A liberal postcard from South Africa…

ALN-GA-300x161Dear Liberal Friends,

It is a great privilege to introduce myself to you all as the new Coordinator for the Africa Liberal Network (ALN). The ALN is the largest network of political parties in Africa and has been strongly supported by the Liberal Democrats, through the work of the International Office, since its inception in 2001.

I have recently taken up the position and the Secretariat remains based here at the Federal Head Office of the Democratic Alliance in Cape Town, South Africa.

I am originally from Nelspruit (Mpumalanga), South Africa, but grew up and lived majority of my life in Cape Town. I began my interest in politics as an activist and volunteer. This passion was then pursued during my undergraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch and the University of South Africa, where I graduated with a degree in Politics and Communication Science.

As a Political Activity and Presence Coordinator for the Democratic Alliance, I worked under the Field Operations Directorate. This entailed the conceptualisation, monitoring and reporting on the party’s ‘ground war’ operations and campaigns in the provinces of the Western Cape, Northern Cape and the Free State.

As the newly-appointed ALN Coordinator, I am focussed and determined to ensure that our upcoming General Assembly will be an outstanding occasion. The Assembly will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is in partnership with the Friederich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The Democratic Alliance will be the host party. Our focus for the conference is “Winning Elections: Strategies, Policies and Solutions for Success”. Applications for attendees from our 44 ALN member parties are open and we are excited for what is set to be our biggest and best General Assembly yet!

With the emphasis on African liberals winning elections on the continent, delegates can expect a programme that will broaden their skills and knowledge in electioneering and campaigning. We aim to empower and prepare fellow African liberals for future elections. It is also an opportunity to share experiences and expertise, such as in writing party manifestos as a tool for policy development and winning elections. The related topics of coalition preparation and building, policies, communications, ground support and the involvement of youth form part of the General Assembly’s theme.

I am a firm believer in the power of liberal policies, principles and ideas to assist in the growth and transformation of Africa. Where liberal leaders and parties govern, we have already seen the fruits of our philosophy and democratic governance. Through the ALN and our upcoming General Assembly, we hope to further this cause. It is my aim to contribute in some – albeit small – way to the furtherance of liberalism across Africa for the benefit of all her people.

The Lib Dems continue to be our closest partners in Europe, and I look forward to working with you all to strengthen democracy and liberalism in the African continent!

Yours faithfully,

LUKE AKAL

* Luke Akal is Coordinator of the Africa Liberal Network

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