Author Archives: Luke Akal

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 | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments

The Democratic Alliance: The future liberal government of South Africa?

DA Logo

The Liberal Democrats have had a strong and flourishing relationship with the South African Democratic Alliance (DA) for many years, and we continue to work together through the Africa Liberal Network (ALN) and the Young Leaders Programme. In this series of profiles of our liberal sister-parties overseas, Luke Akal, ALN Coordinator, gives an account of the DA:

On 27-30 January this year, the 13th annual Africa Liberal Network (ALN) General Assembly is being held in Johannesburg, hosted by South African member party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). The DA is a shining light of liberalism on the African continent and, as the main opposition party in South Africa, is an inspiring model for liberal parties around the world.

Since its establishment, the DA has increased its vote share in every election, going from 12% in 2004 to 22% in 2014, gaining 89 MPs and becoming the main opposition party. In 2009, the DA gained power in the Western Cape province, giving the party an opportunity to deliver on its promises. Over the past 6 years, the Western Cape has seen an impressive decrease in crime, as well as improvement in infrastructure, and demonstrating that the DA is a safe pair of hands in government.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Africa Liberal Network undertakes first ever election observation mission in Zanzibar

Zanzibar 4
International Office_with textWhite sandy beaches, glamorous resorts, history and beautiful architecture. These are some of the things that come to mind when we think of the exotic island of Zanzibar. But for the Africa Liberal Network (ALN), Zanzibar was – and is – much more than that.

For the ALN, Zanzibar was the destination for our first-ever election observation mission. Following the unanimous decision taken by the network’s executive committee, the ALN Secretariat arranged and coordinated this mission in partnership with the LibDem International Office and the Friederich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). The mission was led by our East Africa Vice President, Rosemary Kariuki (Orange Democratic Movement, Kenya).

Arriving in Zanzibar, the team and I quickly realised that we were truly the ‘’guinea pigs’’ of this new ALN project, and what an exciting challenge it was!

Posted in Europe / International | Tagged and | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 1 Comment
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