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 https://https://africaliberalnetwork.org//africaliberalnetwork
Africa Network Officer
• DRC’s ANADER and South Africa’s DA Elect New Leaders
• Burkina’s ADF-RDA and Seychelles’ SNP Hold Legislative Elections
• Seychelles: Independent Inquiry into Events of Last October Gets Underway
• Democracy or winning elections : The Dilemma for the SNP. Should Political Parties Take Their Eyes Off The ‘election ball’ To Fight For Fairer Conditions?
• MFM Takes On the Democratic Challenge in Madagascar
• Summit of African Liberal Parties’ Leaders, 2-6 May 2007, Johannesburg, South Africa
• ALN Launches Campaign on Freedom of Expression and Unveils Advocacy Website
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
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