Friday, November 6, 2015

Declaration of the New Windhoek Dialogue

 Windhoek, Namibia 30 October – 1 November 2015

From 30 October to 1 November 2015, the New Windhoek Dialogue Meeting brought together UPADD members and other representatives of center – right political parties from Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda; Members of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament as well as representatives of Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Reflecting their strong commitment to meet the most urgent challenges facing the states of Africa and the European Union, the participants remained committed to build up on the existing Windhoek Dialogue by using a new format. The New Windhoek Dialogue will allow for discussions enriched by expert contributions and will strengthen the dialogue and networking between Africa and Europe as well as amongst African parties themselves.
The following issues have been discussed:
• Africa-EU relations in a changing global context
• The state of democracy in Sub–Sahara Africa, including respect for fundamental human rights and civil and political liberties, freedom of the press, the rule of law, separation of powers, the fight against corruption, the quality of electoral processes and the political challenges faced by political parties in Sub-Sahara Africa
• The political situation in countries such as Angola, DR Congo, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Togo
• Security crisis, root causes of terrorism and ethnic conflicts threatening peace and stability in Africa as well as obstacles standing in the way for setting up a well-functioning African Peace and Security Architecture
• The challenge of migration in its humanitarian, security, development and political dimension
• Economic challenges in Sub-Sahara Africa, regional integration and ways to achieve an inclusive economic growth
After an open and thorough exchange of views on the above-mentioned issues, the following Joint Declaration was agreed:
• The quality of democracy in Africa is deteriorating; an absence of democratic governance and lack of accountability of political leaders can be noted in many countries.
• The distinction between state, government and ruling party has increasingly become blurred/is increasingly disrespected; a separation of powers and independence of the judiciary are no longer guaranteed.
• The label of democracy is used to camouflage autocratic, de facto one-party systems.
• The trust of citizens in the state is diminishing as corruption, patronage politics, and disrespect for democratic principles such as the acceptance of the vote of the people, have become a character for the behaviour of ruling elites. A culture of impunity prevails.
• In the name of stability, peace and development, incumbent leaders tamper with constitutional dispensations in order to extend their mandates and to move beyond democratic control mechanisms.
• Democracy is a universal concept based on global standards and principles. Durable democracies depend on values agreed upon and enshrined in the respective constitutions and international agreements. All contenders for power have to subscribe to these principles and values. Particularly the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance needs to be adhered to.
• Shaping robust democracies means to respect and protect democratic institutions. Government derives its power from the will of the people and political leaders are to be held accountable. Democracy is not the luxury of an elite but needs to be built and defended by each and every citizen. Responsible leaders serve the country and not their self-interest. They should remain in contact with their constituents and cater for their needs.
• Parliaments and Parliamentarians – whether from ruling parties or the opposition, have to acknowledge their responsibilities and need to exert their legislative, representative and oversight functions vis à vis the executive. It is essential to equip parliamentarians with the necessary means to exercise their mandate.
• Legality of action does not automatically imply legitimacy. The aim of our parties is to foster the rule of law and not to succumb to the fallacy of a rule by law. Independent judiciaries able to execute their mandate without political interference are essential.
• Constitutional amendments forced upon by ruling majorities and allowing incumbents to extend their term in office indefinitely need to be prevented by all means as long as democratic governance cannot be assured.
• In our understanding, democracy implies the existence of multiparty systems, of a level playing field and the option for an alternation of power. We strongly condemn lip-services to democratic values that do not stand the litmus test of elections bringing about a potential regime change.
• For the consolidation of democracies, robust, diversified and inclusive economies based on the principles of social market economy are an essential factor. Particularly the role of parliaments in economic governance needs to be strengthened.
• In Africa and Europe we cannot prosper in isolation. In the light of global and regional economic and security challenges, regional integration is more relevant than ever.
• Strategies have been developed and policy frameworks and initiatives have been defined. Quite often these are overambitious in character and in the end lack implementation.
• The absence of good governance at home cannot be compensated by moving towards the next higher level.
• When much focus has been placed in recent years on the African Union, we find that Regional Economic Communities have a far more important role to play and have to be brought back on the political agenda of our leaders.
DEMOCRACY NEEDS DEMOCRATS – investing in future generations
• Education is key in order to sow the seeds for a democratic political culture as well as social emancipation and participation.
• Education should not be instrumentalised for party political purposes.
• In order to promote an active and political citizenship educational institutions, civil society and families have to assume their respective responsibilities. The participative element of democracy should not become reduced to elections. The values of democracy need to be taught and practiced already in schools. Exchange of democratic experiences and mentorship across the continent should be fostered.
• Youth need to have and see a perspective in life. For this qualified education becomes essential as does economic development that allows for an inclusive growth providing labour opportunities for all classes of society.
• Overall absence of good and democratic governance remains a key factor responsible for migration and refugee flows out of and within Africa. Those equally affect neighbouring countries and host countries in Europe.
• Additional root causes for migration such as climate change, trade imbalances, political violence and repression need to be addressed.
• Political leaders have the responsibility to comply with international commitments regulating the rights of refugees. They need to foster a culture of tolerance and inclusion and should react on early signs of xenophobia in their societies.
• Orderly managed migration can be a source of mutual benefits and economic growth. However, this requires that existing arrangements granting the free movement of
people, goods and services need to be implemented. Concepts and mechanisms have to be established that provide diaspora communities a space to contribute to the development of their home countries and prevent a brain-drain to the detriment of their own societies.
• Only a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder approach moving beyond the humanitarian and including security, foreign and developmental policies can address adequately the multidimensional character of the current migration and refugee crisis. Particularly the private sector needs to be mobilized in order to address – together with state actors and civil society, the root causes for migration.
• We call on the international community to take a stronger and coordinated stance on the defence of democratic principles. More pressure and sanctioning mechanisms are needed when political developments in certain countries violate democratic principles. Instead of costly remedying when harm has been done, early and preventive action is needed.
• International development cooperation needs to place a stronger emphasis on democratic governance and has to adapt its instruments in order to do so.
• Democratic values need to supercede geopolitical and economic interests. We as African and European political leaders of the centre-right urge the international community to be clear on priorities and principles. The collateral impact of trade-offs needs to be taken into account. Only in a democratic political system can long-term stability be achieved.
In order to overcome existing weaknesses, European and African center-right parties must find common solutions and work together towards building democratic and inclusive states and societies which enjoy the trust of their citizens.
The delegates undertook to continue this Dialogue and extend an invitation to all political parties that share the same values and principles. The next “New Windhoek Dialogue” meeting should be an occasion to assess progress achieved
Signed by Representatives of:
• União Nacional pela Independência Total de Angola (UNITA)
• Convergência Ampla de Salvação de Angola – Coligação Eleitoral (CASA-CE)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
• Convention des Démocrats Chrétiens (CDC)
• New Patriotic Party (NPP)
• Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (MDM)
• Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA)
• Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP)
South Africa
• Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
• Comité d’ Action pour le Renouveau (CAR)
• Democratic Party (DP

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