The Constitutional Protection of
Socio-Economic Rights in Selected
African Countries: A Comparative
John Cantius Mubangizi
This article evaluates the extent to which a few selected African countries have
incorporated socio-economic rights in their constitutions, the mechanisms through which
such rights are realised, the challenges such realisation entails and the approach taken by
the courts and other human rights institutions in those countries towards the realisation
and enforcement of those rights. The survey examines South Africa, Namibia, Uganda and
Ghana. Apart from the logical geographical spread, all these countries enacted their
present constitutions around the same time (1990 to 1996) in an attempt to transform
themselves into democratic societies. In a sense, these countries can be seen as transitional
societies, emerging as they have done, from long periods of apartheid and foreign
domination or autocratic dictatorships. The latter is true for Uganda and Ghana while the
former refers to South Africa and Namibia. The article concludes that South Africa has not
only made the most advanced constitutional provision for socio-economic rights, it has also
taken the lead in the judicial enforcement of such rights, an experience from which the other
countries in the survey can learn.
Professor and Deputy Dean, Faculty of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
Professor Mubangizi specializes in Human Rights Law, Constitutional Law and Environmental
Law and teaches these courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Cite as: 2
Afr. J. Legal Stud.
1 (2006) 1-19.
©2006 The Africa Law Institute.
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