During the last decade of the 20th century, Africa has been marked by a "constitutional wind" which has blown across the continent giving impetus to constitutional reforms designed to introduce constitutionalism and good governance. One of the main features of these processes has been the promotion of public participation, encouraged by both civil society and the international community.

This book aims to provide a systematic overview of participation forms and mechanisms across Africa, and a critical understanding of the impact of public participation in constitution-making processes, digging beneath the rhetoric of public participation as being at the heart of any successful transition towards democracy and constitutionalism. Using case studies from Central African Republic, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the book investigates various aspects of participatory constitution making: from conception, to processes, and specific contents that trigger ambivalent dynamics in such processes. The abstract glorification of public participation is questioned as theoretical and empirical perspectives are used to explain what public participation does in concrete terms and to identify what lessons might be drawn from those experiences.

This is a valuable resource for academics, researchers and students with an interest in politics and constitution building in Africa, as well as experts working in national offices, international organizations or in national and international NGOs.

chapter |10 pages


ByAbbiate Tania, Böckenförde Markus, Federico Veronica

part I|29 pages

Conceptualizing public participation in constitution-making processes

chapter 1|13 pages

Participation – to unveil a myth

BySaati Abrak

chapter 2|14 pages

Letting the constituent power decide?

Merits and challenges of referenda in constitution-making processes in Africa
ByBöckenförde Markus

part II|186 pages

Participation in constitution-making processes

chapter 3|12 pages

The flawed public participation in the Egyptian constitutional process

ByAbdelaal Mohamed

chapter 4|14 pages

The 2011 constitution-making process in Morocco

A limited and controlled public participation
ByBiagi Francesco

chapter 5|17 pages

Participation in the Tunisian constitution-making process

ByCherif Nedra

chapter 6|14 pages

The role of participation in the two Kenyan constitution-building processes of 2000–2005 and 2010

Lessons learnt?
ByMacharia Rose W., Ghai Yash

chapter 7|28 pages

The francophone paradox

Participation in Senegal and in Central African Republic
ByCroce Leopoldine

chapter 8|14 pages

People and constitutions

The case of Zambia
ByCheembe Boniface

chapter 9|17 pages

Public participation under authoritarian rule

The case of Zimbabwe
ByMwonzora Douglas Togaraseyi

chapter 11|17 pages

Public participation and elite capture

A yet incomplete struggle towards a new constitution in Tanzania *
ByMichaelis Philipp

chapter 12|16 pages

Mission impossible?

Opportunities and limitations of public participation in constitution-making in a failed state – the case of Somalia
BySchmidt Jan Amilcar

chapter 13|17 pages

The process of drafting a citizen-driven constitution in South Sudan

Which role for the public?
BySeidel Katrin

part III|81 pages

Participation in context

chapter 14|14 pages

Wanjiku’s constitution

Women’s participation and their impact in Kenya’s constitution-building processes
ByCottrell Jill

chapter 15|15 pages

Societal engagement, democratic transition, and constitutional implementation in Malawi

ByNicolini Matteo, Trettel Martina

chapter 17|12 pages

A success story of participation?

LGBTI rights in South Africa
ByFederico Veronica

chapter |12 pages


Does participation help to foster constitutionalism in Africa?
ByPrempeh H. Kwasi