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Posts from the ‘Kenya’ Category

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.

More Information

Read more about the DLDP-CMD partnership
Contact Program Manager for the Danish Liberal Democracy Programme, Bent Nicolajsen, at bn@dldp.org

Visit the homepage of The Danish Liberal Democracy Programme
Visit the homepage of CMD Kenya
Visit the homepage of The Liberal Party of Denmark (Venstre)

 

To friends and partners of DIPD

WIP2016

DEPPYN: Maiken Kristensen (LAU), Mahmoud Said (Egypt Freedom) & Ahmed El-Sayed (Egypt Freedom)

Dear friends and partners of DIPD.

Among many inspiring events during 2016, we would like to mention a few highlight: Danish youth politicians visited Myanmar; two regional Women in Politics seminars in Myanmar and Nepal; politicians from Danish municipalities conducted trainings in Kathmandu; party representatives from Palestine, Swaziland, Bhutan, Tanzania and Bolivia visited Denmark.

However, it has been a year of much suffering around the world. The Nordic and Global Political Party Peer Meeting took place at Utøya, where 69 young people meeting in the Social Democratic youth wing were killed in 2011. Welcoming us, the former Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre, stressed the importance of protecting the democratic space and values that underpin our work.

Let that be a reminder to all of us that we are part of a global community committed to finding peaceful and democratic solutions to the challenges facing societies and humanity.

On behalf of the DIPD Team, I wish you an enjoyable and peaceful holiday period!

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Multiparty dialogue makes a difference

As DIPD continues its support to multiparty dialogue processes in Myanmar, it provides opportunities for sharing experiences in how multiparty dialogue can make a difference for countries undergoing political transitions. To this end, DIPD provided an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences between two of its partner countries, Kenya and Myanmar, through the visit of the Chairperson of the Centre for Multiparty Democracy—Kenya (CMD-Kenya), Honourable Omingo Magara to Myanmar.

The CMD-Kenya, a partner of the Liberal Party (Venstre) in Denmark, has convened multiparty dialogue on numerous occasions during the country’s complicated political transitions. Dialogue supported by CMD-Kenya helped Kenya overcome violence in the wake of the 2007 elections and also helped build consensus during Kenya’s constitution-making process. Like Myanmar, Kenya faces significant challenges in building unity across ethnic groups and managing a lengthy and complicated political transition process.

Myanmar, which held its first peaceful and credible elections in 60 years in November 2015, is currently embarking on dialogue to build peace and set a framework for multiparty dialogue on the political transition. The country still faces challenges from a number of armed insurgencies operating in minority ethnic regions. The ruling National League for Democracy campaigned on a platform of constitutional reform, but there is still a lack of consensus over the timing and scope of the reform process, with the military holding a virtual veto power over constitutional amendment.

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Bilateral Meetings with Major Political Forces

During the visit of the CMD-Kenya Chairperson, the Myanmar Multiparty Democracy Programme organized meetings with senior political party leaders from four major political forces: the NLD, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the party representing the former military regime, the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF), and alliance representing ethnic parties, and the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), another alliance representing ethnic parties. The Chairperson also held a session that brought senior leaders from parliamentary parties together to discuss how dialogue can contribute to an inclusive democratic transition, based on the Kenyan experience. Hon. Omingo Magara also discussed how the structure and practices of the CMD-Kenya provide a non-partisan and inclusive forum for dialogue and party capacity building on a range of topics.

Highlights of the visit included a meeting with USDP Party Chairperson and former President U Thein Sein, who shared experiences on how the former ruling party ushered in political, economic and social transitions, and oversaw smooth elections leading to a peaceful handover of power. In response, Hon. Omingo Magara related experiences of how Kenya negotiated a political transition through multiparty dialogue with the culmination of a new constitution in 2010 and peaceful elections in 2013.

During a discussion with the UNA, the alliance members shared their numerous initiatives to advance multiparty dialogue and shared their challenges in building a truly inclusive dialogue in the context of Myanmar’s tremendous diversity. The Chairperson of the CMD-Kenya discussed negotiation strategies and how trust and inclusiveness can help make dialogue successful in the long run.  “Nothing is negotiated until all is negotiated”, the Chairperson repeatedly underlined an important principle in consensus building in a politically charged environment.

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Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

At the final dialogue of senior leaders of parliamentary parties, party leaders shared a number of concerns regarding the upcoming peace and political dialogue framework discussions. Parties were able to reach consensus on the importance of making the upcoming discussions as inclusive as possible, and also recognized the importance of having a neutral convener and for trust and openness to make upcoming dialogue a success. The participating leaders asked many questions on the Kenyan experience, including how Kenya held leaders accountable for promises made during multiparty dialogue and how the Kenyan constitution protects minority interests. Hon. Omingo Magara was able to engage participants in thoughtful reflection and frank discussion and the parties generated useful ideas for how to approach upcoming dialogue.

“This [dialogue and sharing of best practices] is very useful for us. One time is not enough — there needs to be a platform for consistent dialogue between the party leaders to regularly communicate with each other and discuss issues…”, Htoot May from Arakan National Party has commented.

DIPD will through its multiparty democracy programme in Myanmar continue to convene multiparty dialogue initiatives in order to support political parties to engage constructively in the upcoming dialogue processes in Myanmar as well as in the democratic transition.

Independent Evaluation of DIPD

DIPD is currently conducting a global independent evaluation of DIPDs work with thematic focus on Youth in Politics and including both multiparty and party projects for in-depth assessment.

Photo: Evaluation visit in Palestine.

The evaluation is a learning evaluation and will among other focus on how DIPD implements its strategy “ Ideas that inspire”, how effective the projects are and which overall change paths are pursued. Moreover, the evaluation will look at how the party to party and multiparty projects work with capacity development of political parties to perform in a representative and accountable manner and how the partnership approach of DIPD is functioning.

The youth projects function as an entry to assess how DIPD operates. In the multiparty pool Egypt and Myanmar have strong youth components. Moreover, the party project in Kenya focusing on youth is conducted with a multiparty platform. Also in Palestine (Red-Green Alliance & International Forum of the Left), the engagement is with three different political parties on the left seeking to establish a joint youth platform.

Strong youth components also exist in the project in Palestine, whereas Tanzania (K) and Swaziland are less pronounced. Finally, youth forms part of a broader agenda in Egypt (S); Zambia (V) and Tanzania (RV), Bolivia (SF). On this basis it has been agreed that project visits be made to Palestine and Kenya, and that the youth component in Myanmar and Egypt be studied in depth through skype and other means.

The evaluation team is comprised of Jørn Holm- Hansen, Senior Researcher, and Marit Haug, Researcher, at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research. An evaluation consultation visit has just been conducted in Palestine. In their meetings with relevant stakeholders they were accompanied by the youth coordinator of Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) Kenya, Range Mwita, so as to offer expertise to the evaluation team and to have peer- to –peer and south-south learning.

Throughout the process the evaluation team is working closely with an Evaluation Group established by DIPD, which includes participants from the Danish Political Parties. Moreover, the political party expert Michael Wahman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri, has offered to act as peer reviewer. The evaluation report is expected to be available in October 2016.

For more information:

Contact Hanne Lund Madsen, Senior Advisor, DIPD at: hlm@dipd.dk

Annual Report 2015 – Postcards from the Field

Postcards are not long and detailed, but they highlight the excitement you feel when experiencing something unusual and memorable. This year we asked all our partners to tell one brief story for the Annual Report, to get a sense of what they think has made a difference.

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