Zambian Civil Society’s Arduous APRM Journey

Image: Getty, Walter Dhladhla
Image: Getty, Walter Dhladhla

Zambia began its African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) journey when president Levy Mwanawasa was in office in January 2006, but slowed down during subsequent administrations.


  • Zambia joined the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in January 2006, but it took eight years to publish its Country Review Report.
  • While President Levy Mwanawasa championed the APRM, the pace became glacial under his successors.
  • Relations that had soured between the government and civil society over Zambia’s constitutional reform process affected the APRM process. Both processes were steered by the Ministry of Justice.
  • Zambian civil society organisations (CSOs) recognised the importance of the APRM, and established the independent CSO APRM Secretariat in 2008.
  • Sustaining the momentum and engaging in the APRM process in Zambia over a long period of time (2007–2014) was complex owing to resource limitations, shifting priorities and general administrative fatigue.
  • Zambian CSOs faced several challenges, even after establishing the Secretariat. There were divisions between the members of the Secretariat and those CSO representatives on the National Governing Council.
  • A fundamental flaw in the Zambian process was the abrupt closure of the Secretariat and the absence of a plan to monitor the implementation of the National Programme of Action, a crucial aspect of the APRM.
  • Overall, this analysis seeks to contribute to the active participation of more African CSOs in the APRM, through lessons and recommendations.

2 Jul 2021