ALN urges al-Bashir government to respect the rights of citizens and media freedom

by Stevens Mokgalapa MP – ALN President

 

Date: 30 January 2019

Release: Immediate

 

The Africa Liberal Network respects the credibility of the reports from Sudan and as such are deeply worried about the economic circumstances perpetuated by al-Bashir’s government. Citizen’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, regardless of their political affiliations are the cornerstone of every responsible government and are a commitment of Sudan to its people, according to their own International treaty.

Protests in Sudan began on December 19 after the government tripled the price of bread. That ire has now spilt onto the streets, with protesters chanting their main slogan: “freedom, peace, justice!”

The protests, called for by professional and opposition groups, are part of a wave of unrest over a failing economy that has transformed into demands for the resignation of the autocratic al-Bashir who has run the country for nearly 30 years but brought little improvement to his people. The Sudanese Professionals Association also pushed for protests in various states and camps for internally displaced people, “to show our people’s rejection of the dictator”, the group said in a statement.

al-Bashir visited Kadugli a day after protest movements called for demonstrations in the three states, following weeks of anti-government rallies in other parts of Sudan.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday 28 January extended ceasefires in two conflict-hit states, official media reported, where protest leaders have pushed for anti-government rallies. The president extended the ceasefires for South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the official SUNA news agency reported, while no announcement was made for Darfur. This information has also been verified by our member party in Sudan, confirming the violence and arrest of political activists and opposition leaders.

Officials say 30 people have died in protest-related violence since the demonstrations began, while rights groups say more than 40 people have been killed.

al-Bashir has been charged by the Hague-based International Criminal Court for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Sudanese state security has in the meantime arrested 6 journalists covering protest marches calling on President Omar al-Bashir to resign.

The arrest by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) came after al-Bashir’s meeting with Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, where al-Bashir blamed the media for allegedly exaggerating the size of the protest marches.

al-Bashir beleaguered government has also revoked the credentials of at least 6 journalists working for international news outlets since the protests began.

The government crackdown has been harsh over the past month, with rights advocates reporting the use of excessive force by police and Amnesty International accusing security forces of firing tear gas and live ammunition in and around hospitals. At least 40 people have been killed in the clashes, according to rights groups, but the government has acknowledged only 24 deaths.

We urge al-Bashir’s government to respect the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, to release all journalists, political opposition leaders, activists, and any other protestors arbitrarily detained. We also call on the international community, in particular the UN Security Council to intervene and ensure an independent and transparent investigation into the deaths of all protesters.

As the Africa Liberal Network we support our local member party Sudan Liberal Party and commends its efforts towards fighting for individual rights, democracy & liberal values.

 

 

Stevens Mokgalapa MP
President
, Africa Liberal Network

STATEMENT BY THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK ON AFRICA DAY 2018

Today, on 25 May, we celebrate Africa Day 2018. Historically, this is the day that signifies the creation of the Organisation for African Unity (or the African Union, as we know it today) in 1963 and is meant to be a symbol for a united continent. It’s been 55 years since the liberation of Africa, and the continent has grown in many wonderful ways.

We could celebrate the massive strides made by African countries in growing their economies, building large urban centers filled with bustling populations, developing public health services, furthering education among African youth and creating governments that can comfortably share a table with international superpowers. We can praise the rich potential of the continent, in terms of resources, human capital, innovation and growth. We can laud the incredible diversity of African people and the range of cultures, religions and races that fill up this great continent.

These are points that should be celebrated with a respectful view of how far the continent has come since its liberation. Africa Day should be a day to reflect about the progress we’ve made as Africans and how we are a force to be reckoned with on the global political scene.

However, we cannot celebrate the continent’s successes without addressing the many ways in which it is not yet free.  In 2015 the AU adopted Agenda 2063 which is a framework and plan for addressing past injustices and assist in securing Africa’s place in the world, making the 21st Century, Africa’s Century.

Agenda 2063 reads that in the next 50 years it aims to achieve:

  1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
  2. An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
  3. An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
  4. A peaceful and secure Africa
  5. An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
  6. An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
  7. Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner

In order to achieve this, we have to critically and seriously address the various obstacles to growth, development and true liberation for Africa.

POOR GOVERNANCE

Even though we’ve seen a rise in democracies in Africa and democratization has been common place, we still have not reached an age of true democratic governance. African leaders and their governments continue to fail their countrymen by abusing power, misusing state funds, suppressing opposition and neglecting vital responsibilities. Once celebrated liberation movements have turned sour and hold on to power, with no regard for the well-being of citizens. An even more concerning trend is the abuse of democratic measures such as the constitution and electoral processes to legitimize authoritarian regimes. Until governments take responsibility for their countries and citizens, respect the rule of law, and leaders step down when it is their time, Africa will not be truly free.

OPPRESSION OF OPPOSITION

A healthy democracy comprises of a multiparty system that allows for opposition parties to partake in elections and critique the status quo. The constant suppression and persecution of opposition parties in Africa is not only undemocratic but an abuse of human rights in many cases. Every year opposition parties, their leaders and voters get targeted, jailed and in many cases killed, for speaking out against corrupt and oppressive authoritarian regimes. A worrying aspect of this phenomenon is governments and their leaders’ abuse of powers such as the national armed forces, state media and courts to oppress and persecute. Media should be independent and free to report on matters of national importance, whereas courts should be impartial in their proceedings and allow for unbiased trials. This constant oppression is not conducive to stable democracies and arenas for sustainable growth, to the benefit of all.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Over the past few decades we’ve seen rapid urbanisation take place in Africa’s major cities. However, with this increasing population growth comes many troubling issues, one of them being unemployment. Africa is struggling with an unemployment epidemic, with large portions of populations being left unemployed, impoverished and not empowered to live fulfilling lives. Most concerning is the enormous amounts of African youth who not only have job opportunities but also have very little education. Governments should be investing more resources into secondary and tertiary education, especially for girls, and ensure that with economic growth comes job creation and investment in local and small businesses. Economic liberation is something yet to be achieved for many Africans and liberal economic policies that ensure the most disenfranchised in Africa are taken care of is paramount.

SECURITY AND ARMED CONFLICT

In many African countries a harsh reality still exists: armed conflict is a daily occurrence. From rebel groups to terrorist organisations and even state-sanctioned conflict, it is unacceptable that there is an increasing lack of human security on the continent. Large groups of refugees have fled their war-torn countries in search of a safer life, resulting in mass displacement of African people. Some end up in situations not much better than the countries they fled from: in countries that do not want to accept them, refugee camps, or the slave trade. It is simply appalling that African people are treated with such discontent, with no regard for their lives. Conflict is never a solution and governments should go to the utmost lengths to ensure their entire population is protected.

LACK OF LEADERSHIP

What we experience in Africa today, is a leadership vacuum, on varying levels. Once impressive leaders have revealed themselves to be power hungry, while true leadership has not been given a chance to prove their worth. The Africa Liberal Network works with some of the most passionate and dedicated parties on the continent and remains hopeful that these leaders will be given an opportunity to govern and show Africa what true liberal governments can do for their countries. Furthermore, there is a need for regional and international organisations, such as the AU, to step up and critically engage on the issues plaguing the continent. It is no longer good enough to sit in the shadows while Africa goes through some of its most challenging years. We require a continental leadership who can bring countries together for mutual gain and equal development, while assisting those who are in dire need.

It is the hope of the Africa Liberal Network that Africa will reflect on its turbulent past today, whilst simultaneously being aware of how far we’ve come as a continent. However, it is also necessary to realistically assess the situation we find ourselves in today and think of ways we can achieve a truly free African reality, with empowered Africans living fulfilled, safe and empowered lives. A very Happy Africa Day to from our Liberal Family, to yours.

“WOMEN IN AFRICAN POLITICS: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS”

women in african politicsOur colleagues at the International Office of the Liberal Democrats recently published a booklet on Women in African Politics with the assistance and inputs from the ALN Secretariat.

Isabelle Pucher,  Head of the Liberal Democrat International Office and Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Senior Programme Manager says:

This publication, through a series of interviews, highlights both some of the barriers and some of the solutions existing to the promotion of gender equality in African politics. Although the evidence on under-representation of women in politics in different parts of the world is overwhelming and clear, there are still passionate and highly competent women that are ready to run for office and willing to defy the odds. I hope this publication will strengthen us not only as liberals, or as fellow human beings, but especially with regards to equality in politics. 

Click here to download the full publication

THE ACCRA DECLARATION ON LIBERAL ECONOMIES

DECLARATION TAKEN AT THE 2018 ALN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Accra, Ghana

4 March 2018

We, the ALN member parties, commit to working for secure and peaceful economic growth for all the peoples and nations of Africa and believe that fundamental to that is securing fair liberal economic policies for the benefit of all through the adoption by the governments of Africa, acting on the principles of full transparency and good governance, and provisions enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, of the following priorities for action;

  1. Acknowledging that a free and fair market without trade barriers, notwithstanding the Zanzibar Declaration of 2014, coupled with free movement of citizens of African countries within Africa without visa approval, is the path towards an economically developed African continent. International trade is important for long term growth, but also for decreasing poverty. Increased trade lifts both people and countries out from poverty and contribute to more openness and inclusiveness.
  2. Recognising that Africa is becoming a key player in acquiring, generating and applying knowledge to the different challenges within development. However, in order to make innovation play its part in the pursuit for diversification and transformation of the African economies more progress has to be done. Support in a sustainable way is needed to help African states address their urgent needs such as industrialisation, the green economy and job creation.
  3. Understanding that women’s economic advancement, in line with the UN Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women of 1979, is not only beneficial and crucial for gender inequality but also a precondition for Africa’s development as a whole.
  4. Understanding that the creation of non-exploitative work opportunities and due payment of earning in line with the Protocol of the International Labor Organization on Collective Bargaining of 1949, especially for the large population of unemployed youth, is essential for Africa’s economic transformation and sustainable development.
  5. Ensuring the implementation and application of the Rule of Law in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Universal Covenant on the Political and Civil Rights of 1966 and the African Charter on People’s and Human Rights of 1981, in order to uphold vital and democratic governance with stable independent institutions where checks and balances are agreed, and treaties and agreements are adhered to. This is key in creating a prosperous and fair African economy.
  6. Providing for the inevitable urbanisation and large flows of migration that comes along with economic growth, ensuring that adequate preparation is made for these changes and the impact it might have on public services, infrastructure, wages and health care, among others.
  7. Ensuring that as economies grow, natural resources are protected, food security is guaranteed and access to clean water is provided by governments. The sustainable and responsible development of Africa’s economies depend on these factors being taken into consideration.
  8. Acknowledging that public infrastructure investment is long overdue and working for the removal of unnecessary regulation, and regulatory uncertainty. It is also vital that we support new markets and investment, especially when it comes to resource-efficient innovations.
  9. Working towards promoting innovation, scientific research and skills without degrading the environment, that will be vital for prosperity in the future knowledge-based economy. Increasing artificial intelligence is something that will change the nature of work for many which means that Africa needs to act now to ensure this technological advancement can be of the benefit of everyone and that no areas are left in technology’s shadow.

 

LIBERAL INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT ON SUPPRESSION OF EGYPTIAN VOTERS

Our colleagues at Liberal International released the following statement on opposition and Egyptian voters suppression in Egypt ahead of their upcoming elections. The Africa Liberal Network stands with its global liberal family in condemning these acts and call on the government to cease such undemocratic practices. 

 

Harassment of Egyptian civil society and the throttling of political opponents of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is intensifying as the presidential elections next month draw closer.

Ahmed Abd Ramo, Secretary General of the Liberal Youth Forum and member of the political bureau of the Free Egyptians Party was seized and interrogated by the Egyptian police 23rd January 2018. He was in the Asyut region collecting signatures for presidential candidate Sami Anan when he was beaten and taken from his hotel room. He was then interrogated for six hours and finally dropped off in the desert. Fortunately he was able to survive and find a safe haven.

Hossam Eldin Aly, president of the Egyptian Democratic Academy, has not been able to leave Egypt for more than 1,000 days. Like scores of other directors of Egyptian non-governmental organisations, today Mr Aly lives with a travel ban – imposed by the government – for building bridges between the NGO movement in Egypt and the outside world. It is for this reason that he was unable to join us at the 199th LI Executive Committee in Johannesburg, South Africa.

More than 60, 000 people remain in jail and hundreds have been forcefully detained and tortured for daring to publicly criticize the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with little or no hope of an impartial judicial process.

Arbitrary travel bans, along with asset freezes, have been weaponized by the government to impose restrictions on basic human rights such freedom of movement and freedom of expression, association and assembly. For the last 18 months, the ban on travel has been transformed from a precautionary measure issued by judicial order to an arbitrary punishment used to restrict democracy activists. Most of the affected activists have never been summoned for interrogation nor had the cases against them heard. These malicious restrictions directly contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Committee of Liberal International insists on legislative changes that remove all restrictions on freedom of speech, association, and assembly, in compliance with the basic values of the 2011 revolution and the international conventions of which Egypt is signatory.

Further, I strongly condemn the use of travel bans, asset freezes, and arbitrary detentions of civil society and human rights activists, independent journalists, and members of the opposition in Egypt, and urge the government to put an end to these illegal practices.

 

Find more information and the statement here.

STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S OFFENSIVE REMARKS

The Africa Liberal Network takes note, and along with many African and world leaders, condemn the offensive remarks made about African countries by the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. During a meeting with lawmakers on Thursday the President reportedly used foul and derogatory terms to describe African countries, asking why many so many African immigrants have been allowed entry into the US. It is our view, along with many others, that these comments are incredibly ignorant, disrespectful and racist. In a time where African countries and other nations need to stand together and support each other, it is shocking to hear that one of the most powerful leaders in the world have such crude and offensive opinions of our great continent.

Africa has its fair share of obstacles and struggles, but it is also filled with hard-working, caring and innovative people, who are passionate about seeing a better future for their families, communities, countries and continent. Many such individuals are part of our network and liberal family, and spend most of their lives fighting for a just and fair society, even in the face of grave adversity. It is clear that President Trump has a skewed and ignorant view of what makes this continent and its people so special.

The Africa Liberal Network calls on President Trump to revoke his words and issue an unequivocal apology to all the great nations of Africa. He has to be held accountable for his statements by the American government and electorate alike. We also call on the UN Human Rights Council to pay attention to these statements and act accordingly.

Media enquiries:

Zanie Ferreira (ALN Coordinator)

zanie.maree@africaliberalnetwork.org

kenyan supreme court

ALN CONDEMNS KENYAN POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE

The ALN takes note of a range of attacks and reports of Kenyan post-election violence on supporters of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition. After the nullification of election results by the Kenyan Supreme Court, the NASA coalition, lead by Raila Odinga of ALN member party, the ODM, announced that they would not be participating in subsequent elections. They asserted that the second round of elections could not possibly take place fairly as there was not sufficient time to reform the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and rid it of irregularities noted during the first round of elections.

Since the announcement and consequential election success of Jubilee and President Uhuru Kenyatta, there have been reports of widespread oppression, intimidation and violence against NASA supporters, with some news sources reporting at least 66 people dead. Most recently, on 17 November, protesters escorting Odinga’s motorcade from Nairobi airport was attacked by state police, killing at least 5 people. Violence erupted and clashes with the police spread into other parts of the Kenyan capital, where protesters were faced with heavy-handed police brutality.

The ALN condemns this inexcusable use of state power by President Kenyatta to oppress opposition and their mobilisation. We call for peace in Kenya, and urge all Kenyans on both sides to remain calm especially in light of the recent announcement by the Kenyan Supreme Court that it has accepted President Kenyatta’s second election victory. NASA challenged these results in court but the Chief Justice dismissed any legal action.

Democracy, rule of law and constitutionalism must be held high during such troubling times. The ALN supports its sister party, and will continue to fight for liberal values, not only in Kenya, but over the whole of Africa.

Media enquiries:

Zanie Ferreira (ALN Coordinator)

zanie.maree@africaliberalnetwork.org

KENYAN POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE

Injustice and assault on democracy in Zambia must be stopped

STATEMENT OF THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK

STEVENS MOKGALAPA MP, ALN PRESIDENT

Note to editors:

The Africa Liberal Network is Africa’s largest political affiliation, consisting of 45 member parties from over 25 countries. The following statement and remarks are provided by the newly-elected ALN President, Stevens Mokgalapa MP, the South African Shadow Minister for International Relations and Co-operation (Democratic Alliance).

A magistrate’s court in Zambia has today ruled that the opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema (HH), must be tried for treason in Lusaka’s High Court. The date for this trial is unspecified and Hichilema remains in prison.

The decision to charge and try HH for treason is utterly problematic and deplorable; it is a clear indication of the level of corruption and political tyranny pursued by Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu. The Africa Liberal Network – as the continent’s largest political affiliation – denounces the trumped up charged against Hichilema and continues to call for his immediate, unconditional release.

Looking at politics in Zambia, democracy is failing. President Lungu has taken what was once a beacon of hope for the region and taken the country backwards, not only politically but also economically and in terms of human rights. The ALN denounces the actions of the Lungu administration in the strongest possible terms and we call for proper, necessary intervention by regional bodies including SADC and the AU.

It is worth remembering that treason remains an unbailable offence in Zambia, and if found guilty, one may face the death penalty. Hichilema’s treason case is based on the politically-motivated charge that he supposedly did not give way to the President’s motorcade.

Finally, the ALN encourages member parties to continue to uphold liberal democratic values and their commitment to sister-parties, especially our Zambian member the United Party for National Development (UPND). The Democratic Alliance, ALN full-member in South Africa, has taken a great lead in showing such solidarity with the party leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, pledging to return to Zambia support HH during his trial.

Our hope and commitment to the future is one of freedom under the rule of law for all Africans. We must work tirelessly everywhere, even in Zambia at this time, to achieve our mandate.

 

Media enquiries:

Luke Akal (ALN Coordinator)

+27 (0)81 4813754

luke.akal@africaliberalnetwork.org

politics in zambia

#WinKenya2017: ALN embarks on most ambitious project to date

As Africa’s largest political affiliation, the Africa Liberal Network seeks to support the growth and development of its liberal democratic member parties in order to win elections and go on to form liberal government to deliver positive, democratic change. It is the hope of the network that by doing so, we can plawinkenya2017y a part in bringing about positive change to the millions of Africans living in our beautiful continent.

In what will be the network’s most ambitious project to-date, the ALN is now turning its attention to Kenya. Here, the network and partners will cooperate with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ahead of the August 2017 General Elections, collaborating to support the party’s campaign and assist the ODM in building its support base so that it can ultimately deliver real change for Kenyans. This follows the successful pilot project in Botswana (2014), in which the liberal Botswana Movement for Democracy became a leading figure in the largest opposition coalition.

In collaboration with the U.K. Liberal Democrats and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the ALN’s newly-launched Campaign and Organisational Development (COD) Unit will support, peer-to-peer, the ODM in the run-up to next year’s polling day. Campaign experts, strategists, researchers and other election professionals will be brought in by the ALN and its partners to develop the ODM’s ability to maximise its performance in the Kenyan parliamentary elections.

“The ODM looks forward to a very fruitful relationship with the ALN’s COD Unit. I am confident that through the network’s track record, expertise and enthusiasm for liberalism in Africa, we will reach new heights in the next elections. We are in it to #WinKenya2017, and the ODM aims to use our election growth for the benefit of all the people of this country,” remarked Rosemary Machua, ALN Vice President for East Africa.

Encouraged by the great achievements of the 2014 Botswana project which saw the BMD grow in popularity, the Liberal Democrats are again on-board to support the ALN and the ODM to #WinKenya2017

“The International Office of the Liberal Democrats here in the U.K. is passionate about growing liberal democracy in Africa. Sponsored by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, we hold a mandate to do our best in supporting efforts that lead to vibrant, healthy democracies. Our long relationship with the ALN is one which allows us to support the ODM and oversee great results in 2017,” says Harriet Shone, Liberal Democrats Head of International Office.

In the first stop of the COD Unit, the ALN will in October 2016 travel to Nairobi to meet with key decision-makers and fellow strategists of the ODM. This assessment visit will provide the network and partners with the chance to identify areas for development in the ODM’s election strategy, organisational capacity and overall objectives. It is also an opportunity to build relationships with new and existing colleagues, all with one goal: #WinKenya2017.

Call for Nominations: Advisory Youth Council Elections

The Africa Liberal Network is proud to announce that a youth committee of the network has been established. This is an exciting time for the ALN, as nominations for elective positions of the first-ever Advisory Youth Council (AYC) are now open. For more information on the AYC, its opportunities and responsibilities, please read the About the AYC document.

Nominations open on 24 July 2016 and will close on 23 September 2016.

Positions

The following positions within the Advisory Youth Council are open for applications:
• Secretary General
• Regional Coordinators for each region of Africa (North, South, East, West, Central)
• Treasurer

Eligibility

Positions of the Advisory Youth Council are open to only full members of the ALN. Both observer and full members are eligible to vote for candidates.
Each candidate must not be older than 35 years of age, as per the African Youth Charter.
Only one candidate per ALN member party is eligible to be nominated to each one of the positions outlined above. For example, Party X may nominate only one person to the position of Secretary-General, another individual to the Treasurer role, and a third person to the relevant Regional Coordinator position. Thus, the Party may nominate up to three individuals where each is nominated to a different role.

Nomination Process and Deadlines

Member parties are advised that each candidate is requested to complete the provided application form for the relevant position and submit this to the ALN Secretariat. Nominations open on 24 July 2016 and will close on 23 September 2016. Candidates and member parties are welcome to campaign and engage on a variety of platforms, including social media, during this time.

Election Process

After receiving applications, the ALN Secretariat will invite all full and observer member parties to vote for the positions of Secretary-General, Regional Coordinator (relevant to their location), and Treasurer. Each member party will receive one vote per position.
Voting will be open on 3 October and close on 10 October 2016. Voting will take place via electronic means. An individualised, secret link for voting will be sent to each observer and full ALN member party. Once voting has closed, the results will be announced by the Coordinator of the ALN.