African liberals at the UNHRC: Raising awareness at Liberal International’s Human Rights Committee

From 23-24 June 2016, ALN Central Africa Vice President, Medard Mulangala, will be participating at the Liberal International Human Rights Committee Network of Liberal Parliamentarians on Human Rights meeting in Geneva at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The opportunity will be used to highlight the Burundi crisis.

The political and humanitarian situation in Burundi is dire, with ongoing violence and attacks against the most helpless citizens. The ALN has received reports that over 300,000 people have fled the country. In addition, abuse, rape and other atrocities have been committed against Burundian women and girls. Former Burundi Vice President, Alice Nzomukunda, advises that the armed militia of President Nkurunziza carries out gross human rights abuses with the false pretext of seeking out armed rebels.

Even children attending school are not safe. Learners have been arrested for scribbling on a picture of Nkurunziza which depicts him alongside Burundi’s two past kings, King Mwambutsa and King Ntare; these children have reported been sentenced. Whilst still at school, the children are forced to wear green, the colour of prisoners (as depicted below).

Burundi school children

Further obsessed with power and the desire to remain Burundi’s leader, Nkurunziza has flared the political crisis into an humanitarian one. He has further done so by attempting to ignite tensions between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, even by means of dividing the composition of the military along ethnic lines. This all continues to take place whilst President Nkurunziza plans to hold a referendum which would remove presidential term limits from the Constitution, thus allowing him to rule for as long as wishes.

The ALN maintains the need for sanctions against Nkurunziza’s regime and calls for inclusive dialogue, with the participation of the opposition grouping, CNARED. Peacekeeping forces of the African Union are also needed in order to further prevent the country from spiraling into anarchy as well as to monitor and report on the humanitarian situation. The ALN continues to call on the international community to monitor the crises in Burundi and prevent what some have referred to as genocide on the doorstep of the country.

Africa Liberal Network caught in Zambia political violence: call for peace ahead of August polls

The Africa Liberal Network (ALN) calls for peace, calm and stability in Zambia ahead of the country’s August 2016 elections. This comes after the Network’s Coordinator, Luke Akal, was caught in the midst of an act of political violence by the governing party on the United Party for National Development (UPND)’s Secretariat in Lusaka.

On Thursday, 2 June 2016, reportedly hundreds of Patriotic Front (PF) cadres approached the UPND Secretariat and sought to burn it down.

The PF cadres hurled rocks and caused extensive damage to cars and private property whilst gunfire was heard. A number of UPND cadres were injured in the incident. Meanwhile, the ALN Coordinator managed to flee to a safe house where he was permitted to stay until the South African High Commission arranged for diplomatic police to remove him from the situation.

The violence since then has continued with attacks by PF cadres on UPND supporters and volunteers, including one man who was shot in the arm as the UPND President, Hakainde Hichilema, made his way to the Mulungushi International Conference Centre to file his presidential nomination.

According to the UPND parliamentary candidate for Keembe Constituency, she and others were attacked whilst carrying out legitimate campaign activities, such as the distribution of party t-shirts:

“We were at Engen Filling Station giving people T-shirts and that’s when they [PF cadres] dropped off their vehicle with pangas, stones, sticks and knives and started hacking us. They smashed my vehicle and the three buses. We are in trouble…”

The ALN calls for an end to all forms of violence. The Network reiterates the call for tolerance and peace during election campaigns in Zambia, and urges Zambian President Edgar Lungu to take responsibility for ensuring the safety of all Zambians, regardless of their political affiliations.

The ALN additionally demands that the safety of its own staff, as well as other foreign individuals, must be protected.

It is unacceptable for the governing leadership in a democracy such as Zambia – often looked upon as an exemplary beacon of hope for multiparty democracy in Africa – to allow for such crimes to occur.

In spite of this dreadful incident, the ALN Coordinator carried out his mandate and shared the work of the Network with senior leadership of the UPND. This includes the party’s International Committee and the National Management Committee.

 

Zambia elections: ALN Secretariat to visit Lusaka

The ALN Secretariat will visit Lusaka, Zambia, from 30 May – 6 June 2016 in solidarity with the Network’s member party, the United Party For National Development (UPND). The party will contest Zambia’s tripartite elections on 11 August 2016.The-Road-to-HPO-in-the-Public-Sector-in-Zambia

The UPND is the Zambian liberal opposition party, holding 28 seats in the country’s National Assembly and over 250 local government seats. The presidential race is set to be exceptionally close, with UPND’s candidate and leader, Hakainde Hichilema, narrowly missing out by 1% (just over 27,000 votes) in the 2015 presidential by-election. The party aims to strengthen its support and mobilisation ahead of the upcoming elections to increase its votes across constituencies, local councils, and to win the presidential race.

The ALN Secretariat will meet with high-level UPND officials in Lusaka in a show of support for the party and as a prelude to possible future collaboration and support. The opportunity will also be used to meet with young leaders of the UPND, sharing the work of the ALN and encouraging participation in the Network’s Advisory Youth Council.

For more information on the UPND and the Zambia 2016 Elections, see the party’s website

The UPND Manifesto can be viewed and downloaded here

ALN Vice President confirmed as member of Liberal International Human Rights; one third of the Committee comprises African liberals

The Africa Liberal Network is pleased to announce that Vice President for Central Africa, Medard Mulangala (DRC), has been confirmed as a member of the Liberal International Human Rights Committee.

Central-Africa-Member-m5du4pykv1ilx2gw16wtvjvm9u2o6je1avp8z8izv6Mulangala was nominated by the ALN to represent the Network on the Committee. Along with Rosemary Machua-Kariuki (Kenya), Bouchra Barrijal (Morocco), Assiatou Bah-Diallo (Guinea), Stevens Mokgalapa (South Africa), Christian Mayanda (Republic of Congo) and Khadija el-Morabit (Morocco), the LI Human Rights Committee comprises seven liberal Africans.

Thus, one-third of the Committee is from the continent.

The ALN congratulates Medard Mulangala and his colleagues on this achievement and wishes them every success in defending liberal human rights values.

 

*Liberal International is the world federation of liberal and progressive democratic political parties. LI is the only international political affiliation with a dedicated human rights group.

The Changing Face of Africa: Women in Leadership

Main imageDefying the odds, African women are taking up a number of political leadership roles across the continent. Within the ALN’s own structures, we are proud of the organic rise of females in leadership positions in our member parties.

In this series of interviews, we asked the tough questions to female political leaders from South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar and Ghana.

The Africa Liberal Network aims to share the views, experiences and dreams of women in leadership. Through a series of interviews published on the ALN’s social media, the Network brought to you inspiration and a call to action for the empowerment of female leaders.
We are proud of the growth of liberalism in Africa and believe that the rise of women in both office and power can bring important, positive change.
Here are some of the highlights and stories of experiences, lessons and growth from this incredible group of African leaders.

Phumzile Van Damme MP (South Africa)

Phumzile van DammePhumzile is a National Spokesperson for South Africa’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. She is also a strong voice in the nation’s Parliament, taking on the role of Shadow Minister of Communications.

“It is important to encourage behavioural change to eradicate sexism, patriarchy, ageism and any prejudices that have the effect of positioning women as the ‘lesser sex’. There are great behavioural science studies governments could refer to, which, for example, favour incentives over punishment in order to change deep-set beliefs.”

As a National Spokesperson for the DA, Phumzile has to deal with both good and negative media coverage of the party. Perhaps this has been her greatest legacy – thus far – in showing that women can and should take on major leadership roles in African politics.
“It isn’t always easy, but it gives me the opportunity to publicly challenge beliefs, and be a ‘strong woman’ while doing so. I hope I have encouraged other young women out there to claim their space and not be afraid to speak out. I believe it is important to cultivate self-confidence in our young women. Young African women are often brought up to be quiet, obedient and not challenge the status quo. We need our young women taught from a young age that the world is their oyster, they can be whoever they want to be.”

 

 

Rosemary Machua-Kariuki (Kenya)

Rosemary not only represents Kenya’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) within the ALN, she is also the current Vice President of the Network for the East Africa region. In addition to this, Rosemary is the Director of Membership for the ODM.13072748_850376908439749_7193935417956634695_o

“Affirmative action and economic empowerment programmes are crucial in leveling the playing field and addressing past injustices,” argues Rosemary, in her response to the need for liberal African governments to empower women and build gender equality.

Closer to home, Rosemary sees the personal and political as interrelated in her own experiences.

“Politics is sometimes a marriage set up. In my own career, I initially set aside my personal ambitions and supported my husband. But when the time was right, I stepped up. Then the dilemma came where I started to actively support my party of choice,and he was in the opposing side. This was not because he wanted to do so, but the environment of tribal politics dictated which party he should support. Even so, I remained true to my liberal convictions and have grown to where I am today as a Director with Kenya’s largest opposition party.”

“It is impossible to create comfort for a young girl outside an environment that guarantees social justice. My vision for Africa is one where social justice reigns and there is proper adherence to the rule of law.”

 

 

Margaret Obrine Sarfo (Ghana)

Margaret is the chairperson for the Greater Accra Region of the Independent Peoples Party (Ghana).

Like many women, Margaret was faced with the challenge of blatant sexism and discrimination in her early career.

“After school in the 80s, I aipppplied to work in an industry but my hopes and aspirations were curbed because the demand for sex before employment was at play. I wasn’t employed because I didn’t give in though I was qualified by their requirements. Out of frustration, I decided to work for myself and set up my own business. I’ve been successful though the challenges that I faced as a young woman did not hinder my path to achieve success which I am very proud of today.”

“My vision for Africa is to see about fifty percent (50%)of women taking over the leadership positions and the governance of our continent to create a better future for us all. An African child should be treated in a respectful and free environment which can open avenues for her to chose a career of her choice and also to excel in her field of endeavor.”

In order to reach this point, Margaret is convicted that African liberal governments have a role to play.

“I believe that liberal African government should give the enabling environment for women to excel in all their chosen careers. Government must actively work to bridge the gap that is gender inequality.”

 

 

Cayley Green (South Africa)

Cayley GreenIn her role as a director for South Africa’s official opposition party, Cayley is an example of the role that women can and should play in the operations of parties. Traditionally the domain of men, road to directorship has not been an easy one.

“Right from when I decided to study politics I faced questions about what kind of job I would get and what I would do with my degree. Even once I got a job, I have faced, and still do face, questions about how I will balance a family and children with such a demanding workload. Sexism is also pervasive in our society – from being cat-called on the street, to having the first comment at a meeting be your appearance.”

Like other African liberals, Cayley encourages young girls to know that their future does not depend on the man they marry and being a mother. She draws a line between tradition and the choice all young girls should be free to make.

“Young girls should have the freedom to choose their own paths in life. Tradition and culture can be respected within that, but tradition and culture should not deny young girls freedom of choice over their own futures. No young girl should be denied an education because of lack of resources or because of gender stereotyped roles and responsibilities. I hope that in the future we see more woman in politics across the continent and more opportunities for young girls to enter careers of their choosing across professions.

Conflict on the African continent is sadly a continuing reality for many, and woman are often uniquely affected by conflict as victims of rape and violence. Leaders across the continent need to take a stand against such actions and must work to prevent this continuing reality.

Young girls in Africa have so much potential and if it is recognised, encouraged, respected and supported then the opportunities for the future are boundless.”

 

 

Malalatiana Rasoaniaina (Madagascar)

As a leader in the Movement for the Progress of Madagascar, Malalatiana believes that women are critical to the development of a country. “The potential of young girls I know is incredible; they are even more aware of the needs of their country than their male counterparts”.

RASOANIAINA MalalatianaAlthough not yet the dominant party in Madagascan politics, Malalatiana’s party now holds a number of positions in the cabinet. In light of this, she shares what she believes is the role of liberal governments in Africa:

“Governments have the duty to empower women. They must recognise that women have the potential and deserve to be in office and in power. To promote gender equality, there should be public education campaigns through mass media.

Women’s participation in government must also be reflected at every level. Special programmes must further be designed to help women acquire knowledge and experience so that they can improve their skills in leadership.”

Sharing her passion for Africa’s success through liberal democracy, Malalatiana tells us that she dreams of an Africa where Africans really benefit from their continent’s own wealth.
“Africa should treat and respond to a young girl in the continent by giving her a chance to prove her ability in dealing with political matters. A dream of mine is the establishment of a political academy based on liberal democratic values. This would be a place to nurture young women and develop their knowledge to become future leaders”.

Young African liberals at the International Academy for Leadership: Leadership for Young Leaders

 

From 17-29 April 2016, a promising group of young liberal leaders from across the globe gathered at the International Academy for Leadership (IAF) in Germany. Amongst them were two of the Africa Liberal Network’s own young leaders, Jawad Chafil (Morocco) and Stenah Shampile (Zambia).

Thanks to the long-standing support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, the ALN cites this as one example of its commitment to developing young African leaders and empowering them to take on the world stage of liberalism.

An experiment in world liberalism

Both Jawad and Stenah are passionate about politics at home in Morocco and Zambia, respectively, and without doubt, they hold that their time at the IAF taught them new skills to take back and use in their own political lives.

Jawad summarises the seminar for us:

13234549_10156932978985284_1825227779_o “The IAF Leadership for Young Leaders was an open experiment. It offered us a framework, set up by the IAF, to evaluate all the contents, methods, and objectives ourselves.”

“We learned that although training and developing young leaders is a difficult task, it is incredibly worthwhile because it leads to a better moral standing of liberalism. This takes place through the need to always increase the capacity and capabilities of young people everywhere – in democratic institutions and organisations at all levels”.

 

 

For Stenah, her time at the IAF proved important for self-reflection, “There was one particularly mind-blowing session where we were asked why we lead. I must confess, I have never asked myself why I do what I do! It was a question that was difficult to answer but with the guidance of our wonderful and great facilitators, we managed to get to know why we are involved in leadership ourselves.”

As for the learning environment, Jawad sees the IAF as “a dynamic process influenced by the design and structure of the program as well as the environment in which it occurred. We had a supportive environment of deep thinking; which itself represented the culture of IAF”.

Lessons in leadership

“We also learned a great deal about personality types and how that relates to leadership. A good leader will recognise these personality types and come up with a strategy on how to handle each personality type for the good of the organisation. I learned a valuable lesson here in that there is much value in every personality type; there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ ones,” says Stenah.DSC_0237 (1)

Closely related to this is the concept of personal branding. Jawad and Stenah were given the opportunity to think about their own brand, what they want it to be, and how their brands are perceived by other people. A key realisation here is that their brands have a very strong impact on how they lead others.

The seminar held a special focus on some critical tools for leadership, amongst them, communication, active listening, the power of imagination and open space technology.

Leadership from theory to reality

The participants were exposed to some examples of best practice in leadership. In their engagements with liberal leaders, Stenah and Jawad had the opportunity to attend the Federal Congress of our German sister-party, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and engage with the party’s leadership.13241495_10156932981090284_1861596312_o

 

The ultimate lesson

Both our young Zambian and Moroccan leaders have one important piece of advice to share as a result of their experiences at the IAF. Stenah leaves us on this note:

“We had powerful presentations from various speakers; from politicians to business persons, all made it clear that what made them successful is that they have stayed true to themselves. They are honest with themselves, and we must do just the same.”

13198505_10208084631566858_4846860626752338135_o

Opportunity: IFLRY Programme Managers

The ALN is excited to extend an invitation to all young African liberals to apply for a position as a Programme Manager at the International Federation of Liberal Youth!

Seven programmes are available, including Free Trade, Human Rights, and Gender Equality. All positions are part-time and voluntary, accommodating your work and studies. Where travel is involved, such as to IFLRY statutory meetings, the organisation will manage your travel and accommodation.

For full details, please read the  Call for Programme Managers document here.

Instructions for application are found in this document. Remember to include the ALN Secretariat in your application email (info@africaliberalnetwork.org)

ALN at the London Youth Political Academy 2016

From 24-29 March, the ALN participated in a Youth Political Academy with the Liberal Democrats in the UK.

IMG_5573
From left: Jawad Chafil (Union Constitutionelle, Morocco), Nomzamo Kheswa (Democratic Alliance, South Africa), Iain Gill (Liberal Democrats UK, Head of International Office), Rodrick Mogotsi (Botswana Movement for Democracy, Botswana), Rosemary Machua (ALN East Africa Vice President, Kenya), Berlinda Bulley (Progressive People’s Party, Ghana), Luke Akal (ALN Coordinator, South Africa)

This opportunity provided our delegates with direct experience in campaigning on the ground within a variety of constituencies. Part of the Academy strengthened the knowledge and skills of delegates through training on door-to-door voter outreach, whilst also providing a platform for the sharing of our best practices from across Africa and Europe.

IMG_5647
Jawad and Berlinda campaigning door-to-door!

On the fringes of the event, the African participants formed a steering group of the Network’s Advisory Youth Council (AYC). During these meetings, the delegation, led by East Africa Vice President Rosemary Machua, strategised the structure, setting and tasks of the AYC.

The ALN is thankful to our long-standing partners at the Liberal Democrats for their valuable input during the course of the Academy. We are glad to have played a small part in their campaign, and wish our sister party the greatest success in the upcoming London Mayoral Elections and the EU Referendum.

IMG_5705
The AYC steering group

The ALN Secretariat will soon release a first-hand account of the Academy from Jawad Chafil, a participant from Morocco’s Union Constitutionelle party.

For a full gallery of images from the Youth Political Academy 2016, please see here

[MEDIA NOTICE] ALN Vice President to tell UN Human Rights Council Burundi needs “rapid deployment of peace-keeping troops”

 

Media Notice

London/ Cape Town, 23rd March 2016

Embargo: Immediate

Contact: Tamara Dancheva, Head of Human Rights Programme, Liberal International, +44 20 7839 5905 Luke Akal, ALN Coordinator +27 81 481 3754

 

 

ALN Vice President to address UN Human Rights Council: Burundi needs “rapid deployment of peace-keeping troops”

 

Vice President of the Africa Liberal Network Médard Mulangala – a former contender for the presidency of the Democratic Republic of Congo* – will address the United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday 23rd March 2016 on behalf of the Liberal International and the Africa Liberal Network to draw attention to the escalating humanitarian and political crisis unfolding in neighbouring Burundi.

 

Mr. Mulangala will tell the UN member states that they must:

exert all of their diplomatic, logistical and financial influence for the rapid deployment of peace-keeping troops to Burundi. The African and international community cannot, and must not, sit by and allow for more violence to take place.”

 

The statement follows the African Union (AU) High Level Delegation of African heads of state to Burundi. The ALN and LI remain highly concerned regarding the lack of tangible outcomes of these meetings and the lack of strong response from the AU. Together, we call for inclusive, peaceful dialogue and the protection of innocent civilians at any cost. It is unacceptable that over 400 lives have been lost under the presidency of Pierre Nkurunziza

 

 

ENDS

 

 

Note to Editors:

 

–          *Mr Medard Mulangala is President of the Union pour la Majorité Républicaine and a leader of the opposition umbrella group, Union Sacree pour l’Alternance, in the Congolese parliament. In 2011, Mr. Mulangala was seen as a leading candidate in the presidential elections in the DRC – a unifying figure who could bring together different groups from Congolese society against Joseph Kabila. During the 2011 campaign, Mr. Mulangala was the first Congolese politician to be interviewed by renowned journalist David Frost on the Al Jazeera English network.

–          The oral statement will be delivered in Salle XX, Palais des Nations, Genève and can be viewed here between 12:00-15:00 (GMT+1).

–          The ALN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the deteriorating situation in Burundi in January 2016. Building on this, LI issued a joint statement with ALN as recently as 27th February, calling on African leaders to intervene in the crisis.

–           Liberal International (LI) is the world federation of over 100 liberal and progressive democratic political parties and affiliates. LI was founded in 1947 to strengthen liberal protection from totalitarianism and communism. It has since become the pre-eminent network for promoting liberalism, individual freedom, human rights, the rule of law, tolerance, equality of opportunity, social justice, free trade and a market economy.

–           The Africa Liberal Network (ALN) is the largest network of African political parties and the second largest globally, outside Europe. The ALN consists of 47 member parties with the aim promoting Liberal Democratic principles across the African continent by 1) providing a platform for like-minded liberals in Africa to share information, experience, skills, and ideas, and 2) capacitating our member parties with the skills they need to win elections and run governments based on Liberal values.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement: The Madagascar natural environment

The following statement produced as a result of collaboration and dialogue between ALN members,  MFM (Militants pour le Progrès de Madagascar), and Southern Africa Vice President, Stevens Mokgalapa, at the 12th Annual ALN General Assembly.

 

Madagascar est confrontée à des problèmes de changements climatiques dans sa quête du développement et de la croissance économique. C’est un pays isolé de l’océan Indien occidental. Il subit une dégradation avancée de son environnement et la disparition d’espèces endémiques protégées. Il est également passé par une période de crise sur le plan politique, suivie d’un coup d’État en 2009. Un nouveau régime vient d’être instauré et la population doit lutter contre la pauvreté. Il est crucial de mettre en œuvre une politique de développement durable permettant de sauvegarder l’environnement et de promouvoir la croissance économique en exploitant l’économie bleue.

 
Le MFM en appelle au Réseau libéral africain pour appuyer le Gouvernement de Madagascar de faire appliquer la résolution n° 34/91 adoptée par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies à la 99e séance plénière du 12 décembre 1979. Il est plus judicieux de suivre les procédures des Nations-Unies en vue de la restitution à la Nation Malagasy les îles Glorieuses, Bassas da India, Juan de Nova et Europa sous l’égide des Nations Unies et de la Communauté Internationale.

 
A l’instar de la sortie de la crise politique de 2009 grâce à la feuille de route, Madagascar doit s’appuyer sur l’aide de l’Unité Africaine, des instances régionales telles que la SADC à l’origine de la feuille de route, à l’Indian Ocean Rim Association et des pays membres du Conseil de Sécurité comme, entre autres, la Russie, les Etats-Unis et la Chine.
Il est plus que souhaitable de voir l’implication du conseil de sécurité dans la résolution du différend entre Madagascar et la France pour la restitution des îles Malagasy.