It has been thirty-five years since the African human rights system has had its major treaty instrument and a commission for monitoring. Since then the system has continuously grown in norms and institutions. Today for dozens of rights instruments, the systems enforcement shows off a handful of judicial, quasi-judicial and policy organs and mechanisms. Unfortunately, however, the regional expansion of standards and institutions has not kept up with the overall effectiveness of the regime. The system has for long encountered twin challenges of non-compliance by member states and deficiency in regional enforcement, owing principally to constitutional weaknesses, resources constraints, and lack of political commitment. Despite these seemingly intractable challenges, efforts to improve regional normative frameworks continue.In regional reforms, there are crucial components often overlooked: national mechanisms. While the primacy of national mechanisms in human rights enforcement is evident, the African system has not paid sufficient attention to the integration of regional standards into national systems in order to exploit the capacity, resources, legitimacy, and so on of these mechanisms. This is not about the casual call by regional institutions to national organs for support through promotion of standards, follow-up to regional decisions, and so forth. This is about a radical and ‘constitutional call to ensure the effectiveness of the African human rights system through direct enforcement of regional norms by national mechanisms. The potential for regional enforcement alone is almost exhausted and the fortune of the regional system hinges not on regional institutional reforms, however they are important, but on the constitutional powers of national mechanisms to enforce regional norms. That arguably is possible through direct enforcement. This principally would ensure, inter alia, the primacy of national systems, which is absent under current circumstances.