Issue-based? The issue is Kenya
By Sara Rønning-Bæk, board member Danish Liberal Democracy Programme
A small delegation from the Danish Liberal Democracy Programme (DLDP) recently returned from a visit to Center for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) – Kenya. During the visit the partners focused on the important issue of how to develop and practice issue-based politics.
For the past six years, DLDP has collaborated with CMD on a project that deals with the urgent, yet long-term, issue: issue-based politics. The project also focuses on the fact that both youth and women still have a long way to go when it comes to having the same rights and opportunities as men in politics. Especially ethnic divides influence the social structures in every part of the political environment in Kenya. The solution is not at all simple.
As the delegation participated in a week of numerous valuable meetings, the issue of issue-based politics became obvious: everyone knows WHY and WHAT, but nobody seems to know quite HOW to develop and practice issue-based politics. A youth seminar, centered on two main activities, had a total of 50 active, young people from many different parties attending and participating in the discussions on issue-based politics. The delegation asked the participants to be specific on the tools for developing issue-based politics. Hence, the dialogue became very relevant in answering the question of HOW to practice issue-based politics. One issue, which was used as a case, was the strike of the Kenyan doctors, which at the time had been going on for two months.
Among the official activities, the delegation also got the chance to meet with a women’s lobby group, an anticorruption organization, visit voter registration centers in the slum area, Kibera, the Danish Embassy and a number of civil movements, trying to create the change that everyone is so passionately talking about. All of these actors agreed that there is still a long way to go, but one thing, which was more dominant and encouraging for the future of the DLDP-CMD project: they care about the main issue. They care about Kenya.