… Whereas the Africa Liberal Network envisions a prosperous and integrated Africa of flourishing democracies that are at peace with one another, in which all persons have the right and opportunity to fulfil their potential and be what they want to be;
… Whereas the Africa Liberal Network exists to empower liberal parties to grow their support, to increase their influence on politics and to implement liberal policies when in government;
… Whereas the Africa Liberal Network subscribes to the terms of the Johannesburg Declaration and full members agree to incorporate in their manifesto at least fifteen of the twenty principles outlined in the Pan-African Liberal Manifesto drawn-up in Addis Ababa;
… Whereas members of the Africa Liberal Network believe in liberalism, care about promoting liberal ideals and stand for liberal values/principles of good governance; respect for human rights; democracy; rule of law; open trade, open economy and sustainable development; freedom, responsibility and ownership;
This being a network of African liberal parties founded in July 2002 in Mombasa, Kenya and adopting its constitutive act, the Johannesburg Declaration, in June 2003 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is called the Africa Liberal Network, otherwise known as ALN, and will hereinafter be referred to as the ‘network’.
The headquarters of the network shall be at any place on the African Continent determined by the General Assembly and the full identity of such place will be published in Schedule 1 of this constitution.
The purpose and objectives of the network are to:
3.1 Spread liberal values across the African continent;
3.2 Facilitate the development and growth of liberal parties, organisations and individuals in all African countries;
3.3 Encourage solidarity among members with the aim of assisting them to achieve power through democratic means by empowering them to grow their support, to increase their influence on politics and to implement liberal policies when in government;
3.4 Establish an alliance of like-minded liberals in Africa for sharing of information, experiences, skills and ideas;
3.5 Create a liberal grouping in the Pan-African Parliament and harmonise positions among liberals there;
3.6 Enhance co-operation with the international liberal family and increase the participation of Africa in global sharing of values and ideas.
4.1 This constitution was revised and adopted in Marrakech, Morocco on 29/11/2014.
4.2 Schedules cited by this constitution are part of the constitution with the necessary force and effect. The only difference is that schedules will be subject to a more frequent review through majority decision by a quorate meeting of the ALN Executive Committee or General Assembly resolution.
5.1.1 Membership shall primarily be open to liberal political parties and secondarily
To organisations and individuals that share the values and principles of the network.
5.1.2 For liberal political parties there shall be a full member category and an observer member category. Full members shall be those who satisfy all requirements and conditions of full membership in the view of the General Assembly, while observer membership status will be reserved on a temporary basis for parties:
18.104.22.168 which do not yet meet one or more of the criteria in 5.3.3 below;
22.214.171.124 whose application process outlined in 5.2 did not yield sufficient detail for the General Assembly to make a fully informed decision regarding full membership.
5.1.3 Observer membership status will last for one year until the next General Assembly following the one at which observer membership was granted. The General Assembly will then vote on whether to extend observer membership for an additional year due to the party still failing to satisfy the criteria in 5.3.3, terminate observer membership due to an inconsistency between the party and the values of the ALN or grant full membership should the party be deemed to have satisfied the criteria in 5.3.3.
5.1.4 Observer members will be entitled to participate in all ALN meetings and events, but will not have any voting rights.
5.1.5 There shall be an associate membership status for organisations and individuals that are not political parties.
5.1.6 Associate members will not be awarded full membership of the ALN at any given time. Associate members may participate in all ALN meetings and events and each associate member will be entitled to one vote.
5.1.7 Not more than two (2) political parties shall ordinarily be admitted from one country as either a full or observer member. 5.2.6 and 5.2.7 outline the additional membership application process that the second applicant party from a sovereign state must be subject to when there is one existing full or observer member in that sovereign state.
5.1.8 Exceptions may be granted to 5.1.7 above if, after the process outlined in 5.2.6 and 5.2.7 is completed, there are no objections from existing full or observer members in that state, and if the applying party is able to present a written cooperation or coalition agreement currently in force with one of the existing member parties in the state in question.
5.1.9 Should it come to the attention of the ALN Executive Committee that the cooperation or coalition agreement as presented in the membership application is no longer in force, the party that was granted membership on the basis of the cooperation or coalition agreement will be required to re-apply for ALN membership in terms of the process outlined in this constitution at the first General Assembly after this situation came to the attention of the Executive Committee, failing which membership will be terminated.
5.1.10 In cases where there were more than two (2) ALN member parties in a sovereign state prior to the adoption of this constitution in Marrakech, Morocco on 29/11/2014, 5.1.7 will not apply and the parties will be entitled to retain their membership status.
5.1.11 Should the membership of any existing or future ALN member lapse or be terminated as per the provisions of this constitution, it will need to re-apply for membership in terms of the provisions outlined in this constitution in full.
5.1.12 There will be no limit to the number of associate members from one country.
5.2.1 Political parties, organisations or individuals wishing to apply for full or associate membership shall complete and submit the relevant ALN membership application form (Schedule 2 of this Constitution) to the network President and Secretariat.
5.2.2 All membership application forms must be accompanied by an outline of the Johannesburg Declaration and Pan African Liberal Manifesto, which must be signed by the party leader, head of organisation or individual applying to indicate agreement with the principles contained therein.
5.2.3 Upon receipt of an application for full or associate membership, the President and/or Secretariat shall notify other members of the Executive Committee and table it for consideration at the next meeting of the Executive Committee.
5.2.4 After receipt of an application for full membership, a representative of the network will be appointed by the Executive Committee to conduct an assessment to establish the credibility of the party and its commitment to liberal values prior to admitting it as a member of the network. This representative will be required to submit a written report containing its findings to the Executive Committee for use in the membership deliberation process.
5.2.5 In the case of the receipt of an application for associate membership, the Executive Committee may take any actions they see fit to assist them in determining the suitability of the organisation/individual for membership of the network.
5.2.6 In the case of a political party applying for full membership from a sovereign state where the network already has an existing member party, the latter shall be called upon to submit its views on the application, the suitability of the applicant and the manner in which the membership may affect its own interests and the growth of liberalism in the country.
5.2.7 The Executive Committee shall consider the application at its next meeting, in doing so giving the views of the existing member parties very careful consideration, and making its own assessment as to the merits of the membership in view of the goals of the network.
5.2.8 All applications, including relevant objections or recommendations, shall be placed before the General Assembly by means of a presentation from the relevant regional Vice-President. A decision on admission shall be taken by a simple majority vote of those attending and the President shall, after consultation with members present, decide whether the vote will be by secret ballot or show of hands.
5.2.9 Should applicants for full or associate membership wish to make a representation in person to the General Assembly in order to motivate their application, a time slot will be granted to them on the programme in order to do so.
5.2.10 The Secretariat shall undertake to inform the applicant in writing of the decision immediately after the General Assembly.
5.3.1 Full membership shall be open to African political parties which are founded on liberal principles and committed to implementing these ideals in government.
5.3.2 Associate membership shall be open to organisations and individuals that ascribe to liberal principles and are committed to implementing these ideals in their work.
5.3.3 The minimum criteria for consideration as a full member are to be legally registered as a political party with the relevant national election authority in a sovereign state and to have a written and adopted constitution governing the functioning of the party in force. Exceptions to these minimum criteria may only be made by a majority decision of the ALN General Assembly in exceptional circumstances and the reasons being clearly minuted.
5.3.4 Parties applying for full membership must subscribe to the terms of the Johannesburg Declaration and have to agree to incorporate at least fifteen (15) of the twenty (20) principles outlined in the Pan-African Liberal Manifesto drawn-up in Addis Ababa in their current party policy . Parties must provide evidence of the incorporation of fifteen (15) of the twenty (20) principles of the Pan-African Liberal Manifesto into party policy on request from the Executive Committee or General Assembly.
5.3.5 Membership of Liberal International shall be considered as a favourable basis for admission to the network.
5.3.6 No political party, organisation or individual being a member of a corresponding organisation with competing political values shall be accepted for membership.
5.3.7 Current network members shall be published in Schedule 3 of the Constitution according to the type of membership.
5.4.1 All full and associate members will have the right to nominate one delegate to participate in all General Assembly meetings.
5.4.2 All members shall make a financial contribution to the network on the basis of criteria set out in 5.4.3, 5.4.4 and 5.4.5 below.
5.4.3 Full member parties shall ordinarily pay a minimum annual membership fee of US$1000. Members with 5% or more seats in the National Assembly (lower house) must pay an additional fee based on the criteria stipulated in Schedule 4, which also sets out the number of extra votes they are entitled to as a result of this additional payment.
5.4.4 Observer members shall pay an annual membership fee of US$500 but will not be entitled to any votes.
5.4.5 Associate members shall pay an annual membership fee of US$100 and will be entitled to one vote.
5.4.6 The table in Schedule 5 of this constitution reflects the financial contribution of members, as well as the allocation of votes and will be annually updated by the Secretariat. .
5.4.7 In order to qualify for voting rights at the General Assembly, membership subscription must be paid-up. The membership fee shall be paid into the network’s bank account as provided by the Secretariat during the first quarter of each calendar year (1st January-31st March).
5.4.8 If a member does not meet its financial obligations within the first half of the calendar year, and fails to settle its debts within two months of a subsequent reminder sent by the Secretariat, its voting rights will be suspended until it pays its debts. As such, the member will be eligible to attend, but not to vote during meetings of the General Assembly.
5.4.9 If a member fails to meet its financial obligations for two consecutive financial years, such a member will be considered as having resigned from the network after being informed in writing by the Secretariat of the invocation of this clause in respect of said member.
5.4.10 Full or associate members may apply to the Secretariat to design a payment plan where that member is unable to afford its full contributions due. This payment plan is subject to the approval of the ALN President, and once in force, the full or associate member concerned will retain full voting and participation rights as set out in this constitution.
5.4.11 Where a full or associate member fails to honour the agreed payment plan, such a member will be considered as having resigned from the network after being informed in writing by the Secretariat of the invocation of this clause in respect of said member.
5.5.1 The Secretariat should keep the status of all members under review and inform the Executive Committee in the event that a member is removed from the register of members contained in schedule 3 due to resignation, a failure to meet its financial obligations in terms of clauses 5.4.9 or 5.4.11 or if the member party disbands.
5.5.2 Members may resign from the network at any time by means of written notice to the President and Secretariat.
5.5.3 All ALN members and their representatives shall abide by the spirit and the letter of the Johannesburg Declaration, failure to do so shall lead to immediate sanctions as determined by the Executive Committee, and later ratified by the General Assembly.
5.5.4 Members may be suspended or dismissed from the network for actions or declared policies that are illegal, counter to the goals of the network, bringing the network into disrepute, unfairly harming the interests of a member or other members of the network or are detrimental to the functioning of the network and the conduct of its activities.
5.5.5 A motion to suspend or dismiss a member may be made by any other member and shall be sent to the President and Secretariat in writing, outlining how the member in question can be deemed to have committed the offences outlined in 5.5.4.
5.5.6 The Executive Committee may, if it considers that the circumstances require urgent action, suspend a member until a final decision is taken by the General Assembly.
5.5.7 A motion to dismiss a member may only be made by majority decision of the General Assembly, which may also vote in favour of punitive sanctions where dismissal is not deemed appropriate.
The ALN is composed of the General Assembly (GA), the Executive Committee (EC), the Secretariat as well as the Patrons.
6.1.1 The General Assembly is the meeting of all members of the network under the chairmanship of its President or a Vice-President designated as his substitute, or in the event of the absence of the President or their substitute, of a member chosen by a majority of members gathered to hold a General Assembly.
6.1.2 Each full or associate member may appoint one delegate to participate in the General Assembly for every vote allocated to that member.
6.1.3 Observer members may appoint one delegate to participate, but not to vote, in the General Assembly.
6.1.4 Additional delegates to those outlined in 6.1.2 and 6.1.3 may attend, but all logistical arrangements and associated costs will be for their own account. Additional delegates will not have voting rights.
6.1.5 The General Assembly shall be held at least once every calendar year and may be held in conjunction with another activity to which members may be invited, provided that all members have been informed of the parallel holding of the General Assembly. Quorum for the meeting will be one third of full members. Where a quorum is not reached, a new meeting of the General Assembly shall be called no earlier than thirty (30) and no later than ninety (90) calendar days after the first meeting. The second meeting of the General Assembly shall be entitled to validly take decisions, irrespective of the number of full members present.
6.1.6 The General Assembly shall be the highest decision making body and shall be responsible for making the decisions guiding the work of the network, including but not limited to:
126.96.36.199 Considering and voting on motions to amend the Constitution or its Schedules;
188.8.131.52 Considering and voting on applications for membership or motions for suspension or dismissal of members;
184.108.40.206 Proposing, endorsing or adopting a calendar of activities for any specified period;
220.127.116.11 Considering and voting on any motion brought by any member;
18.104.22.168 Electing the Executive Committee in terms of this constitution;
22.214.171.124 Making any other decisions necessary for the functioning of the network or the attainment of its objectives.
6.1.7 To ensure the professional and efficient management of General Assembly proceedings, the Secretariat, in consultation with the ALN President, will be responsible for setting fair and reasonable deadlines for the submission of information to the General Assembly including, but not limited to, deadlines for the nomination of candidates, deadlines for constitutional amendments, deadlines for the submission of membership applications and deadlines for the submission of resolutions.
6.1.8 Information submitted after the deadlines referred to in 6.1.7 has to be presented in writing to the Executive Committee with clear justification for missing the set deadline. The Executive Committee will then rule on the admissibility of the submission.
6.2.1 The Executive Committee shall be responsible for considering the strategic direction of the network and implementing the decisions of the General Assembly.
6.2.2 The Executive Committee shall be made up of the Officers of the network as follows:
126.96.36.199 Five Vice-Presidents representing the five regions of Africa, namely north, west, central, east and southern Africa
188.8.131.52 Coordinator/Executive Secretary (Ex-Officio)
6.2.3 In order to ensure smooth coordination with Liberal International (LI) and its partners, the Executive Committee will nominate a candidate for election to the Liberal International Bureau every time a vacancy arises. In the event that the network is not represented in the Liberal International Bureau, its member(s) from the African region may be invited to attend meetings of the Executive Committee in order to report back on matters of mutual interest. They will attend as observers and will not be entitled to vote.
6.2.4 Aside from the Coordinator acting as Executive Secretary, members of the Executive Committee shall be elected to serve for a twenty four (24) month term, renewable once. Only nominated representatives of full member parties shall be eligible to stand for these elected offices. Associate and observer members are excluded from fielding candidates from their organisations.
6.2.5 The Vice-Presidents shall be nominated by the members of the respective regional caucuses at the General Assembly and then duly adopted and confirmed by the General Assembly through a vote. If the regional caucus cannot present a single candidate, the General Assembly shall elect the Vice-President from among the candidates.
6.2.6 The composition of the regional caucuses will be listed in Schedule 8 of this constitution, which will be kept up to date by the Secretariat as parties join or resign from the network. All full, observer and associate members are entitled to belong to the regional caucus in which the country specified on their ALN membership application form falls, but only representatives of full member parties may be elected to the Executive Committee.
6.2.7 Elected officers wishing to resign before the end of their term of office shall give two months’ written notice to all other members of the Executive Committee.
6.2.8 In the case of the President or Treasurer resigning, the remaining members of the Executive Committee shall choose one of their members to act in the vacating member’s capacity until the next General Assembly. If this is an elective General Assembly, the position will be filled in line with regular electoral procedures outlined in 6.2.4 and 6.2.5. If it is not an elective General Assembly, a special election will be held for the vacant position and the successful individual will serve the remainder of the 12 month term, after which the position will become vacant in line with the regular electoral cycle of the full Executive Committee.
6.2.9 In the case of a Vice-President resigning, the rest of the Executive Committee shall continue as the Executive Committee until the next General Assembly. If this is an elective General Assembly, the position will be filled in line with regular electoral procedures outlined in 6.2.4 and 6.2.5. If it is not an elective General Assembly, a special election will be held for the vacant position and the successful individual will serve the remainder of the 12 month term, after which the position will become vacant in line with the regular electoral cycle of the full Executive Committee.
6.2.10 The Executive Committee ensures the effective implementation of the programme of activities of the network and promotes the policies and goals of the network in every instance at its disposal, as well as receives and makes proposals for resolutions, plans and actions to the forthcoming General Assembly.
6.2.11 The Executive Committee shall meet at least twice in a calendar year and shall make internal policies for the day to day running of the network and shall publish such policies in Schedule 6 of this constitution.
6.2.12 Quorum for an Executive Committee meeting is four (4) members present.
6.2.13 Executive Committee members may, in exceptional circumstances, delegate an individual to represent them in Executive Committee meetings for the purposes of reporting, but this individual will not have voting rights.
6.2.14 The Executive Committee may appoint a Secretary-General from among the Vice-Presidents in the first place or anyone from the member parties in the second place, to monitor the work of the network Coordinator if considered necessary, or act in that capacity if and when there is no one incumbent in the office of Coordinator. The Secretary General will report directly to the President.
6.3.1 The President shall lead the Executive Committee in promoting the policies and goals of the network; chair meetings of the General Assembly and Executive Committee; represent the network world-wide and as its principal spokesperson; maintain communication and links with other bodies and individuals in pursuance of the policies and goals of the network; ensure the implementation of activities of the network and the participation of its members in collaboration with the Coordinator/Executive Secretary; table a report on the activities of the network to the General Assembly; may delegate any of the Vice-Presidents to substitute him in any capacity.
6.3.2 The President may issue public statements on relevant issues on behalf of the network, provided that the relevant Vice-President and full, observer and associate members of any countries that the statement may concern are consulted regarding the content of the statement prior to its release. Any statement made has to be in line with and support the principles contained in the Johannesburg Declaration and Pan-African Liberal Manifesto.
6.3.3 The Vice-Presidents shall be champions of liberal values and the network within their region; act as a focal point and maintain regular communication with members from their region; coordinate the implementation of network activities in the region and the participation of regional members in network events; advise the President and Executive Committee on any issue relevant to the network and take part in decisions required to be made by the Executive Committee; take special responsibility for ad-hoc assignments as designated by the President; represent the President when necessary.
6.3.4 Each Vice-President will table an annual written regional report detailing notable political developments in each country in their region in which the ALN has a full, observer or associate member. This report has to be submitted to the Secretariat not less than fourteen (14) days prior to each ALN General Assembly and each Vice-President will be allocated a slot in the General Assembly programme to speak about their written report.
6.3.5 The Treasurer shall undertake the sourcing of funds for the network in consultation with the President, the Secretariat and the Executive Committee; maintain accounts of funds raised in good order, with adequate records of all collections, disbursements and transactions; solicit, collect and place in safe-keeping membership dues and other contributions in accordance with any by-laws; through the Secretariat or directly, notify member parties about their membership status; liaise with the Secretariat about the overall financial status of the network; ensure that an audit is carried out on the network accounts each financial year; prepare and deliver to the General Assembly a report on the financial status of the network each financial year.
6.4.1 The Secretariat is managed by an Executive Secretary/Coordinator.
6.4.2 The Secretariat shall be tasked with implementing the decisions of the Executive Committee and General Assembly and managing the day-to-day activity of the network, including organising all ALN activities such as the General Assembly, maintaining communication networks with members, administering the accounts, handling communications – including supporting the research and publication of public statements, maintaining the network website and preparing the network newsletter to promote awareness of the organisation world-wide; organising, subject to sponsorship and assistance of facilitating partners, the participation of ALN members in capacity building workshops or any other fora to advance the goals of the network.
6.4.3 The Secretariat shall report at regular intervals to the President, Executive Committee and General Assembly, and liaise with Patrons of the network.
6.5.1 The network may appoint as Patrons prominent liberals who campaigned tirelessly for liberal values over many years, have achieved a senior role in the world of business; finance; politics; or global governance, and are implementing liberal values in practice.
6.5.2 Proposals for the appointment of Patrons may be made by any designated representative of any full, observer or associate ALN member party and are subject to a vote at the General Assembly. These proposals must be submitted in writing to the Secretariat not less than fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the ALN General Assembly during which the proposal will be subjected to a vote process.
6.5.3 Patrons have a consultative role as elders of the network and thus have the right to be present and to speak at the meetings of the General Assembly, but do not have the right to vote.
6.5.4 Schedule 9 sets out the rights and responsibilities of Patrons in more detail.
7.1 At the General Assembly, voting on constitutional changes, resolutions, membership, subscription fees, election of members of the Executive Committee or any administrative or operational matter shall be by secret ballot, if required. This shall be managed through the submission of voting cards distributed to members proportionate to their entitlement to vote, as outlined in section 5.4.
7.2 In the event that the General Assembly Chairperson holds the view that the assembly has reached consensus without need for a formal vote, a simple show of hands will suffice. This will remain at his/her discretion as Chairperson of the meeting.
7.3 Decisions at the General Assembly shall be taken with a simple majority of the votes cast. Abstentions shall not be taken into account and blank and invalid votes will not be added to the number of votes cast. In the case of a tie vote, the decision will be rejected and voting must be repeated.
7.4 Nominations from all offices must be submitted to the Secretariat in writing on the prescribed nomination form not less than fourteen (14) days prior to the General Assembly at which voting is to take place. A person is deemed to be elected if he/she receives 50% plus one vote. If there is no clear majority, the two nominees who have received the highest number of votes are subject to a second ballot. In the event of a tie between candidates, the matter shall be decided by drawing of lots.
7.5 Once elected to the Executive Committee, the incumbents will be deemed to represent the member party that nominated them at all ALN events, and continue to hold office until the end of their mandate.
8.1 Either the General Assembly or Executive Committee may appoint a Statutory Committee to address a particular issue or fill a particular need.
8.2 After such decision is taken, the name, members, responsibilities, date and name of the body appointing the Committee should be published in Schedule 7 of this constitution.
8.3 All Committees shall primarily convene electronically.
9.1 Official communication may be exchanged by email, post or facsimile.
9.2 In the event that a member does not respond to repeated communication by a set deadline, they shall be deemed to have abstained from the issue on which communication was sent.
9.3 Communication by telephone or video-conference shall be considered official if minuted, however votes must be recorded in writing through one of the communication mediums outlined in 9.1.
10.1 English and French shall be equal official languages for all network activities and documents. The network shall strive to accommodate other official languages of member parties.
10.2 In the event of a dispute concerning the interpretation of the constitution or any other document governing the workings of the network, the English text shall take precedence.
Finances and assets of the network shall be audited by an independent auditor appointed by the Secretariat and ratified by the Treasurer. The audit will assess the financial situation and the annual accounts and verify that the transactions set out in the annual accounts comply with international accounting standards.
12.1 The financial year shall coincide with the calendar year.
12.2 The President, Treasurer and Coordinator of the Secretariat shall be the signatories of the accounts of the network.
12.3 The Treasurer will present the financial report, along with the auditor’s report to the General Assembly for approval.
12.4 The network shall secure its financing by:
12.4.1 the payment of membership fees, as provided under Article 5 of this constitution;
12.4.2 resources granted by any special projects, institutional source or authority;
12.4.3 the remuneration of any service rendered by the network to its members or third parties;
12.4.4 the payment of royalties for the use of intellectual property rights owned by the network;
12.4.5 any other form of authorised financial resource.
13.1 The members of the network, the members of the Executive Committee and the persons entrusted with the daily management of the network will not be personally liable for the obligations of the network.
13.2 The liability of members of the Executive Committee, the Secretariat or persons entrusted with daily management is limited to the proper performance of their mandate.
14.1 Any proposed amendments to this constitution must be distributed to all delegates at least thirty (30) days prior to the General Assembly.
14.2 An attendance quorum of at least two-thirds of valid full and associate ALN members is required for decisions regarding amendments to the constitution or the dissolution of the network. Where this quorum is not reached, a new meeting of the General Assembly shall be called not earlier than thirty (30) calendar days after the first meeting. The second meeting of the General Assembly shall be entitled to take valid decisions irrespective of the number of full members present.
14.3 Decisions regarding amendments to the constitution or the dissolution of the network shall be taken with a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast.
14.4 In the event that the network is dissolved, the General Assembly shall decide by a simple majority of the votes cast on;
14.4.1 the appointment, powers and remuneration of the liquidators;
14.4.2 the methods and procedures for the liquidation of the network, and
14.4.3 the destination of the net assets of the network. The net assets of the network will have to be allocated to a non-profit purpose.
The Executive Committee shall decide any Honours it wishes to give and the period the Honour will be in force, as well as the criteria for such an honour. The proposed honour must be approved by a majority vote of the General Assembly and published in Schedule 10 of this constitution.
This constitution was written by the late Gomolemo Motswaledi, ALN Vice-President for Southern Africa and President of the Botswana Movement for Democracy