affiliation).

The report was produced by Washington DC-based non-profit organization Global Integrity with a network of more than 200 in-country African researchers and journalists. The indicators assess the rule of law, accountability, elections, public management, civil service integrity, and access to information.

There are also additional indicators about social issues, from minority rights to gender and education.

“While we do not expect everybody to always agree with our results, the indicators provide a snapshot of the issues at the time of the research and serve to help reformers -inside and outside of government- identify concrete opportunities for improvement,” said Hazel Feigenblatt, Global Integrity’s Managing Director of Research.

The indicators are available online at aii.globalintegrity.org and can be searched by country, by topic or year. A video about how to navigate our online tool is available here, an overview of the findings here, and the methodology here. Infographics are available for download here.

The Africa Integrity Indicators are produced in partnership with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and are included in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. They also are used by the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) and by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

About Global Integrity (globalintegrity.org): Global Integrity is a leading organization in the open governance space, recognized for its ability to collect high-quality data about various aspects of governance.