Tag Archives: africa

Zambia: one too many close calls for democracy?

Zambia 1Democracies in the developing world must often overcome a number of hurdles on the road to maturity and development as a stable state. Peaceful elections, a vibrant civil society, regular transfer of power, and fair service delivery are all key indicators of democratic development. No doubt, differences in the maturing of democracies should be considered based on local realities, and a so-called Western roadmap must not be the only lens through which we view this development.

But has the southern African country of Zambia, rich in copper and with plentiful tourism potential, had one too many close calls in its democratic development? Does Zambia and its people need to rethink their political path?

The most recent August 11th elections certainly give that impression.

This year’s General Elections resulted in the incumbent Edgar Lungu (Patriotic Front – PF) winning the presidential race by just over 2.5%, enough to avoid a second-round run-off. The liberal opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), led by Hakainde Hichilema, also lost the last presidential by-election by a mere 27,757 votes. Those early presidential elections were called after the passing of former President Michael Sata in 2014. On the surface, these results appear to be a sign of political maturity, with an election called upon President Sata’s death and an apparently democratic process in place for political succession.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Africa’s Super Sunday

Recently on holiday in West Africa, I was somewhat torn. There was a strong temptation to leave my political conscience in a left luggage locker at Gatwick. Indeed, I think I did to an extent. I was, after all, on holiday and, being in a rural “eco lodge”, I was able to mix with ordinary Africans and provide some support to the local economy.

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Botswana elections: Liberal Democrats help sister party and its “calm revolutionary of our time”

Three chiefs and justice gaborone botswana by BoHeMIoYesterday was polling day in the General Election in Botswana. 57 parliamentary seats are up for grabs along with council seats across the country. The Botswana Democratic Party has been in power since the country gained independence in 1966. The Liberal Democrats have been helping our sister party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, which has been fighting the election as part of a coalition of opposition parties, the Umbrella for Democratic Change. In early August, their campaign suffered a huge blow when BMD leader and Vice Presidential candidate Gomolemo Matswaledi was killed in a car accident on the way back from a visit to Johannesberg.

Top Liberal Democrat campaigns guru Victoria Marsom, who has the by-election victories in both Brent and Eastleigh under her belt, has been working closely with the BMD for the past year as part of a project funded by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. She’s travelled to Botswana twice, once in June and she’s there now for this last week of the campaign. I had a bit of a surprise the other night when I found this from her on my Facebook timeline:

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , and | 99 Comments

Opinion: Emerging markets could mean the end of the elephant, but it’s not too late

For some years I have been sponsoring an African Elephant called Grace. It was a birthday present that I have never had the heart to cancel. She is fortunate enough to live in a conservation area in Kenya. Grace is one of approximately 400,000 African Elephants still alive in the world, their population having been slashed by 50% since 1989, driven predominantly by the ivory trade. Despite an increasing shift in western attitudes very little has changed. Ever expanding globalisation and the economic crisis has resulted in several fluctuations in ivory demand, perpetuated by international ivory trade deals that have …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Clegg on UK and EU relationship with Africa: “more trade, fairer tax and greater business transparency”

Nick Clegg gave a speech at the Africa Jubilee Business Forum which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity. Here are the highlights:

Political rights must go in tandem with economic growth

Everybody, of course, wants growth – the key decision is how you achieve it. More and more African countries face a choice between the economic models of authoritarian capitalism, on the one hand, and liberal democracy, on the other.

In countries like China, authoritarian capitalism argues the case for economic growth ahead of political freedoms. And it’s a seductive argument in view of surging growth

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone – mobile money opens new opportunities in Africa

Lynne Featherstone writes on Huffington Post about the exciting innovation of mobile money:

There is money in the air in Mozambique. The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and I have just watched Nilza and Herculano transfer 100 meticais (about two pounds) via mobile phone. They may both be standing in front of us for this demonstration, but in a country where less than 12% of adults have a bank account, the benefits of these mobile money systems can be large.

The Department for International Development (DFID) supported the launch of M-Pesa mobile money transfer when it was first launched in Kenya

Posted in LibLink | 1 Comment

Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “From Eastleigh to Africa – and back again!”

Nick’s latest weekly missive focuses on two places: his visits as party leader to the Lib Dem by-election campaign in Eastleigh, and his visit as Deputy Prime Minister to Mozambique and Ethiopia to focus on ‘the three Ts’ – tax, transparency and trade. Here’s his letter in full…

libdem letter from nick clegg

Like so many of you, I’ve been to Eastleigh this week. I was there to visit a local college with our excellent candidate Mike Thornton on Monday, and after a brief stop off to see the kids, I headed straight

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 25th Sep - 9:40pm
    @ Malc, I wouldn't defend him or try to make excuses for his words. He should give an unreserved apology for bringing politics into disrepute...
  • User AvatarGlenn 25th Sep - 9:03pm
    I'm with Little Jackie Paper here.
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 25th Sep - 9:01pm
    @Catherine Jane Crosland No he did not claim the coalition was wonderful, he pointed out the success we achieved. He could have mentioned support for...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 25th Sep - 8:58pm
    @ Simon Shaw, Such double standards. The words are poisonous which ever way you try to spin it.
  • User Avatarmalc 25th Sep - 8:56pm
    Corbyn's right-hand man John McDonnell called Tory, Esther McVey a “stain on humanity” and said "joking" that she should be lynched. Recently he was asked...
  • User AvatarLiberal Neil 25th Sep - 8:54pm
    Thanks for coming to help Paul, and I'm sorry I managed to miss you, it was pretty hectic! Thanks also to Gavin and his team...