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Africa & The Successor Generation
Sheraton Hotel, Cotonou, Benin 26-28 November, 1998

The concept of African Renaissance is anchored on expectations peaked by recent events within the continent and the world over. As dictatorship and its various mutations disappear from the continent, as military rule becomes an endangered specie of the African political ecology, and the guns are being hurriedly swapped for the ballot boxes, Africans everywhere became convinced that their troubled continent is set on an irrevocable process of reinventing itself. This recreation, it is thought, will further accentuate the uniformity of the African destiny, and enable its people present a collective agenda in facing the challenges of the next millennium.

The rampaging effects of globlisation, which have effectively torn down all borders, have left Africa with no hiding place. The continent can no longer insulate itself from the restless hurricane of changes taking place all over the world in all spheres of human endeavour. Therefore, Africa has to be prepared to swim through the stormy crosscurrents of these changes or simply sink.

While the present generation of African leaders have to face the challenges of defining Africa’s path into the next millennium, the actual task of taking Africa to the promised land rests squarely on the fledgling shoulders of the next generation of Africans. There is the compelling need, therefore, to prepare Africa’s successor generation for the challenges of the 21st century.

The Conference

The Africa Leadership Forum recognised the need to ensure that the emerging and future leadership of Africa is given the exposure, the knowledge and the training that will enable them withstand the rigour and challenges of leadership in the next millennium. This will also stand them in good stead with their counterparts in other parts of the world who are obviously more equipped with the mental and socio-psychological infrastructure required for effective leadership. It is in realisation of this that the ALF anchored its tenth anniversary conference of the theme, Africa and the Successor Generation. The Conference was held at the Sheraton hotel, Cotonou, Republic of Benin, from November 26 to 28, 1988. Sponsored by the UNDP and the Canadian International Development agency, the meeting attracted participants from across Africa and other parts of the world. These include diplomats, development specialists, students, journalists, women activists, government functionaries, party executives, parliamentarians, young professionals and policy experts.

Objectives of the Conference

The objectives of the conference were to:

  • Examine the current situation of leadership and the process of developing the leadership capacities of young people to enable them to assume the mantle of leadership towards realising the “African renaissance”.
  • Examine the challenges of creating capacity for young Africans to participation and eventually lead the process of developing sustainable development systems for Africa.
  • Consider the political, economic and social issues that need to be addressed if the young people of African countries are to enter the next millennium with a culture of integrity, hard work and public spiritedness
  • Examine how constraints to the productive use of existing capacity, as well as the development of new capacity, can be overcome in African countries.
  • Examine how technological revolution, globalisation, and advances in communication can be deployed to enhance the participation of young Africans in critical leadership positions.

Following on these objectives, the conference discussed and deliberated on the following thematic issues:

  • Leadership Challenges for Africa’s Socio-political transformation
  • Promoting Leadership for Sustainable Development
  • Redressing the continuous systematic deterioration of public-spiritedness and Professional Ethics
  • Developing the Requisite and human resources for the Future Global knowledge and the Challenges for the African Environment

 

Democratisation of African Parliaments and Political Parties
July 13 – 15 1998, Gaborone, Botswana

The Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) organised a three-day international conference on the theme "Democratisation African Parliaments and Parties " in Gaborone, Botswana, from July 13 to 15, 1998.  The conference which was declared open by H.E. President Festus Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana had in attendance were over 80 participants from several African countries representing African parliaments, consultants in development, academia, representatives of international organisations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Transparency International (TI), the African Union of Parliaments among others.  The conference dealt with a wide range of issues focusing on how best to ensure that African parliaments and political parties build a culture of democratic sustenance into their systems.  This involves a review of operations of political parties and parliaments in Africa against the background of a democratic alternative.

The Gaborone conference was designed as a follow-up to the April, 1996 Meeting of African Parliamentarians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The Addis Ababa conference sought, among other things, to:

•      Assess the impact of African parliaments on the process of political liberalisation and how to make parliaments more functional;

•      Evaluate how transparent, accountable and honest African parliamentarians are;

•      Enhance the free flow of information among African parliamentarians as a way of ensuring good governance, socioeconomic progress, development and democracy;

•      Critically examine the often acrimonious rapport between the minority parties and the governing parties on the floor of parliament and how this relationship can be improved to achieve a more accommodating and conciliatory attitude;

•      Work out the broad parameters of an integrity charter or a code of conduct for African parliamentarians.

In Addis Ababa, participants observed that there was something fundamentally wrong with the attitude of African parliamentarians in the sense that parliamentarians in majority parties tend to demonize those in the minority and vice versa.  Participants were unhappy with this trend.  The opposition parties need not be treated as enemies that must be eliminated at all costs.  They therefore suggested that the terms "opposition" and "ruling parties" should be substituted with "minority" and "majority" respectively in the African political or parliamentary lexicon.

The conference noted with much concern the absence of a bipartisan consideration even in matters of great national importance.  The fact that members of the opposition are more often than not denied access to information was seen as a practice that undermines democracy.  No less disturbing, the conference noted, is the fact that internal party structures are anything but democratic because there is undue premium placed on a few individuals who either founded the party or control the party's funds.  The problem of intolerance within parties is a reality with the opposition and the majority parties.  It was suggested that a mechanism be set in motion to bring together in one forum, a number of Speakers of parliament, government parliamentarians and their minority counterparts.  The idea was to organise a conference charged with the responsibility of, among other things, producing a document which will spell out the broad parameters and define the rights and responsibilities of government and opposition.  At the national level, this document will be expected to be used to speed up the process of refon-n and dialogue much needed to end the debilitating logjam in the stand off between majority and minority parties.

It is for these and other reasons that the conference on "Democratisation of African Parties and Parliaments" was convened with the primary objective of discussing and exploring ways and means of opening up African parliaments and parties to democratisation.

The three-day conference aimed, among other things, to do the following:

  • Identify, analyse and come out with effective strategies and mechanisms for the liberalisation and democratisation of African political parties and parliaments.
  • Facilitate a vertical and horizontal interaction between ruling governments and opposition parties with the aim of improving parliamentary performance.
  • Initiate structural arrangements to protect the rights of minority parliamentarians.
  • Formulate and improve mechanisms for networking, collaboration and resource-sharing among Africa parliamentarians.
  • Assist in revitalising the African Union of Parliaments.

The Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) organised a three-day international conference on the theme "Democratisation African Parliaments and Parties " in Gaborone, Botswana, from July 13 to 15, 1998.  The conference which was declared open by H.E. President Festus Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana had in attendance were over 80 participants from several African countries representing African parliaments, consultants in development, academia, representatives of international organisations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Transparency International (TI), the African Union of Parliaments among others.  The conference dealt with a wide range of issues focusing on how best to ensure that African parliaments and political parties build a culture of democratic sustenance into their systems.  This involves a review of operations of political parties and parliaments in Africa against the background of a democratic alternative.

The Gaborone conference was designed as a follow-up to the April, 1996 Meeting of African Parliamentarians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The Addis Ababa conference sought, among other things, to:

•    Assess the impact of African parliaments on the process of political liberalisation and how to make parliaments more functional;

•    Evaluate how transparent, accountable and honest African parliamentarians are;

•    Enhance the free flow of information among African parliamentarians as a way of ensuring good governance, socioeconomic progress, development and democracy;

•    Critically examine the often acrimonious rapport between the minority parties and the governing parties on the floor of parliament and how this relationship can be improved to achieve a more accommodating and conciliatory attitude;

•    Work out the broad parameters of an integrity charter or a code of conduct for African parliamentarians.

In Addis Ababa, participants observed that there was something fundamentally wrong with the attitude of African parliamentarians in the sense that parliamentarians in majority parties tend to demonize those in the minority and vice versa.  Participants were unhappy with this trend.  The opposition parties need not be treated as enemies that must be eliminated at all costs.  They therefore suggested that the terms "opposition" and "ruling parties" should be substituted with "minority" and "majority" respectively in the African political or parliamentary lexicon.

The conference noted with much concern the absence of a bipartisan consideration even in matters of great national importance.  The fact that members of the opposition are more often than not denied access to information was seen as a practice that undermines democracy.  No less disturbing, the conference noted, is the fact that internal party structures are anything but democratic because there is undue premium placed on a few individuals who either founded the party or control the party's funds.  The problem of intolerance within parties is a reality with the opposition and the majority parties.  It was suggested that a mechanism be set in motion to bring together in one forum, a number of Speakers of parliament, government parliamentarians and their minority counterparts.  The idea was to organise a conference charged with the responsibility of, among other things, producing a document which will spell out the broad parameters and define the rights and responsibilities of government and opposition.  At the national level, this document will be expected to be used to speed up the process of refon-n and dialogue much needed to end the debilitating logjam in the stand off between majority and minority parties.

It is for these and other reasons that the conference on "Democratisation of Aftican Parties and Parliaments" was convened with the primary objective of discussing and exploring ways and means of opening up African parliaments and parties to democratisation.

The three-day conference aimed, among other things, to do the following:

  • Identify, analyse and come out with effective strategies and mechanisms for the liberalisation and democratisation of African political parties and parliaments.
  • Facilitate a vertical and horizontal interaction between ruling governments and opposition parties with the aim of improving parliamentary performance.
  • Initiate structural arrangements to protect the rights of minority parliamentarians.
  • Formulate and improve mechanisms for networking, collaboration and resource-sharing among Africa parliamentarians.
  • Assist in revitalising the African Union of Parliaments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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