Three Thematic Resolutions proposed by the Party for Peace, Democracy and Development of Mozambique and adopted by the Africa Liberal Network General Assembly
Democracy and Good Governance in Africa
The forefathers and fathers of independence of almost all African countries dreamt of building nations in which freedom, democracy, peace and stability were the guiding forces in order to achieve prosperity and social justice for the people.
In the initial conception, democracy was misinterpreted by the leaders of some countries to be a one party system where all components of the society could be represented in one single party.
Diversity of opinion, expression, thought among other types of freedom could be tolerated only within the boundaries of the governing party.
However, some other countries described and implemented democracy as an inclusive and participative system in which several parties were authorized to play their role under the limitations imposed by law to build an open society with equal opportunities for all.
According to the historical records, the reality of facts, have shown that suddenly the one party system has developed a growing tendency towards political intolerance and dictatorship.
This situation, as well as poverty and the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the governing elite, while the population was left to starve, has led to desolation, dissatisfaction, riots and chaos.
Some of these situations challenged the public order and the military took power, through coups d’etat. This has been the common way of changing political power in many countries during the 70s and 80s.
The advent of the second wave of democracy during the 90s in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, gave rise to new signs of hope since the majority of the African counties have held elections, deemed in certain countries to be free, fair, transparent and credible by national and international observers.
Unfortunately, in many other countries, due the misconduct of the electoral bodies or an unfair electoral code, or even worse, owing to widespread levels of violence against the opposition candidates, ballot stuffing and other irregularities, the elections have been marred by accusations of fraud, having led to confrontations with a high toll of injuries and deaths.
The most recent cases of electoral violence have occurred in Kenya and Zimbabwe in which after difficult negotiations both parties obtaining the most votes agreed to form a power sharing government.
ALN congratulates the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union for brokering such peace deals in very difficult conditions.
To avoid the occurrence of future conflicts and wars related to the outcome of elections, ALN defends and encourages the African Union and the managing bodies to implement and monitor the African Charter on Democracy and Governance, the Guidelines for the Electoral Managing Bodies approved by SADC, and the AU declaration on Democracy and Good Governance.
ALN proposes that the African Union establish a panel of African experts to promote best electoral practices tasked to update the AU documents guiding the principles of democracy and good governance, bearing in mind that democracy is essential for peace and development.
For ALN, it is crucial in this endeavor to involve African Nobel Peace Prize holders, as African Union Ambassadors of Peace and Development with the mission of promoting good governance, tolerance, peace, stability and the fight against human hunger and disease.
Human Rights in Africa
The history of human rights is deeply rooted in the history of the humankind. Thus, it is common to refer to the human rights as natural laws, since they are inherited at birth.
However, an attempt to codify human rights has its origin in ancient times. One of most known code of human rights is the Code of Hammurabi. In more recent years, many more initiatives have been carried out to make human rights a reality.
Among the major sources that inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations on the 10th December of 1948, special attention must be given to the Magna Carta (1215), the Bill of Rights (1689), the Declaration of American Independence (1776), the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens (1789), a Memory of Solferino (written by Henry Dunant; 1828-1910), the Geneva Conventions and the Oxford Manifesto of 1947 also known as the Liberal Manifesto.
Africa benefited substantially from all of these initiatives, as witnessed by the abolition of slavery and the wave of independence in African since 1950s and the efforts for the protection of migrants and refugees.
Despite the great advantages provided by the several international instruments dealing with human rights, Africa is not doing enough to implement these legal tools within the national borders of the continent.
Africa is still facing the challenges of human trafficking, slave labour, child labour, gender based violence, and all types of discrimination against women, arrest and assassination of political opponents, denial of civic rights, persecution of minorities, nepotism and ethnic-cleansing.
To curb the damaging effects of internal conflicts related to the denial of basic human rights, ALN calls on the African counties to sign and ratify the key instruments of international humanitarian law and related conventions in order to make Africa a more secure, peaceful and stable continent.
One of the meaningful steps, to fight against impunity in the field of human rights is the full implementation of the Rome Statute that establishes the International Criminal Court.
ALN calls on African countries, as sovereign states to take bold decisions to sign and ratify the Rome Statute in defence of human dignity and with the purpose of protecting the people they represent.
This strategy will allow in the short term to improve the poor human rights records that characterize many African countries and in the long term to build the culture of respect of human rights in Africa.
ALN promotes and supports any initiative of the African countries aiming to end the suffering and losses of innocent human lives caused by the endless violation of human rights throughout the African Continent.
ALN supports the on-going investigations of cases of violation of human rights and launches an appeal to the AU competent bodies to use the appropriate continental and international institutions to fight against impunity in cases where individuals stand accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and human rights violations.
For the sake of human dignity and integrity ALN invites its partners not to spare efforts to invest in human rights education in Africa.
ALN is firmly convinced that teaching human rights will prevent the politicization of the civil service, one of the major source of divisions, conflicts and inequalities in Africa, as well as will enable a more strong commitment of all actors for peace, stability and human rights.
50 Years of African Independence
The entire world celebrates this year of 2010 the 50th anniversary of the “Year of Africa”.
As matter of facts, excluding Liberia and Ethiopia which were never colonies, all other African countries reached their independence in the aftermath of the World War II.
During the 50s, Africa welcomed the independence of several countries, namely Libya (26.7.1951), Tunisia (1.1.1956), Sudan (1.1.1956), Morocco (7.4.1956) in North Africa, followed by Ghana on the 6 March 1957, the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to become independent and the Republic of Guinea on 2 October 1958.
In 1960, a new chapter has been inaugurated in the history of decolonization of Africa with the proclamation of independence of 17 African countries, covering the nations listed below: Cameron (1.1.1960), Senegal (4.4.1960), Togo (7.4.1960), Mali (20.6.1960), Madagascar (26.6.1960), DR Congo (30.6.1960), Somalia (26.6.1960/1.7.1960), Benin (1.8.1960), Niger (3.8.1960), Burkina Faso (5.8.1960), Cote d’Ivoire (7.8.1960), Chad (11.8.1960), Central African Republic (13.8.1960), Congo (15.8.1960), Gabon (17.8.1960), Nigeria (1.10.1960) and Mauritania (28.11.1960).
This was a special achievement for the African people, and successful political negotiation or armed conflict, ensured that the will of the people was fulfilled, and the countries concerned became free and self-ruled. This initiative was made possible by the signing of the Atlantic Charter by the US President Roosevelt and the UK Prime Minister Churchill in 1941, which layed the framework for the constitution of the United Nations. As a result of the large number of new independent states which emerged in the year 1960, this has been since then coined as the “Year of Africa”.
The Africa Liberal Network (ALN), an association of political parties guided by liberal principles and ideals, such as freedom of: religion, press, opinion, choice, association, movement; rule of law, respect of human rights, free market economy, free trade, and private property, warmly congratulates all African countries that have celebrated or are still to celebrate their 50 years of independence.
It is a sincere desire of ALN that despite the challenges that those African countries have faced in the past, the next 50 years to come, should be fully dedicated to prosperity and wealth of each of the countries concerned, including the fight against hunger, disease, illiteracy, corruption and injustice.
Taking into account the advantages provided by initiatives related to the Millennium Development Goals, NEPAD, Poverty Reduction Strategic Papers and other national or regional agendas for development, Africa must stand, grow and compete in the community of the Nations.
To ensure the transformation of the available natural renewable and non-renewable resources into capital that can fund infrastructure and job creation strategies, continental or regional agreements must be promoted, to build coordination development communities and negotiate appropriate trade arrangements.
ALN calls upon the AU to assure support to the member countries, aiming to transform Africa into a strong and prosperous continent.
The African Union should celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence of numerous African countries, recalling the year 1960 as the “Year of Africa”.
Cape Town, 13 November 2010