Author Archives: iPAn

About iPAn

Independent Pan African News Network aims to provide accurate, fair and balanced African news stories relating to economics, lifestyles & cultural activities, in the form of videos, audio podcasts and written articles for both online and broadcasting.

Thabo Mbeki Foundation

STATEMENT OF THE THABO MBEKI FOUNDATION ON THE ACQUITTAL AND RELEASE, BY THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, OF FORMER PRESIDENT OF COTE D’IVOIRE, MR LAURENT GBAGBO.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF) has noted the important news of the acquittal and release, by the International Criminal Court, of former President of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Laurent Gbagbo.

We welcome this development which we hope will contribute positively to Cote d’Ivoire’s continued efforts in pursuit for sustainable peace, national reconciliation and justice.

In this regard, we stand in support of the views expressed by the Africa Forum – the forum of former African Heads of State and Government, in its letter submitted to the ICC prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on September 09, 2015, appealing for the release of President Gbagbo.

In the letter, the Forum said it had made its appeal in the “…context of our serious concern that Cote d’Ivoire should continue to grow and develop for the benefit of all its citizens, in conditions of peace, democracy and the rule of law, national reconciliation and unity” and that “that Mr Laurent Gbagbo should be allowed to make his important and unique contribution in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation in Cote d’Ivoire.”

It further underscored the point that “the situation in Cote d’Ivoire requires and demands that the Ivorian people continue to engage in a process of peace and reconciliation by democratic means and in a truly inclusive manner, working together in conditions of peace and security. Peace is a very important element in the pursuit of justice.”

We therefore make an urgent call for all Ivorian parties to engage in an immediate process of dialogue. As the Foundation we stand ready and committed to assisting to ensure this process.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

TEAM SA READY TO PRESENT IMPROVED INVESTMENT PROPOSITION AT 2019 WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

JOHANNESBURG, 16 JANUARY 2019 – President Cyril Ramaphosa will be leading South Africa’s delegation to the world’s most important meeting of global CEOs at the 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF), taking place in Davos, Switzerland next week. The primary objective of the South African delegation will be to strengthen partnerships and collaboration for inclusive economic growth and development in South Africa, with particular emphasis on increasing international investment into the country.

“We are going to Davos to interact with potential investors”. We are competing with other emerging markets where there is an oasis of investment opportunities for global investors and it’s where we want to be seen to be investing. We have a place of pride at Davos. We are recognised and accepted as being serious players. Some of our countrymen and women even play a role in the structures of WEF in Davos and we are going to speak with one language and the same message: South Africa is like a plane that is getting ready to take off,” the President said at a pre-WEF breakfast in Rosebank today. He was addressing Team South Africa, comprising Government Ministers and business leaders who will be accompanying him as part of the Team SA delegation.

One of the focus areas for the team will be to showcase South Africa’s preparedness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in line with this year’s WEF  theme: “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The Forum will enable South Africa to build on the success of the President’s Investment Conference in October last year where R290 billion was raised for future investments.

“We are on the right track. We had to deal with very difficult challenges in the past but those are challenges we are finding solutions to. We must put our best foot forward, we must go and engage the world with great confidence knowing we are representing this great country. We are going to start seeing improved growth in our economy and I think we can go with our heads held high, without arrogance, to tell our story, what we have done and how we have made progress.”

The President together with Team SA will participate in a WEF Country Strategy Dialogue on South Africa on Wednesday, 23 January. This will focus on deepening understanding of current investment opportunities and challenges, as well as exploring new avenues to help enable the country to achieve the President’s investment target of $100 billion in the next five years. The session will be attended by investors, leading business leaders and experts.

“We have turned the corner, it’s a new Dawn. We can confidently go back and say, remember what we told you, this is what we have done. As I often say, we are like a plane about to take off.”

On Thursday, 24 January, Brand South Africa together with ABSA and Invest SA will host a South Africa Investment Seminar with a goal to support and initiate the next phase of the country’s investment drive. Potential investors will have the opportunity to hear from – and engage with – South Africa government and business representatives.

Lastly, Team South Africa will entertain guests at a Brand South Africa Night Dinner with investors and potential investors where the best of South Africa’s cuisine will be showcased with Chef Benny.

The President has confirmed the following ministers will be joining him to participate at WEF this year:

  • Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni;
  • Minister of Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu;
  • Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies;
  • Minister of Public Enterprise Pravin Gordhan;
  • Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel;
  • Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and;
  • Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi.
United Nations Security Council

South Africa assumes Non-Permanent Seat on the United Nations Security Counci

South Africa today officially assumes its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2019-2020.

South Africa was overwhelmingly elected to serve on the Council by the United Nations General Assembly on 8 June 2018. As President Cyril Ramaphosa reflected at the time: “This will be the third time that South Africa will be serving in the Security Council since the dawn of democracy in 1994. We are humbled and honoured by the confidence the international community has demonstrated in our capability to contribute to the resolution of global challenges.”

South Africa’s tenure in the Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of President Nelson Mandela whose values and commitment to peace were commemorated last year during the centenary of his birth. South Africa’s term will also be an opportunity for the country to work towards the African Union’s goal of “Silencing the Guns” on the Continent by 2020.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu today stated that: “The world is facing huge challenges, including rising unilateralism and widening geo-political divisions. These challenges threaten our collective resolve to address global challenges of peace, security and development. South Africa will thus utilise its tenure on the Security Council to promote the maintenance of international peace and security through advocating for the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue. We will continue to encourage closer cooperation between the UN Security Council and other regional and sub-regional organisations particularly the African Union. We would further wish to emphasise the role of women in the resolution of conflict. This, during our time on the Council, South Africa will ensure that a gender perspective is mainstreamed into all Security Council resolutions in line with UNSC Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security.

The Minister concluded that: “South Africa looks forward to collaborating with all other members of the Security Council in promoting the maintenance of international peace and security and the social well-being and advancement of all the peoples of the world.”

ANC

Umkhonto we Sizwe Today 16 December 2018

As we mark 57 years after the establishment of the People’s Army, Umkhonto We Sizwe, it is important to review the past and chart the future.

Some comrades are still shell-shocked, waiting for the next order from MK senior commanders. They missed the transition from the armed struggle to the political struggle. Some still blame various ANC leaders for their misfortune. Does it help to blame anybody?

Let us wake up, comrades. It is too late in the day to blame anybody. We have to solve our own problems ourselves. ANC leaders have long moved on from MK days: today it is the era of political campaigns for office, either in government or state. MK comrades must acknowledge that the terrain and the battle lines have changed. The era of armed struggle is long over and this is the era of political campaigns, just as it was in ANC before 16 December 1961. We have to campaign like all ANC activists and other political party activists to be MP, mayors and councillors etc. We should not wait for anybody to provide us with benefits, houses and pensions. We must fight for our rights, as we did in our past as freedom fighters.

Waiting for the next order today cannot be seen as being disciplined but rather living in oblivion. Next order might be from Saxonwold or Dubai … is that the order we are waiting for?

Let us join the Veterans League branches and use that structure as a vehicle to fight for all our rights within the ANC and the state. Nobody will give you anything. Nobody owes you anything. We have to fight for all our rights. There is nothing on a silver plate for us.

We fought the armed struggle as a way to achieve political freedom. Now we have to fight within the new political freedom to get our social rights such as adequate pensions, medical benefits, etc.

Nobody owes us anything, we owe it to ourselves to fight with new political tools to achieve our rights.

The democracy we fought for in SA has not yet been realised. We still do not have the right to directly elect members of parliament for ourselves – the same right that white voters had under apartheid. We have to continue fighting using new methods such as campaigns to establish parliamentary democracy where the voters will elect their members of parliament and provincial legislature directly as individual candidates who the voters know and trust, not via a proxy or party headquarters for a party list, as now.

The only black South African to have tasted that right was Dr WB Rubusana who was elected Member of Parliament for East Tembuland in 1909 before blacks were barred from parliament. As former MK comrades we believe it is a worthwhile right to campaign and fight for.

In military theory for guerrilla warfare, we ourselves were taught to use all the advantages of the terrain and to be very careful about the disadvantages. After 1990 we graduated to a new terrain, with many new advantages but also disadvantages. Our first duty is to study this terrain and apply ourselves to it, as a new form of struggle. If we failed to do this during the armed struggle, it was our own fault. It is the same today.

Adapt to the new terrain, comrades, do not expect it to adapt to us!

Sidwell Moroka [Omry Makgoale]
MK Luanda District Commander 1984

Christine Lagarde

Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the Conclusion of her visit to South Africa

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Pretoria at the conclusion of her visit to South Africa:

“I wish to thank President Ramaphosa, Governor Kganyago, who is also the IMFC Chairman, as well as Minister Patel, Minister Davies and other senior officials for their warm hospitality and our productive exchange of views during my visit to Pretoria. I would also like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders with whom I met, including women leaders, youth leaders, and civil society.

“South Africa has immense economic potential, including a young and dynamic population. The country has made substantial progress over the past quarter of a century, achieving much improved living standards for its citizens. There is a lot to be proud of.

“At the same time, South Africa is at crossroads. The country faces challenges to raise growth and create more jobs, particularly for the youth. It also needs to address the too-high levels of unemployment, poverty, and inequality.

“It is thus urgent to advance broad-based, albeit at times difficult, reforms to reignite growth and ensure that all South Africans share the benefits, irrespective of their race, age, or gender. And this needs to be done in the context of a very challenging external environment for emerging markets that calls for increased vigilance and rebuilding of policy buffers.

“Policy actions are needed to reignite inclusive growth. An important reform relates to fostering competition in the economy to attract private investment. There is also a need to strengthen public finances to stabilize debt at more comfortable levels by making expenditure more efficient, growth-friendly, and inclusive.

“Additionally, improving the operational efficiency and financial situation of state-owned enterprises to raise competitiveness and contain fiscal risk is essential. Finally, improving financial inclusion and continuing to identify and address corruption through increased transparency and accountability, and the rule of law, are also priorities.

“I agreed with the authorities to enhance the excellent policy dialogue that we have together.

“Once again, I would like to thank the government and people of South Africa for their warm welcome”.

ANC Veterans Leauge

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE MOURNS THE DEATH OF COMRADE CLETUS MZIMELA

It is with great sadness to learn of the passing on of Comrade Cletus Mzimela-nom du guerre- Nicholus Malinga.Comrade Nicholus Malinga who was 82 years of age died at a Durban hospital after a long illness. He was recovering from a third stroke when he eventually passed on.

Comrade Malinga was a member of the Luthuli Detachment and saw action during the Wankie Campaign in 1967.He was later assigned and deployed to carry out operations in the Durban area, a task he carried out effectively until he was arrested by members of the apartheid security branch.

He was tried and sentenced to a 10 year prison term on Robben Island. More details will be provided after consultations with the family.We dip our revolutionary banner in salute of our fallen comrade and an outstanding hero.

Lala Ngo Xolo Comrade Malinga
Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League.

Mendi Msimang

EULOGY BY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA AT THE SPECIAL OFFICIAL FUNERAL OF THE LATE MR MENDI MSIMANG

Programme Directors,
Former President Kgalema Motlanthe,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers,
Premiers, MECs,
Members of the judiciary,
Members of the Msimang family,
Comrades,
Friends,
Fellow South Africans,

We are gathered here in solemn mourning to pay our last respects to a great South African whose life was dedicated to the cause of freedom.

Mendi Msimang was the embodiment of an idea that is simple in conception, but revolutionary in application – the idea that one’s purpose in life is to serve others.

Throughout a rich and meaningful life, wherever he found himself, whatever responsibilities he was given, he was bound by a determination to serve others.

He had no need for riches. He had no need for recognition.

His only need was to break the shackles of the oppressed; to feed, house and comfort those who had nothing.

His only need was to forge unity where there was division, to bring calm where there was chaos, and to promote understanding where there was intolerance.

His only need was to liberate his people from the bondage of apartheid and the enduring tyranny of poverty.

Mendi Msimang was one of a remarkable generation of freedom fighters, a generation whose deeds will reverberate across the ages.

It was a generation that transformed the national liberation movement and changed the course of our struggle, a generation that endured the hardship of exile and prison and banishment.

It was a generation that not only held the liberation movement together as the forces of apartheid sought to dismember it, but which built it into a formidable mass movement at the head of a global campaign for a democratic South Africa.

It was this generation that was prominent among those who led the country to democracy and freedom.

Today, as we mourn the passing of one of the great leaders of that generation, it would be a mistake to relegate them to history.

Certainly, most of the members of that generation may have exited the political stage, but the principles they fought for, the values they lived by and the means by which they sought their objectives still find resonance at this moment in our history.

As we confront new and daunting challenges, as we attend to the erosion of the revolutionary morality that long defined our struggle, we must draw strength and inspiration and guidance from the deeds of those leaders.

The time for leaders like Mendi Msimang has not passed.

It has barely begun.

The material temptations of political office have never been greater than they are today.

As our people have realised, and as our movement has acknowledged, there are those among us who seek positions of authority not to serve the public good, but to advance private interests.

There are those who are prepared to undermine the institutions of our young democracy, to subvert the rule of law and to steal from the people to enrich themselves.

This cannot be countenanced and this cannot be allowed to continue.

It is at precisely this moment that we need leaders, cadres, public servants and business people of the calibre of Mendi Msimang.

We need people who, like him, are truly selfless in their service.

We need people like him, with an abiding honesty and an essential integrity.

For 10 years, he served as the Treasurer-General of the African National Congress, a position more difficult and more hazardous than any other in the movement.

In that time, he was scrupulous in his determination that not one cent go missing, that no resources meant for the transformational programmes of the organisation be misappropriated or wasted.

It is this quality that we seek in our leaders today.

Comrades and Friends,

Mendi Msimang was an envoy for freedom.

As the chief representative of the ANC in the United Kingdom, he was a dedicated and capable advocate for the cause of the South African people.

Especially when faced with hostile opinion, he sought – patiently and with deliberate care – to explain the positions of the African National Congress.

He was not one to dismiss others because their views may be reactionary or ill-informed.

He sought to persuade them, understanding that it was the responsibility of his revolutionary movement to win to its cause the broadest possible range of social forces.

But that was not the only reason.

He sought to persuade others because he was not prepared to give up on another human being.

He was driven by a firm conviction that every person has the capacity to do good, to see sense, to make a meaningful contribution to society.

He had a remarkable ability to see beyond their prejudice, their anger, their frailties and to recognise their essential being.

For that, he was much loved and widely admired.

When he returned to London, this time as the democratic South Africa’s first High Commissioner to the Court of St James’s, he did so with a completely different mandate, but employed many of the same methods.

While it is certainly true that he no longer organised protests outside South Africa House, he used his good offices within the building to advance the cause of a free and democratic South Africa.

He argued with great eloquence and conviction that while it was true that the South African people had achieved the overthrow of apartheid and established a democratic state, the legacy of centuries of dispossession and exploitation endured.

He sought the support of the British government and people – and indeed the broader international community – for the reconstruction of South Africa, for the growth and transformation of its economy, and for the empowerment of its people through skills and jobs.

Over two decades later, these remain the most important tasks that we, as a nation, must undertake.

We must attend to these tasks with the same vigour and application that Mendi Msimang did.

We must seek, as he always did, to build consensus on the measures we must necessarily take to transform our economy and our society.

We must confront, as he would have, the difficult choices that need to be made to turn around an economy that has faltered and to fix the public institutions that have been weakened.

We must retain, as he would have, our focus on the overriding task to create jobs and tackle poverty.

We must forge a social compact that is founded on the incontrovertible reality that none of us can prosper unless we all prosper.

We must forge a social compact that recognises that the enormity of the challenges ahead of us require that we all pull in the same direction.

This is what Mendi Msimang was good at, building bridges, forging alliances and resolving differences.

That is why we say that the time for leaders like Mendi Msimang has not passed.

He was a person of great modesty and dignity.

He treated others with respect, was moderate in demeanour and measured in his address.

These may be commendable personality traits, but they are also profoundly political.

They are among the qualities that we should seek in a revolutionary.

One cannot be a revolutionary if one does not respect others.

One cannot be a revolutionary if one is intolerant of other views, or if insult and invective are the only means of persuasion one can marshal.

Those who worked with him remember both fondly and sometimes with frustration how meticulous he was.

They recall his commitment to proper syntax and correct spelling and his ability to debate the placement of a comma.

This was a sign not only of a sound education, but also of a rigorous discipline that extended from the writing of a letter to the prosecution of the struggle.

Like many of his generation, Mendi Msimang paid a heavy price for his commitment to the struggle.

The nation owes his family a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they made and the absences they endured.

We extend to the family our deepest condolences for their sad loss and their selfless sacrifice of giving up their parental claim to their father, grandfather, brother, and patriarch to the service of the people of South Africa.

The family, like all of us, assume a great responsibility to carry forward his legacy, characterised by a deep sense of loyalty, commitment, love and selflessness to all the people of our country, especially the poor.

Mendi Msimang, stalwart of our movement, giant of our struggle, unassuming hero of our people, is no more.

As we mourn his passing, we commend and we celebrate a life lived in the service of others.

As we bid him farewell, we repeat that the time for leaders like Mendi Msimang has not passed.

In his memory, let us pledge, as our forbearers did in Kliptown, that we will strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until we reach our goal of a united, free and prosperous South Africa.

May his soul rest in peace. May his abundant legacy endure.

Hamba Kahle, Qhawe lama Qhawe.

I thank you.

Letaba Hospital

PSA condemns fatal attack on doctors at Letaba Hospital

The Public Servants Association (PSA) learnt with shock that three doctors were shot and fatally wounded in the early hours of Thursday, 22 November 2018 at Letaba Hospital in Limpopo and called for an immediate increase in security at the Hospital.

“The Limpopo Department of Health failed to enforce security after a nurse was stabbed 15 times at the same Hospital in August 2018. The MEC said at the time that ‘our security system is found wanting’ hence the Department must take responsibility for its failure to ensure the safety of employees and patients at this Hospital. The PSA condemns the lethargic attitude of the Department and will call for a special chamber meeting for the employer to table its intervention to ensure employees’ safety,” said PSA General Manager, Ivan Fredericks.

Upon a visit to the doctors’ residential area, the PSA established that the houses where the incident took place did not have electricity or burglars bats, which made access easy for criminals and leaving employees vulnerable. “The Department is obliged to design, provide and maintain workplaces that are safe, identify any potential or actual hazards and take measures to control the risks, preferably by eliminating these in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. While there is a shortage of doctors in the country, and particularly in Limpopo, incidents like this will discourage doctors to accept work opportunities in Limpopo, and further disadvantage communities. The PSA expresses sincere condolences to the victims’ relatives and colleagues,” said Mr Fredericks.

Brand South Africa

Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s rankings in the 2018 World Bank’s Ease Doing Business, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), and the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index

Brand South Africa has noted and welcomes South Africa’s performance in the 2018 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index (EDB) which sees the country’s ranking at 82nd out of 190 economies.

The World Bank notes two areas of improvement in the EDB 2018, being: South Africa has made starting a business easier by reducing the time for online business registration, and the country improved the monitoring of electricity outages through recording data to monitor outages better.

Commenting on the EDB results, Dr Petrus de Kock, the General Manager for Research for Brand South Africa said: “In terms of statistical score there is a marginal improvement of +1.37 points. While South Africa retains its over-all ranking at 82/190 this year, it is notable that there are some improvements in the following pillars of the index, being: starting a business – improve with two positions from 136 to 134; registering property – improve with one position from 107 to 106; trading across borders – improve with four positions from 147 to 143; getting electricity – improve with three positions from 112 to 109; and protecting minority investors – improve with one position from 24 to 23.”

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report is an indicator of the ease of doing business in various economies around the world. Released in October 2018, this year’s report presents data for 190 economies and aggregates information from ten areas of business regulation (such as starting a business, getting credit and enforcing contracts), to develop an overall ease of doing business ranking for each economy.

This week also sees the release of the 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), with the report showing that South Africa has fallen from 6th to 7th position. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) provides an annual measure of governance efficiency of African countries. The report covers 54 countries and base its analysis on 100 indicators that are drawn from 36 independent sources which together fall into 4 broad thematic categories: Safety & Rule of Law; Participation & Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development.

“The strongest areas of performance for the country are in the Participation & Human Rights (4/54), as well as Sustainable Economic Opportunity (4/54) indicators. In the African – and Emerging Market contexts, governance plays a critical role in shaping the reputation of nations. It is for this reason that the IIAG provides critical insights regarding the profile of the South African Nation Brand.

“Results contained in the IIAG 2018 is a cause for concern for the South African Nation Brand. And the implication is that urgent interventions are needed to turn the negative trends around, based on a robust existing governance regime in the context of a constitutional democracy,” adds Dr de Kock.

Brand South Africa also noted South Africa’s declined performance in the 2018-2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (WEF GCI). South Africa now ranks 61 out of 140 economies assessed in the annual survey. Dr de Kock explains that the WEF GCI 2018 presents a revised methodology to measure national competitiveness, and productivity in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.

De Kock said: “In a major step change from its long established methodology that underpins the GCI, the 2018 edition of the index introduces a range of new concepts and attributes geared to measuring competitiveness, and ultimately productivity, to respond to the challenges of the time.  Being agile and capable to adapt to technological change and innovation, is critical to productivity and survival in a period of rapid change.

“Of the original 98 indicators that informed the GCI, 34 have been retained, and 64 new indicators introduced. And based on the new WEF GCI methodology it is clear that South Africa still ranks extremely well in terms of: Market size, Finance System, and Innovation Capability.”

South Africa’s national strengths can be found in the Finance System ranking 18th, it’s Market Size at 35th, with strong performance in Business Dynamics at 56th, the Labour Market at 55th (which looks much more promising than rankings achieved through the previous methodology), with a relatively good ranking for Economic Stability at 57th.  In the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution it is notable that South Africa ranks 46th for Innovation Capability.

ECOWAS Commission trains political parties on media and campaign strategies in participatory democracy

Abuja, 31, October 2018. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the 31st of October 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria, commenced a broad range training to enhance the capacity of Nigerian political Parties on media and campaign strategies. Part of the Workshop also targets journalists and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on the promotion of participatory democracy, among others. The exercises which encompasses the mainstreaming of youth and women into political party activities, political party financing, inter-party democracy as well as administrative processes, are meant to weigh in positively on the forthcoming 2019 General elections in Nigeria. Welcoming participants to the training Workshop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Francis Behanzin commended the political parties’ representatives for “conducting their activities so far in a manner that is not abhorrent to democratic tenets and principles” Commissioner Behanzin who was represented by the Commission’s Director of Political Affairs Dr. Remi Ajibewa, stated that the workshop has been meticulously structured to cover selected but relevant areas of concerns affecting most political parties in the region and in Nigeria, in particular for which ECOWAS has developed necessary Training Modules.

The development of the Modules, he disclosed, is a response to the recent pedagogical approach adopted by ECOWAS Commission to strengthen democratic process in member States. He stressed the conviction of the ECOWAS Commission that the Workshop offers a unique and inexpensive opportunity for political parties to engage in solemn reflection and constructive discussions on some key concerns emanating from the build-up to the forthcoming elections in Nigeria with a view to addressing them collectively and harmoniously. In the spirit of cooperation and continuity, he said the meeting of minds is expected to build upon previous efforts by the ECOWAS and other international interlocutors to support peaceful, transparent and free elections in Nigeria.

In her goodwill message, presented after an overview of the programme was given by the Head, Democracy and Good Governance Division of the ECOWAS Commission Mr. Eyesan Okorodudu, the Resident Programme Officer of the International Republican Institute (IRI) Mrs Husna Hassan stressed the need to build on the positives of political parties in Nigeria becoming more responsive. In a keynote address, the National Chairman of We The People Nigeria (WTPN) political party professor Peter Nwangwu who spoke on behalf of the chairperson of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), emphasized that what is needed in Nigeria is the creation of an enabling environment and the opportunities for citizens to thrive. According to him, among the newer political parties, there has now intensified “the struggle to dismantle the nonsense that is destroying Nigeria” Declaring the Workshop open, the Commissioner and chairperson, Elections and Party Monitoring arm of the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) professor Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine noted that the lack of Internal Party Democracy (IPD) is largely responsible for the challenges of the political parties in Nigeria. Maintaining that the media must be at its agenda-setting duty post, and help bring about attitudinal change, she urged participants to add their understanding of strategies for promoting the mainstreaming of youth and women into political parties’ activities, media and campaign strategies, campaign finance, internal party democracy and administrative processes. The Three-Day Workshop which will feature presentations by experts and resources persons including Professor Oshita Oshita, Professor Kofi Agyekum, Mr. Aminu Idris, and Dr. Franklin Oduro, will examine critical issues bordering on media relations, internal party democracy and administrative process, political party financing in West Africa as well as mainstreaming women and youth into political parties’ activities