- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Rotberg Facilitates Landmark African Leadership Document

Spring 2004

A landmark Code of African Leadership was unveiled in March by the African Leadership Council (ALC), a group of current and former African leaders. Belfer Center Program on Intrastate Conflict Director Robert Rotberg, who serves as the Council's Interim Executive Director, facilitated the development of the document.

The Leadership Code, called the ‘Twenty three Commandments of Leadership,' sets out the paradigms of good governance for African leaders. The Code forms the heart of the Mombasa Declaration, a statement released by the Leadership Council in Mombasa, Kenya, where the March meeting was hosted by Kenyan Vice President Mr. Moody Awori. The Mombasa Declaration, signed by 10 African leaders, urges current leaders to be open minded and to learn from their predecessors and from good leadership globally.

The Code emphasizes respect for all human rights and civil liberties and promotion of democratic practices, the demand for peaceful and lawful transfer of power, and the elimination of corrupt practices. The Code also includes pledges to promote policies aimed at reducing poverty levels, strengthening and improving access to education and health care, and respecting the autonomy of judicial and legislative branches of government.

The ALC, chaired by former Botswanan President Sir Ketumile Masire, plans to deliver the Mombasa Declaration with the Code of Leadership to the African Union (AU), the New Partnership of Africa's Development (NEPAD), and to heads of state in Africa. Future plans include recruiting senior women and other senior leaders from Africa. According to Mr. Masire, "We intend to be fully inclusive of Africa, and fully aware of Africa's many positive advances as well as its critical leadership weaknesses."

"As a totally African response to immense needs as perceived by distinguished Africans," says Robert Rotberg, "the African Leadership Council's innovative endeavor is rare, promising, and unique in the annals of governance."

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For Academic Citation: Rotberg Facilitates Landmark African Leadership Document.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Spring 2004).