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Posts from the ‘Zambia’ Category

An unconventional convention

The small, but ambitious Zambian opposition party, NAREP, kept the doors wide open to the public during their 2nd national convention in December 2016.

By Bent Nicolajsen, Danish Liberal Democracy Programme (DLDP).

It is Saturday morning in a fairly simple assembly hall in a school in of the suburbs of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. The hall is filled with delegates from most corners of Zambia. It is only the second time for the seven years old National Restoration Party to hold a prober convention. Prayers and national anthem has been handled, and the president of Narep, Elias Chipimo Jr., is opening the convention.

Mr. Chipimo is not only welcoming Narep-delegates from 10 out of 11 provinces. He is also acknowledging the presence of several handfuls of journalists as well as various independent observers. It is not the order of day in Zambian politics, that political parties having important meetings like conventions open the doors to the public. That is just one of example of how Narep is trying to preach and practice a different approach to politics in Zambia and in Africa at large.

Venstre - Zambia - NAREP - dec 2016

In his opining speech, Elias Chipimo, mentions three objectives of the convention. First of all, the convention shall decide on a new constitution for Narep. Secondly, the convention will elect a new leadership of the party. Finally, a new strategy for nationwide local mobilsation will be launched.

The passing of a new party constitution is not just a walk in the park for the party leadership. Delegates are not satisfied –among others things with the fact, that they will not get a direct say on who is going to hold which positions in the National Executive Committee. But the leadership shows a great degree of flexibility and the draft constitution is amended to accommodate the wishes of the many vocal delegates who were not happy with it. This move from the leadership changes the atmosphere at the convention completely, and delegates feel that they are being listened to.

With the constitution in place, the gathering can now go on to elect new leaders. Elias Chipimo is reelected for the position as party president with a clear majority but not unopposed. This is democracy at work. A new national executive committee is also elected. The election is happening in a very correct and transparent manner and according to the independent observers present, Narep cannot learn much from the Electoral Commission of Zambia – rather the other way around.

Venstre - Zambia - NAREP - dec 2016

After the election the newly elected National Executive Committee attends a mini-workshop. The new NEC-members share their expectations to the tasks and cooperation in the Committee. They have a discussion on the roles of the NEC and write letters to themselves, which will be kept for one year. At that time the NEC-members will be able to re-visit their hopes and aspirations as newly-elected NEC-members.

The convention ends at a very active note. The Party President, Mr. Elias Chipimo, introduces a new mobilization strategy. The strategy seems to be a very useful tool for the local structures in their preparation for the 2021 general election in Zambia. And since Elias Chipomo is an unconventional leader at an unconventional convention, is he not just speaking to the masses, he is facilitating a process involving the participants.

Life as an opposition party in a first-past-the-post-system like Zambia is not easy. Narep does still not  have any representatives elected at the local or national level. On the other hand, the convention –and the way it was conducted – was important step forward for a small party with big ambitions.

Venstre - Zambia - NAREP - dec 2016

More information

Read more about the Danish Liberal Party’s (Venstre) partnership with NAREP in Zambia.

Contact Programme Manager at the DLDP, Bent Nicolajsen: bn@dldp.dk

Contact Project Coordinator at DIPD, Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal: maps@dipd.dk

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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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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Trust, trust and trust

One aspect made a special impression on a delegation of high level politicians from Kenya and Zambia visiting Denmark in June 2015: Trust, trust and trust. The participants were also exposed to the Danish practice of bicycles, pig farming and not least election campaigning.

Report by: DLDP programme manager Bent Nicolajsen 

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ZAMBIA: NAREP Youth League – A Strong Youth Voice

The Danish Liberal Democracy Programme (DLDP) has just returned from a successful youth seminar in Lusaka, Zambia. Almost 40 young members representing the partner, NAREP, from all over Zambia participated. This seminar was the first occasion for the youth fraction to meet, why the importance of the seminar became even clearer to the DLDP delegation.

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By Sara Rønning-Bæk, facilitator and former International Officer, The Danish Liberal Youth

The seminar headline: “NAREP Youth League: What, Who and How?” aimed to partially help structure the future foundation such as statutes, independence from mother party and internal roles and responses while also partially create a framework for dialogue in a peaceful manner with constructive and respectful ways in mind. None the least the seminar wished to bring the youth fraction closer together as a united voice for the Zambian youth.

zambia, narep

Until this seminar the future for the youth fraction had been uncertain but the enthusiasm and passion was not to miss. The young members of NAREP worked determined and united to reach compromises and they all embraced the activities and sometimes at first sight silly icebreakers to be a part of the process. This created an atmosphere characterized by the wish to finding a way forward together.

youth guide, zambia,

Indeed the seminar showed that the youth voice of NAREP wished to be more than just a silent population representative. They have a message and willpower to change the way politics is done in Zambia. Obviously the young newly elected National Executive Committee has many future obstacles and issues to address, but I feel certain that their determination and the support from DLDP and NAREP will ensure a great future. I cannot wait to follow the progress!

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Read more on the Liberal-NAREP partnership