The Democratic Alliance: The future liberal government of South Africa?

The following article originally appeared in the Liberal Democrat Voice and can be found here

 

The Liberal Democrats have had a strong and flourishing relationship with the South African Democratic Alliance (DA) for many years, and we continue to work together through the Africa Liberal Network (ALN) and the Young Leaders Programme. In this series of profiles of our liberal sister-parties overseas, Luke Akal, ALN Coordinator, gives an account of the DA:

On 27-30 January this year, the 13th annual Africa Liberal Network (ALN) General Assembly is being held in Johannesburg, hosted by South African member party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). The DA is a shining light of liberalism on the African continent and, as the main opposition party in South Africa, is an inspiring model for liberal parties around the world.

Since its establishment, the DA has increased its vote share in every election, going from 12% in 2004 to 22% in 2014, gaining 89 MPs and becoming the main opposition party. In 2009, the DA gained power in the Western Cape province, giving the party an opportunity to deliver on its promises. Over the past 6 years, the Western Cape has seen an impressive decrease in crime, as well as improvement in infrastructure, and demonstrating that the DA is a safe pair of hands in government.

Last year the DA launched ‘Vision 2029’, an ambitious plan to become the ruling government party by the end of the next decade. With the ruling African National Congress (ANC)’s failure to tackle staggering levels of inequality, crime, unemployment and the legacy of apartheid, and the recent crisis in which President Jacob Zuma was forced to appoint his third finance minister within a week, the need for a change of government in South Africa is clearer than ever.

The DA has achieved its impressive growth by running on an unapologetically liberal platform, in stark contrast to the uninspiring and corrupt leadership of Zuma’s ANC. They advocate an ‘Open Opportunity Society for All‘ in which all people, regardless of gender, race or sexuality, are empowered to live their lives, pursue their dreams and develop their full potential.  They stand for a free market economy, in which the role of the government is to provide every citizen with a minimum basic standard of quality services and resources, and have ambitions to significantly extend access to education and health care, tackle the HIV-AIDS crisis and address South Africa’s dangerous carbon footprint through green energy and environmental policies.

At the core of its success is the DA’s unique investment in its youth. Through its Young Leaders Programme, supported by the Liberal Democrat International Office, the DA organises a series of retreats for a group of young members within the party every year, and provides them with mentorship and training in leadership skills, with the long-term goal of empowering the next generation of leaders both within the party and in the country. Alumni from the programme have gone on to become activists, councillors and MPs, and are undoubtedly the future leadership of the party.

The DA faces challenges ahead, with the rise of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a political party exploiting the prevalence of poverty and unemployment and advocating a politics based on division, blame and hatred. But with continued commitment to the principles of liberalism, the DA is well placed to become the future government of South Africa.

The DA is the most diverse party in South Africa, now well-recognised and progressed under the leadership of MP Mmusi Maimane. Maimane, as a previous mayoral and premier candidate for the DA, will address the ALN’s General Assembly on Friday 29 January 2016 on the topic of Principles for Liberal leadership: Shaping the Africa of our dreams. He will address the audience along with the ALN’s President, Olivier Kamitatu.

This year, the ALN General Assembly focuses on the theme “Winning Elections: Strategies, Policies and Solutions for Success”. The ALN’s 44 member parties, from across the African continent, will gather in Johannesburg to share experiences and strategies on how to win elections and achieve liberal governments in their home countries. With the DA gaining ground in South African politics every year, we cannot think of a more appropriate host for this event!

Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the DA, said:

It is our goal to build a South African society based on the core values of Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity for all, where no child is left behind because of the circumstances of their birth. The DA is committed to building a political home for all our people, uniting South Africans around shared values, and ensuring that every single South African has a voice and a say in the future of our nation. 

It is an honour for the DA to be hosting this year’s Africa Liberal Network General Assembly. Internationalism and liberalism go hand-in-hand and we cherish the opportunity to meet and work with our fellow African liberals to help usher Africa into a brighter, more liberal future.Mmusi Maimane

ALN will hold its 12th General Assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa

The Africa Liberal Network (ALN) will hold its 12th General Assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa (27-31 January 2016)

The Africa Liberal Network (ALN) is an alliance of 44 Liberal Democratic parties and organisations from 30 African countries, with the aim to promote liberal democratic principles and international cooperation across the continent.

The ALN holds an annual General Assembly in order to create opportunities for networking and dialogue, ultimately discussing liberal solutions to African challenges. This year’s General Assembly will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, under the theme: Winning Elections: Strategies, Policies, and Solutions for Success hosted by full member, the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The General Assembly will commence on Wednesday 27 January 2016 with an ALN Executive Committee meeting, followed by an array of activities, sessions and workshops taking place from Thursday 28 January 2016 to Saturday 30 January 2016.

Some of the highlights include: An address from DA Federal Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, who will be sharing his vision for Africa; a word from our long time partners the UK Liberal Democrats and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation; an address from the ALN President Olivier Kamitatu; and regional reports from our Vice Presidents.

We are looking forward to a number of workshops and panels focused around Youth Mobilisation, Strategic Campaign Management and Coalition Negotiation, to name a few. A diverse array of politicians and professionals representing different parties and organisations from around the world will be travelling to Johannesburg to share their knowledge and experience on various topics. Experts include representatives of the Young Liberals of Canada, a member of the Obama re-election campaign team, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE).

We have a number of exciting and engaging events planned; this includes a dinner hosted by Midvaal Mayor, Bongani Baloyi, who will be discussing Midvaal Municipality as a model for liberals in government, as well as a dinner with the DA of Gauteng Province.

The General Assembly will conclude with a visit to the iconic Apartheid Museum and an address from DA City of Tshwane Mayoral Candidate, Solly Msimanga MPL, followed by an excursion to the famous Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

In light of the large number of local, regional and national elections taking place across the continent in 2016, we would like our delegates to leave having participated in constructive dialogue on how to increase their support, manage their election campaigns and, in a number of cases, serve in a government that effectively implements policies based on liberal democratic principles.

The Delegate’s Guide and Briefing, along with other important documents, can be accessed here

Wishing all participants a safe journey, we are looking forward to a successful General Assembly.

For further enquiries, please contact luke.akal@africaliberalnetwork.org

Luke Akal | ALN Coordinator | +27 (0)81 481 3754

 

ALN WELCOMES NEW COORDINATOR, LUKE AKAL

The ALN extends a warm welcome to the network’s new coordinator, Luke Akal.

Luke has previously worked in Field Operations for the ALN member party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance. His experience at the party’s Federal Head Office included conceptualising, supporting and monitoring provincial campaigns and projects across three of South Africa’s nine provinces. Luke’s passion in this role was translating policy into action by communicating effectively with South African voters.

Previously, Luke consulted with a South African education company. He holds a degree in Political Science and Communication Science.

Luke is enthusiastic about the opportunity to help grow liberalism across the African continent through the ALN. He believes in the power of liberal values and principles that can empower the hearts and minds of all Africans. Through the ALN, its members and partners, Luke hopes to empower African liberal political parties with the skills and assistance they require to excel.

Looking forward to the next ALN General Assembly, Luke is eager to meet representatives from all ALN members parties. He wishes to form excellent relationships with the entire network as well as its partners, and believes that together, the ALN will continue to grow from strength to strength in Africa’s transformation!

ALN Executive Committee (ALN ExCom) meets in Nairobi

11223655_10206021006658494_1429814784931340866_n

The ALN Executive Committee (ALN ExCom) met in Nairobi from 3 – 6 September to discuss a range of important issues for the network including the upcoming General Assembly. In attendance were ALN President Olivier Kamitatu, Vice President for Central Africa Medard Mulangala, VP for East Africa Rosemary Machua and VP for Southern Africa Stevens Mokgalapa, Iain Gill from the Liberal Democrats and Hubertus von Welck of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. The ExCom was hosted by Rosemary Machua and the Orange Democratic Movement, the main opposition party in Kenya and a key member of the ALN. After two full days of productive meetings, the ALN ExCom held a press conference attended by wide range of media including Aljazeera and the Kenyan Broadcasting Cooperation.