Former President Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings arrived in South Africa on Sunday to deliver the keynote address at the 5th EISA annual symposium on democracy taking place in Johannesburg on November 23 and 24.
Under the theme, 'Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Political Party Performance, for Democratic Governance in Africa,' the conference has drawn leading members of ruling and opposition political parties from across the continent.
The Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa (EISA) is a leading organisation in the area of elections, democracy and governance. Its annual symposia have positioned it among the leading organisations that seek to promote democratic governance on the continent.
The two-day symposium will focus on political parties with the view to enhance the capacity of political parties in Africa, not only to be effective, accountable, responsive and transparent, but also to be internally democratic.
Identified challenges facing political parties on the continent such as a lack of internal democracy, lack of leadership skills, poor administrative skills and policy making skills, poor financial management skills, lack of clearly defined goals and little ideological differences, lack or absence of gender equality, lack of conflict management skills and tolerance both within and between political parties, will be discussed at the symposium.
Specific objectives of developing benchmarks at the symposium are to:
Explore practices for the institutionalisation of political parties
Encourage focus on gender equality within parties for increasing the numbers of women in party decision-making positions
Explore practices in interparty relations, and exploring conditions under which party coalitions are possible and establishing principles for sustainable coalition building.
Improve existing benchmarks/principles so as to add value to the rebuilding of democratic institutions
Improve penetration into society and improve constituency building and constituency relations.
Encourage effective representation accountability, responsiveness and transparency
Encourage inclusiveness, diversity and representativity
Encourage political tolerance
Encourage the empowerment of rank and file membership by of parties.
Improve party operational apparatuses, including party management and administration
Examine modalities for party funding that are equitable and fair and which lead party sustainability after thorough discussion.
Visit Former President Rawlings' blog site - http://jjrawlings.wordpress.com/