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

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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.

Job Opportunity: ALN Coordinator Position

After 2 years as ALN Coordinator, Aimee Franklin has moved on to new position with the Democratic Alliance. Aimee transformed the ALN Secretariat in Capetown, and oversaw the network’s exponential growth in size and quality. With 44 member parties from 30 countries across Africa, and equipped with a new constitution, the Zanzibar Declaration on jobs and growth and the Marrakech Declaration on human rights, the ALN has become a formidable force promoting liberalism across the continent.

The ALN is now seeking a dynamic individual to take on the position of ALN Coordinator who can build on that progress and deliver a whole range of bold and exciting successes. See the job description and terms of reference below.

Relevant dates to note:

• Deadlines for receipt of applications: July 1st 2015
• Candidates selected for interview will be notified by Friday July 3rd
• Interviews are scheduled (tentatively) for: July 15th, 16th, 17th 2015 or the following week

Interviews will be held in the offices of the Democratic Alliance in Cape Town where ALN Secretariat is based.

Please submit a cover letter, CV and the attached document ‘ALN Coordinator Application Questions’ completed in full to nick.thorne@libdems.org.uk.

ALN Coordinator Job Description and ToR

ALN Coordinator Application Questions

ALN Newsletter – May 2009

ALN Newsletter – May 2009

Welcome to the May 2009 issue of the ALN newsletter.

 

Much has occurred since the last newsletter was sent out in October 2008. Most importantly, the ALN Executive Committee has met in Dakar, Senegal, where its members proposed a bold plan of action for the next two years. I look forward to sending you more details of these initiatives in future newsletters.

 

The network has also recruited a new ALN Coordinator, Nick Branson, who replaces Imen Trabelsi, and is sponsored by the Liberal Democrats Westminster Foundation for Democracy Programme. I welcome Nick and wish Imen the best of luck. Nick can be contacted by email at Nick.Branson@africaliberalnetwork.org or by telephone on 00 44 20 7227 1369.

 

Kind regards

 

Dr Mamadou Lamine Bâ

ALN President

 

 

South Africa: The Democratic Alliance achieves its aims in 2009 election

Ryan Coetzee MP, Chief Executive Officer of the Democratic Alliance

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has achieved all three of our key objectives in this election campaign: to keep the ANC below a two-thirds majority, to win an outright majority in the Western Cape, and to significantly strengthen our position as the official opposition in South Africa.

 

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Le Madagascar: Le Président de l’Internationale Libérale condamne la prise du leader du MFM

Le Président de l’Internationale Libérale, Lord Alderdice, a fortement condamné la prise de Rakotonirina Manandafy, Vice-président d’IL et dirigeant du parti Mpitolona ho amin’ny Fandrosoan’I Madagasikara (MFM) de Madagascar. M. Manandafy, qui a été récemment nommé premier ministre par le président éjecté Marc Ravalomanana, a été arrêté par les soldats armés loyaux à Andry Rajoelina qui a pris pouvoir de la nation d’Océan indienne le 17 mars.

 

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Madagascar: Liberal International President Condemns the Arrest of MFM leader

Liberal International President Lord Alderdice strongly condemned the arrest of Rakotonirina Manandafy, leader of ALN and LI member MFM, the Progressive Party of Madagascar. Mr. Manandafy, who was recently appointed prime minister by Madagascar’s ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, was arrested by armed soldiers loyal to Andry Rajoelina, the army-backed leader heading the regime that took power in the Indian Ocean nation on March 17.

 

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République Démocratique du Congo: Les élections locales

Albi Bweya-Nkiama, Représentant Extérieur de l’ANADER; Vice-Président de RLA Chargé de l’Afrique central

La République Démocratique du Congo a organisé les élections urbaines, municipales et locales d’ici 2010. La commission électorale indépendante vient de lancer l’opération de révision de la liste électorale.

 

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Seychelles: Piracy Threatens a Whole Nation

Roger Mancienne, Secretary-General, Seychelles National Party; ALN Vice President for East Africa

Once upon a time, pirates were part of the exotic image of the Seychelles. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these islands in the south-west of the Indian Ocean were a refuge for them, and a number of stories of their exploits and buried treasures have passed into folklore. But the modern version has turned the romantic image to a harsher reality.

 

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Dr Lamine Bâ: Le Libéralisme est un Humanisme

Dr Mamadou Lamine Bâ, Président du RLA; Vice-Président de l’Internationale Libérale

Avec cette affreuse crise mondiale combinée (alimentaire, énergétique et financière), l’Humanité retient son souffle et s’interroge, doute et sombre dans un pessimisme existentiel.

 

Du Nord au Sud et d’Ouest en Est, tous les pays de la Planète sont déprimés par la crise qui a finit de plonger même les grandes Puissances dans la récession : des Etats Unis d’Amérique, au Japon et en Allemagne, en passant par la France et même la Chine que rien ne semblait pouvoir arrêter dans sa fulgurante croissance économique !

 

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Dr Lamine Bâ: Liberalism is Humanism

Dr Mamadou Lamine Bâ, ALN President; Vice President of Liberal International

In the wake of multiple global crises (food, energy, and financial), humanity has taken a deep breath and began to ask itself questions, uncertain as to its future.

 

From North to South and East to West, all of the countries of the world have suffered as a result of the crises which has even thrown the great powers into recession: the United States of America, Japan and Germany, not forgetting France, and China, whose meteoric rise seemed unstoppable!

 

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ALN Executive Committee Meets in Dakar, Senegal / Le Comité Exécutif du Réseau Libéral Africain était convoqué à Dakar, Sénégal

At the invitation of the Africa Liberal Network President, Dr Mamadou Lamine Bâ, the members of the Executive Committee met in Dakar, Senegal between 13-15 March 2009. The delegates reviewed the action plan submitted in Dar es Salaam in August 2008, and discussed a number of issues relating to the network and its future activities, including its finances and membership.

 

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À l’invitation du Président du Réseau Libéral Africain, Dr Mamadou Lamine Bâ, le Comité Exécutif était convoqué à Dakar, Sénégal du 13 au 15 mars 2009. Les délégués se sont occupés du plan d’action présenté à Dar es Salaam en Août 2008. Ils ont soulevé différentes questions liées au réseau et à ses futures activités notamment ce qui touche au financement et à l’adhésion au parti.

 

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Africa Liberal Network Gender Paper / Le Réseau Libéral Africain et la question du genre en politique

As part of a bold move to develop common position papers on several issues, the ALN has begun work on a gender paper focusing on role of liberal women in African politics. Each member of the network has nominated a representative to discuss gender issues at a workshop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire this July, which will feed into the development of this paper. The Rassemblement des Républicains will host this workshop thanks to funding from the Liberal Democrats Westminster Foundation for Democracy programme. ALN Vice-President for West Africa, Mme Kaba Yaya Fofana of the Rassemblement des Républicains has been nominated to lead this process in tandem with the ALN Coordinator, Nick Branson. It is hoped that this process will strengthen the foundations of the ALN, enbaling the member parties to further unite around their shared values.

 

La question du genre en politique est un des premiers chantiers qu’à commencé le RLA. Un document sur la participation et l’intérêt des femmes libérales à la politique en Afrique a été lancé. Chaque membre du réseau a cité un point important pour lancer le débat à Abidjan en Côte d’Ivoire en juillet prochain. Le Rassemblement des Républicains accueillera les délégués à cet atelier grâce à un financement de la Fondation Westminster pour la Démocratie. Le Comité Exécutif a désigné la Vice-Présidente du RLA chargée de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, Mme FOFANA KABA Yaya F. du Rassemblement des Républicains de Côte d’Ivoire, pour diriger le processus en collaboration avec le RLA Coordinateur, M. Nick Branson. Le document sur la question du genre adopté servira de position commune sur les questions du genre dans toutes les déclarations et projets du réseau.

 

 

 

 

ALN to organise Study Tour to the UK and Germany / Visite éducative au Royaume-Uni et en Allemagne

The Africa Liberal Network will send a delegation to the United Kingdom and Germany in September where representatives will meet with important political figures from liberal parties in both countries. Delegates will attend the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Bournemouth, and meet with members of the Freie Demokratische Partei in Berlin. While in Germany, delegates will also attend the Friedrich Naumann Foundation International Academy for Leadership. This study tour has been made possible through the generous support of the Liberal Democrat Westminster Foundation for Democracy Programme and the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit.

 

Le Réseau Libéral Africain va envoyer des délégués au Royaume-Uni et en Allemagne au mois de septembre pour rencontrer des hommes et femmes politiques des partis libéraux aux deux pays. Les délégués vont assister à la conférence des Démocrates Libéraux à Bournemouth et rendre visite au Freie Demokratische Partei à Berlin. Cette visite éducative est possible grâce au parrainage de la Fondation Westminster pour la Démocratie et la Fondation Friedrich Naumann.

 

 

 

 

ALN Election Calendar for 2009 / Annuaire des élections en 2009

Malawi – 19 May 2009 – Presidential/Parliamentary

DRC – June 2009 – Local

Angola – September 2009 – Presidential

Tunisia – October 2009 – Presidential/Parliamentary

Mozambique – December 2009 – Presidential/Parliamentary

Equatorial Guinea – December 2009 – Presidential

Cote d’Ivoire – TBC

 

Le Malawi – 19 mai 2009 – élections présidentielles/législatives

RDC – juin 2009 – élections locales

L’Angola – septembre 2009 – élections présidentielles

La Tunisie – octobre 2009 – élections présidentielles/législatives

Le Mozambique – décembre 2009 – élections présidentielles/législatives

La Guinée Equatoriale – décembre 2009 – élections présidentielles

La Côte d’Ivoire – A confirmer

ALN Newsletter—October 2008 Issue

ALN Newsletter—October 2008 Issue

 

Welcome to the October issue of the ALN newsletter.

 

First of all, I would like to reiterate my thanks to all the leaders and delegates of African liberal parties who put their trust in me and elected me President of the Africa Liberal Network during the ALN General Assembly meeting held on the 4th of August in Dar Es Salam. I can only assure them that I will do my best to make our Network more efficient, more responsive to the needs of its members, and one with a stronger voice on the African continent.

 

The ALN strives to promote democracy and the rule of law in Africa, never an easy task, as democracy is a goal to which we continously strive. Our continent has the potential to be the next biggest market in world economy by the middle of the 21th century. We have a wealth of natural resources, determined people, and a young dynamic population. All that is missing is true representative democracy and know-how. This is where we seek the support and solidarity of our European partners and friends.

 

We are grateful for the continued support of Liberal International who for the past 5 years has held its Congress twice on the African continent (Dakar 2003, Marrakech 2005) and is hoping to host its next Congress in Africa again in 2009. This shows clearly that liberals from around the world share our concern and hope for the future of our continent.

 

Kind regards

 

Dr Mamadou Lamine Bâ

ALN President

 

 

South Africa: Transition in South Africa, opportunity for the DA

Jonathan Moakes, Executive Director, Resources & Development

Democratic Alliance, South Africa

 

The recent month has been a time of great drama and change in South Africa. Over the past few weeks, South Africans have witnessed the most historically significant chain of events in our nascent democracy since the first democratic elections and Nelson Mandela‘s subsequent inauguration in 1994.

 

The dismissal of ANC President Jacob Zuma‘s corruption case, the subsequent forced resignation of Thabo Mbeki as the nation’s president and the resultant swearing in of Kgalema Motlanthe as his replacement have awoken many South Africans from their apathetic slumber. These unsettling events have certainly destabilised the country, and caused a great number of citizens to exhibit significant uncertainty and express grave doubts about its future. However, there can be no doubt that the same events have generated great excitement among many South Africans and have galvanised citizens of all races to take an active interest in politics.

 

It is in this climate of transition, concern about the future and renewed political engagement that one finds a wide avenue of opportunity for the Democratic Alliance. The need for a strong, vibrant, committed opposition, underpinned by liberal principles has never been clearer. With the next general elections barely six months away, the prospects of South Africa’s official opposition making significant inroads into the ANC’s majority are good. Furthermore, to quote Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, the “realignment of South Africa’s politics has begun.”

 

On 12 September 2008 in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Judge Chris Nicholson delivered his verdict that the decision of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute Jacob Zuma on corruption and fraud charges was invalid and therefore should be set aside. Apart from Zuma’s “victory”, the dominant feature of the judgment (seized upon with glee by Zuma’s supporters) was the Judge’s inference that Thabo Mbeki and certain cabinet ministers used instruments of state to pursue factional battles within the African National Congress (ANC). On the basis of this inference, the Zuma faction dominated National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC took the decision a week later to “recall” Thabo Mbeki from his “deployment” as President of the country, the ultimate settling of a political score. A day later (Sunday 21 September 2008), Thabo Mbeki resigned as President.

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Seychelles: Hard times re-shape the political landscape in Paradise

Roger Mancienne, Secretary General

Seychelles National party 

 

The SNP stands to gain as the ruling party is forced to adopt an IMF supported programme of economic reforms 

 

The political battleground is being redefined for the next few years as the Seychelles Government, with the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), lays out reform measures that spell hardship for the population. The opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP), which has long criticized the Government’s management of the economy, stands to gain as many of its policies are vindicated.

 

Building on democracy 

Since the return to multi-party politics in 1993, two issues have dominated the political landscape. One was democracy, which the party in power had massacred in a period of repressive one-party rule. The SNP’s origins as an underground movement for political liberty and its subsequent campaign for democratic governance and constitutional rights enabled it to grow in stature and become the main opposition, achieving a steady 45% of national support. But while the population continued to enjoy a relatively comfortable standard of living, democracy itself was not enough to sway a majority of people over to the side of the SNP.

 

As the opposition, the SNP has been able to shift the ruling party closer to democratic standards of governance. In the 15 years of steady and persistent campaigning by the SNP, the ruling party has, even if to defend itself against the criticisms, come to pay more attention to accountability, the rule of law and respect of constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and political activity. For that reason, democracy no longer defines the political landscape so sharply.

 

But there is the second issue – economic management. The stance of the SNP, in accordance with its liberal philosophy, has always been different from the marxist oriented philosophy of the ruling party. From the outset, the SNP advocated changes of policy towards empowering the private sector, easing government controls, liberalizing the foreign exchange regime, eliminating waste and corruption together with more prudent management of Government finances.

 

The economic debate 

It has been the strength of the ruling party that it had, over much of its 30 years in power, established creditable social services, with free education and healthcare and a variety of welfare benefits, while maintaining the purchasing power of the population.

 

The problem was that this system was fragile, being supported mostly by a very high level of government borrowing both locally and abroad. The government took a very negligent attitude to managing its debts, simply not repaying numerous bilateral and multi-lateral loans taken at the outset and eventually coming to rely on expensive commercial bank loans.

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Zambia: UPND nominates Hakainde Hichilema as presidential candidate

Tiens Kahenya, Secretary General

United Party for National Development, Zambia

 

Follwing the death of President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa on August 19 2008, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has since announced October 30, 2008 as the date for the Presidential Election and UPND is fielding party leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema as its presidential candidate. According to the Zambian constitution, the vacancy in the office of the President has to be filled within 90 days of the demise of the sitting President.

 

Before the announcement of the Presidential election date, however, the ruling party (MMD) attempted to persuade the Zambian people to agree to a Transitional Government of National Unity, frivolously arguing that it would be extravagant for the country to hold an expensive Presidential Election, when this money could have been channeled towards development.

 

However, the Zambian people vigilantly stood to protect the constitutional provisions of the country and to maintain Zambia’s good governance record. It was only then that the Government quickly abandoned the mischievous attempt to vandalize the constitution and quickly announced October 30, 2008 as the date for the Presidential Election.

 

So far three candidates from the three major political parties have indicated their intention to contest the Presidential Election : the United Party for National Development (UPND) president, Hakainde Hichilema (HH), Patriotic Front (PF) leader, Michael Sata and the ruling party’s Rupiah Bwezani Banda (RB), who is the incumbent acting President.

 

The UPND officially launched its presidential campaign with a promise to improve the country’s economy.

 

Addressing a mammoth crowed in Lusaka, Hichilema said that he had the necessary skills and a good team in his Party to move the country forward. Accepting the Party’s nomination as its presidential candidate, Hichilema said UPND would continue with the anti corruption fight, which was the hallmark of the late President’s legacy, while good governance would be a must.

 

He also pointed out that his government would provide free education up to University level, work towards providing quality health care to all its citizens and guarantee food security through prudent policies in the agricultural sector.

 

The incumbent President has already started violating the electoral code of conduct, by distributing food stuffs to the electorate in guise of addressing the hunger situation in some parts of the country. As incumbent President he is also allowed to campaign using unlimited state resources, whereas the opposition candidates have to fend for themselves, obviously tilting the electoral playing field to the advantage of the ruling party.

 

 

 

Malawi: UDF presidential candidate enjoys heavy backing

Clement Stambuli, Member of Parliament and Director of Campaigns

United Democratic Front, Malawi

 

Malawi’s former president and United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate for the May 2009 elections, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, is enjoying heavy backing from four opposition parties which have agreed to approach the 2009 elections with one presidential candidate. The four political parties are the New Republican Party of Gwanda Chakuamba, The Malawi Democratic party of Kamlepo Kalua, The Malavi Progressive Party of Uladi Mussa and the Malawi Democratic Union of Amuna Ndife Mkumba.

 

The merging of the opposition parties leaves three main contestants for the 2009 elections:Dr. Bakili Muluzi of the United Democratic Front, Hon John Zenus Ungapake Tembo of the Malawi Congress Party and Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party and current President of Malawi. However, consultations are underway for a possibility of Hon. JZU Tembo of Malawi Congress Party to be a running mate of UDF’s Dr. Bakili Muluzi.

 

Opinion Polls carried out by the Catholic Church gave over 90% chances of winning the Presidential polls by the opposition, citing various factors most prominent of which is the failure of the current administration to abide by the rule of law. On the Parliamentary polls, predictions are that Bingu Wa Mutharika’s DPP would win only 30 parliamentary seats out of the 193.

 

 

 

South Africa: A programme of action for President Kgalema Motlanthe

Helen Zille, Party Leader

Democratic Alliance, South Africa

 

The new President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe, must act quickly and decisively to gain the confidence of the South African nation, and demonstrate that he can rise above the factional power-plays of the ruling party and govern in the interests of the people as a whole.

 

He must show that he is the leader of the nation, rather than the chosen proxy for the leader of a victorious faction in the ruling party, at whose behest he was elected President. And for that to happen, he must, at the outset of his term in office, do two things which are in the national interest but which will not serve the self-interest of ANC President Jacob Zuma and his clique.

 

Firstly, he must announce the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal, headed by a judge nominated by the Chief Justice.

 

In his verdict on the matter between Jacob Zuma vs. the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Judge Chris Nicholson said of the arms deal: “Only a commission of enquiry can properly rid our land of this cancer that is devouring the body politic and the reputation for integrity built up so assiduously after the fall of Apartheid”.

 

This proposal – a key recommendation in a judgment which, incidentally, was hailed by the Zuma camp as proof that our judiciary is independent and that constitutional democracy is flourishing – should be adopted by President Motlanthe. In fact, it is only right and just that he should use his constitutional power to appoint such a commission, headed by a judge nominated by the Chief Justice, so that we can get to the whole truth.

 

The decay of our state institutions, caused by infighting in the ANC and the use of these institutions to wage political battles, partly has its origins in conflicts triggered by the arms deal. President Motlanthe can help to arrest that decay, and prove his commitment to fighting corruption, by appointing a commission without delay.

 

Secondly, President Motlanthe must state unequivocally that under his administration there will be no ‘political solution’ to Zuma’s legal problems. Any attempt to broker a special political deal for Zuma outside of the courts, with presidential consent, would be illegal and unconstitutional, and would violate the oath of office taken by President Motlanthe when he was sworn in by the Chief Justice yesterday.

 

It would be a betrayal of his conscience, and a gross infringement of the principle of equality before the law, if President Motlanthe abused his power either to facilitate or condone a political settlement for Zuma.

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DRC: ANADER welcomes resignation of PM Antoine Gisenga

Albi-Bweya Nkiama, International Relations Officer

Alliance Nationale des Démocrates pour la Reconstruction , DRC

 

In his article Albi-Bweya Nkiama states that ANADER welcomes the resignation of 83 year old PM Antoine Gisenga (Friday 26 September) given his advanced age and the inefficiency and inactivity that characterised his term at the head of the AMP coalition government. Gizenga, the leader of the Lumumbist Party (PALU), was appointed Prime Minister following a deal with Joseph Kabila, after Gizenga emerged third in the 2006 presidential elections and his party backed Kabila during his run-off with arch rival Jean Pierre Bemba.

 

Nkiama calls on President Kabila to make a judicious choice when appointing the new Prime Minister, one who would be in the best interests of the people of the DRC, rather than on the basis of party politics, and one who would be capable of addressing the long standing problems of the country, notably, the renewed fighting in the Eastern DRC and the ensuing human rights abuses, the recurring public sector strikes, the rising inflation (more than 34%), the mismanagement of public funds, and the prevailing state of insecurity in the country.

 

Nkiama draws a parallel between the situation in the DRC and the recent political developments in South Africa, noting that Gisenga was forced to resign and that the risk of a split within the AMP coalition was a strong likelihood.

 

For the full text in French, please click on the following link/ Pour lire l’article complet en Francais, priere de cliquer sur le lien suivant:

http://africaliberalnetwork.org/news_item.aspx?i_PageID=14231&i_News_CatID=16

 

 

 

Burkina Faso: ADF-RDA to hold congress in November

ALN member party ADF-RDA will be holding its 14th congress on the 29th and 30th of November 2008, under the theme of “Economic development and social stability in Burkina Faso: the role of political parties.” The theme was chosen in light of the current global financial and economic crisis and the necessity for political parties to find common appropriate solutions to protect their citizens.  It is worth noting that earlier last month, a cabinet reshuffle in Burkina Faso saw Gilbert Noel Ouedraogo, ADF-RDA party leader, and Ousseni Tamboura, stay in government as Minister of Transport and Minister for Literacy respectively.

 

To read the press release in French please click on the following link/Pour lire le communique en Francais, priere de cliquer sur le lien suivant:

http://africaliberalnetwork.org/news_item.aspx?i_PageID=14232&i_News_CatID=16

 

 

 

ALN elects new President and adopts constitutional amendments

Fifteen representatives of ALN members parties met in Dar Es Salam, Tanzania, 2-4 August 2008 in order to decide on the best ways of increasing the effectiveness of the Network and to agree an action plan for the next 2 years. The points discussed during the meeting included redefining the roles and responsibilities of office bearers, and of the different bodies within the ALN structure, and reviewing the procedures for admission of new members. The constitutional amendments were officially adopted during the ALN General Assembly which took place on Monday 4 August, together with an action plan for the next 2 years which stressed, among other things, the importance of increasing electoral support to member parties during elections. A new Exectuive Committee was also elected. Dr. Mamadou Lamine Ba from PDS Senegal, adviser to President Wade and Liberal International Vice-President, was elected as the new ALN President, together with 5 regional Vice-Presidents and a Treasurer.

 

 

 

ALN 2008-09 election calendar

Zambia–30 October 2008–Presidential

Mozambique–9 November 2008–Municipal/Provincial

Cote d’Ivoire–30 November 2008–Presidential

South Africa–May 2009–Presidential/ Parliamentary

Malawi–19 May 2009–Presidential/ Parliamentary

DRC–June 2009–Local

Tunisia–October 2009–Presidential/ Parliamentary

Mozambique–December 2009–Presidential/ Parliamentary

ALN Newsletter—May 2008 Issue

ALN Newsletter—May 2008 Issue

The road to democracy has many obstacles. Opposition parties in Africa have made progress in contesting elections, even if conditions remain far from equal. But even when opposition parties can win elections, one big hurdle remains.

We can all see the problem in Zimbabwe. Even if the Movement for Democratic Change can claim, convincingly, that it has won the elections, the ruling power just refuses to allow a peaceful transition. We all witnessed the situation in Kenya and the violence that ensued following the manipulation of election results, which ultimately allowed the ruling party to cling on to the lion’s share of power.

The situation which has been made evident in Zimbabwe and Kenya can occur in most countries in Africa which today have succeeded in establishing the right to multi-party elections. The articles in this issue depict a picture of the struggle of opposition parties from the Seychelles, Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire  for free and fair elections and a peaceful transition of power; and highlight the threat to democracy when cronyism and corruption become entrenched in the state business, as the case from South Africa illustrates.

Imen Trabelsi
Africa Network Officer

 

 

Of Referendum and CCM: The Frog’s Kiss That Will Kill Muafaka

Ismail Jussa, Head of International Relations

Civic United Front, Tanzania

 

The decision by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to reject the power sharing agreement that was jointly negotiated by its team and that of the Civic United Front (CUF) is to say the least frustrating and disappointing.

 

It was an anti-climax of more than two years of tiring and exhausting work to find a lasting peace for the islands of Zanzibar which have been beleaguered with a political stand-off since the re-introduction of multi-party system in 1992.

 

A free and fair election in Zanzibar is an important and critical step in the democratisation process of Tanzania as a whole because in Zanzibar, CUF – a democratic opposition – has won the past three elections and can win the coming elections. It is a litmus test of whether CCM is committed to the democratisation process or it is simply playacting in a process to hoodwink the international community, donor governments and their electorate that Tanzania is part of the expanding democratic community of nations and deserves their financial support.

 

In 2001 Zanzibar experienced bloodshed perpetrated by government security forces that was proportionately larger than what has taken place in Kenya recently. Zanzibar and Tanzania as a whole deserves better. Prevention is better than cure. Let us all strive to help Tanzania forestall another catastrophe in Africa.

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Defining Procedures for Peaceful Transition. A Requirement of Multi-Party Democracy

Roger Mancienne,Secretary General

Seychelles National Party

 

Since the return to a pluralistic political system in 1993, the Seychelles National Party (SNP) has campaigned hard and consistently for fair conditions for elections. It has made considerable progress – in particular in improving access to state-funded media and limiting the involvement of the security forces in election campaigns. There remains, however, the big issue of the use of state power and resources for election campaigning purposes.

 

Apart from the question of fairness in the electoral process, the issue of transfer of power remains an unknown. In 2006, the SNP had a very real chance of winning the Presidential elections and we are convinced we would have done so if the ruling party had not used state resources on a massive scale to influence voters. In the event, the SNP emerged with 46% of the popular vote.

 

One of the factors that worked against the SNP in that election is that some voters, especially older people, were afraid of what would happen if the SNP won. There was fear that the armed forces would not respect the results and would prevent a transition. There was also fear that the ruling party would not co-operate in allowing a peaceful transition and that the government of the country would be thrown into turmoil.

 

All these fears stem from one thing : the total absence of an accepted protocol for the transfer of power. Where would the ruling party leave the key to State House in the event that they were called to vacate? This is an issue that the ruling party has refused to address because maintaining the uncertainty confers a distinct advantage. In the face of the uncertainty, many people prefer not to contemplate the risk of change at all.

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The Presidential Elections in Cote d’Ivoire and the Kenya/Zimbabwe Syndrome

Yaya Fanta Kaba Fofana, President of the Technical Commission for Culture and Tourism

Rassemblement Des Republicains, Cote D’Ivoire

 

The latest announcement that the presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire will be held on the 30th of November this year, has been met with little hope and a lot of skepticism.

 

Kaba Fofana gives an overview of the political stalemate in Cote D’Ivoire and considers the questions of whether it is fair to say that the conditions for free and fair elections have been met and whether Cote D’Ivoire could be spared the fate of kenya and Zimbabwe.

 

To read the full article in French, please click below.

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The Criminalisation of the State in South Africa

Helen Zille, Party Leader

Democratic Alliance, South Africa

 

There is a thesis that African states fail because corruption ceases to become an aberration that needs to be rooted out. It becomes institutionalised in the system itself. It becomes business as usual.

 

In such states, politics has nothing to do with a struggle over ideas or even a struggle between ethnic, racial or religious groups. It is about gaining access to the state and, once there, using it for personal enrichment and ensuring that those who helped put you there are sufficiently enriched to help you stay there. Likewise, race and ethnicity are cynically manipulated to mobilise voters to keep you in power.

 

It is a process that starts with the centralisation of power in a small ruling clique, who deploy their cronies into all key positions, to entrench and protect their interests. Once in power, they move to colonise the mechanisms intended to hold power to account. Without checks and balances on power, corruption becomes inevitable.

 

Centralisation, cronyism and corruption soon culminate in the full-blown criminalisation of the state.

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South Africa’s DA Welcomes ALN Interns

As part of an ALN initiative to enhance learning and exchanges between member parties, the Democratic Alliance in South Africa recently received Herinandrinanina Andrinananjamanantsoa from MFM Madagascar and Thomas Mongi from CUF Tanzania who took part in a two-week internship. This follows a previous internship which took place in October 2007 with interns from Mozambique and the Seychelles.

 

The internship, organised and supervised by Gareth Morgan MP, was made up of a series of structured interactions with key role players in the DA’s parliamentary operation and at its National Headquarters. The interns were also invited to observe a number of regular meetings which allowed them to see the DA at work, met with a few MPs including the Chief Whip and the Leader of the Opposition, attended portfolio committee meetings, and had the opportunity to observe oral question time and various debates at the National Assembly. These meetings were backed up by explorations in a key focus area for each of the interns.

 

The internship provided an excellent opportunity for the participants to gain new ideas approaches and techniques which they said they were keen to implement within their own parties.

 

 

 

ALN Holds Workshop on Party Structure and Management, Maputo, Mozambique

The ALN held a workshop on party structure and management, in Maputo Mozambique, 20-22nd of February. The workshop, hosted by ALN member the Party for Democracy and Development (PDD) and attended by 27 ALN delegates, aimed to boost understanding about the importance of building a party structure that responds to the needs and objectives of the individual party. Themes covered during the workshop included looking at the structure of the party headquarters, the role of members, campaigning, policy and communications.

 

Following the workshop, the ALN delegates were invited to meet with Mozambique’s president Armando Guebuza.

 

 

 

ALN Members Attend Liberal International Human Rights Forum, Taipei, Taiwan

Ismail Jussa of CUF, Tanzania and Roger Mancienne of SNP, Seychelles represented ALN as speakers at the Liberal International Human Rights Forum which took place in Taipei, 7-9 December 2007. Mr Jussa drew on the previous and current history of Zanzibar to discuss the issue of human trafficking in Tanzania while Mr Mancienne gave an overview of the ALN, its mission and activities. The forum was hosted by the Democratic Progressive Party and centred on the theme of human trafficking.

 

The event presented an excellent opportunity for both delegates to forge links with other liberals from around the world, and to consider possible ways of fostering cooperation between the ALN and other regional networks.

 

 

 

ALN at the Liberal International Congress, Belfast, May 2008

The Africa Liberal Network will be holding its General Assembly, 15 May 2008, on the fringes of the LI Congress in Belfast. President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal will be one of the speakers at the official opening of the Congress. DA leader, Helen Zille, will be presenting one of the major theme papers. DRC’s ANADER will be presenting a report during the Human Rights Committee meeting on the issue of child soldiers in the DRC. Other presentations will be made by Pr. Ibrahim Lipumba, CUF National Chairman, and Wavel Ramkalawan, SNP leader, during a session on the threats of climate change to poverty alleviation and economic growth in Africa and strategies to promote adaptation in the most vulnerable countries. An ALN motion on Climate Change Adaptation will be submitted to the LI Congress. To view the motion, please click on the following link

http://africaliberalnetwork.org/news_item.aspx?i_PageID=14196&i_News_CatID=18

ALN Newsletter— June 2007 Issue

ALN Newsletter— June 2007 Issue

2007 has been a year of elections in Africa. Over 15 countries are conducting presidential and/or legislative elections including ALN member countries the DRC, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Seychelles, and Morocco. Kenya will also be going to the polls at the end of the year, and Sierra Leone is set to conduct national elections for the 2nd time since the signing of the Lome Peace Accord in 1999. This points to the increasing nature of democratisation in ALN member states and beyond, notwithstanding the persistence of fraud, underhanded manipulations by the ruling parties and in some instances even violence. The democracy bandwagon is rolling, and it seems, there is no stopping it. Eventually, not even in Zimbabwe.

 

ALN members continue to enhance the steady progress of the Network. The ALN advocacy campaign on Freedom of Expression was launched in May, and opportunities for the sharing of experiences and exchange of best practice were made possible. The ALN will continue to work towards cementing such initiatives primarily among African liberal parties, but will also be looking to engage with other liberal parties and networks in other regions of the world.

 

For more ALN news please visit our website on http://www.africaliberalnetwork.org

Imen Trabelsi
Africa Network Officer

 

 

DRC’s ANADER and South Africa’s DA Elect New Leaders

Both ALN member parties, ANADER and the Democratic Alliance have named their new leaders. Mr. Kumbu Kumbel was elected party leader of ANADER on the 25 th of March 2007, following the death of former leader Mr.Raphael KUMBU-KI-LUTETE. More recently, Cape Town Mayor Hellen Zille was named party leader of the Democratic Alliance during the party’s Federal Congress, held 5-6 May in Johannesburg. As Zille will also continue to serve as Cape Town Mayor, a new leader of the opposition in Parliament was elected on 24 May, in the person of Sandra Botha, an Afrikaans and a former activist in the Anti-Apartheid mouvement.

 

 

 

Burkina’s ADF-RDA and Seychelles’ SNP Hold Legislative Elections

Following the unexpected dissolution of the Seychelles National Assembly in March this year, the legislative elections which were held in May saw the SNP keep the same number of seats of 11 out of 34. The elections happened in the midst of difficult circumstances for the SNP after they had boycotted Assembly sessions and were busy campaining for fairer conditions for opposition parties in the aftermath of the presidential elections of July 2006. Besides, as the elections had not been due until October 2007,  the SNP was caught off-guard and unprepared. Following the presidential elections of July 2006, the party had little financial resources to mount a full-scale campaign.

 

During the same month, the legislative elections in Burkina Faso saw ADF-RDA win 14 out of 111 parliamentary seats. This was among allegations of fraud and rigging by the ruling party. The ADF-RDA remains the official opposition in the country.

For a review of the press on the Burkina elections, please click on www.africaliberalnetwork.org/news_item.aspx?i_PageID=14181&i_News_CatID=16

 

 

 

Seychelles: Independent Inquiry into Events of Last October Gets Underway

An independent Inquiry has begun into the bloody events of October 3, 2006, in Victoria when the leader of the opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP) and other party officials were beaten up in front of the National Assembly building. The Inquiry, led by Irish Judge Michael Reilly, is now probing into the events of the day, after considering the situation regarding access to public media by political parties, the issue which led to the incidents.

 

This part of the Inquiry is focusing on the actions of the police, in particular the anti-riot Special Support Unit (SSU), in the incidents. The Inquiry has questioned a number of the SSU officers involved but the officers have on several occasions told the inquiry they did not see or did not remember critical details of the incidents. None of the police officers involved have admitted seeing any of the SNP leaders being hit. Police officers have on several occasions changed their testimony, making statements to the Inquiry which were different from statements they had made to investigative officers when preparing for the Inquiry. SNP officials have also appeared before the Inquiry to give their account of the events.

The Inquiry continues.

 

 

 

Democracy or winning elections : The Dilemma for the SNP. Should Political Parties Take Their Eyes Off The ‘election ball’ To Fight For Fairer Conditions?

Roger Mancienne— SNP Secretary General

 

Hasty elections in the Seychelles have left the balance of representation in the National Assembly exactly the same as it was. But for the Seychelles National Party (SNP) it has shown a particular dilemma that opposition parties face. Can an opposition party afford to take its attention away from the election grind to push for fairer political conditions? The SNP found out how difficult it was to do both. 

 

First of all, it may be necessary to clarify that the SNP is still something of a ‘novice’ as a political party. It was formed out of the movement, initially underground and illegal, to bring democracy back to the Seychelles after 16 years of a one-party dictatorship. This was achieved in 1993 and 14 years on, the SNP is still fighting to achieve fair and equitable conditions for political participation. Its attention is still divided between the mission to establish democracy and the more ‘normal’ goal of an established political party, which is to win elections.

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MFM Takes On the Democratic Challenge in Madagascar

Olivier Rakotovazaha— MFM Secretary General

MFM will hold its Executive Committee meeting on 20, 21 and 22 July 2007 in Antananarivo, with the participation of representatives and senior officials from its 22 regional committees. The agenda will focus on the issue of decentralisation and the preparations for the legislative, senatorial and local elections scheduled for this year.

However, the dates for these elections have not been announced yet. This is due to the current electoral law which stipulates that election dates could be announced as late as 3 months before the actual elections. Opposition parties have been calling for the revision and amendment of the electoral law in the face of total refusal by the ruling party.

On the eve of the presidential elections of 3 December 2006, MFM drafted a series of recommendations to this effect which they submitted to international observers. MFM also submitted its recommendations during a roundtable organised by NDI and held on 11 June to discuss electoral law reforms.

 

MFM has also been calling for further constitutional amendments following the Referendum of 4 April 2007. For a full version in French, please click on

http://www.africaliberalnetwork.org/news_item.aspx?i_PageID=14182&i_News_CatID=16

 

 

 

Summit of African Liberal Parties’ Leaders, 2-6 May 2007, Johannesburg, South Africa

Representatives from 13 ALN member parties attended a 5 day summit under the theme of “Linking Liberal Parties in Africa: Driving the Liberal Agenda,” held 2-6 May 2007, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event was hosted by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in cooperation with the Africa Liberal Network and the Democratic Alliance.

 

The summit provided a forum for liberal leaders to identify and share ways of strengthening liberalism in Africa, based on an exchange of their wealth of experiences. Presentations by the parties and ensuing discussions revolved around the current political climate in these countries, the challenges faced, and solutions found. The event also included several guest speakers from the media, civil society and parliament who explored and discussed ways of building links and increasing partnerships in order to foster cooperation and strengthen liberalism in Africa.

 

Delegates also had the opportunity to share best practices on fundraising techniques, internet campaigning and advocacy campaign management, facilitated by the DA and FNF.

 

Delegates also attended the DA Federal Congress, held 5-6 May, where Cape Town Mayor Hellen Zille was elected party leader, to succeed outgoing leader Tony Leon.

 

 

 

ALN Launches Campaign on Freedom of Expression and Unveils Advocacy Website

The Africa liberal Network officially launched its campaign on Freedom of Expression on the 4th of May 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The launch event included a speech by DA Spokesperson on Communications, Dene Smuts MP, and unveiled  the new ALN advocacy website on Freedom of Expression. Among other things, the site displays press freedom rankings by region, an activism toolkit which contains useful documents and resources, information on journalists in custody, as well as a Hall of Shame with the 10 most oppressive governments in the world in terms of press freedom. The website could be found at www.africaliberalnetwork.org/advocacy