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African political parties form continental body to confront common challenges

By SWAIB K. NSEREKO

ARTICLE SUMMARY: The Council for African Political Parties is to act as a platform for an aggressive engagement in the continent’s social, economic and political initiatives and challenges and as a lobby group for African interests at the international level.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY: Swaib K. Nsereko is the Acting President, Pan African Muslim Journalists Association.

On May 26, Africa celebrated the golden liberation jubilee in the Ethiopian capital Addis-Ababa, marking 50 years of the Organization of African Unity, now known as African Union.

Merrymaking apart, Africa needs to spell out a new chapter of confronting present challenges that threaten to re-colonize the continent in sophisticated ways. The focus this time round ought to be not only in protecting the continent’s enormous resources, but also to marshal skills of harnessing and developing such resources for the benefit of the Africans. And this was the essence of an earlier gathering of African political elites in the Sudan capital Khartoum.  

Under the auspices of Sudan’s ruling party, the National Congress Party (NCP), a two-day conference of leading African political parties from 34 countries inaugurated a new  continental body—the Council for African Political Parties (CAPP). The new council is a rebrand of Africa. It’s to act as a platform for an aggressive engagement in the continent’s social, economic and political initiatives and challenges and as a lobby group for African interest at the international level.

This is something that the AU was rather less aggressive with. As said by President Omar H. al-Bashir, it’s this systematic and organized engagement that will help Africa determine her true independent destiny. Mr. Bashir stressed the issue of reviewing Africa’s development partners, with a priority to those willing to partner up as opposed to those seeking to become neo-masters of the continent. 

Prior to the conference, the NCP consulted widely with ruling and opposition parties of Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. The event proper was boosted by the presence of representatives from the world’s fast growing economies—the BRICS, which today control nearly half the world’s GNP and are looking for new areas to partner with economically.

China particularly sent a powerful delegation from its ruling party, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Representatives from the Asian Political Parties Council (APPC), Latin America and the Caribbean Political Parties (LACPP), brought their rich experience to demonstrate that the new African initiative was already a successful reality in their areas.

Hence the constitutive conference launched the Council of thirty members, carefully electing six members from five regions of the continent— from Eastern, Central, Southern, Western and Northern.

Zambia’s Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba, also the Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front who became the founding chairman of the Council for a four-year term, spoke passionately of the initiative, urging collective action. Unlike AU’s work methods, CAPP will function from grassroots or country level to regional, continental and international.

Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour, the NCP’s chairman for external relations, is full of optimism for the initiative to offer a positive difference. “I am an African Union activist and from experience I know that once an initiative enlists endorsement of 34 countries, it’s a success,” he said.  

The new Council’s headquarters and secretariat are in Khartoum. From the concept note, African political elites are expected to deliberate common interests and challenges at country level first. Then there would be regional meetings of the same and also continental annual meetings to forge, negotiate and secure resources.

“In fact if Gaddafi had given it such an approach rather than being selfish, Africa would have forged a common direction by now,” said Dr. Mustafa Osman, Sudan Minister for trade.

Already CAPP has adopted recommendations contained in four key areas. Most importantly, they have agreed on a conceptual framework outlining the nature and objectives of the initiative. This spells out the role of African political parties in enhancing democracy, development and integration as well as the technological revolution. From the consultations, agreed positions, work methods and support from BRICS, CAPP is set steer brisk changes in Africa in decades ahead.

 

 

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