Southern African Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with four Zambian political parties to formalise their commitment to working with DWF to build the capacity of internal party structures emphasising democracy, transparency, accountability and inclusivity.
The parties include the ruling party, Patriotic Front (PF), as well as the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).
“It is with great pleasure that DWF has signed MOUs with the parties with which the organisation is working in Zambia, one of the countries in which DWF’s Southern African Political Parties and Dialogue (SAPP&D) Programme is being implemented,” says DWF Chief of Party Dr Augustine Magolowondo. “For DWF, the impact of having the MOUs is that we now have a formal indication by each party that they are interested, willing and committed to work with us as we implement the programme.”
DWF also has similar agreements with political parties in Malawi and Lesotho. Similar arrangements are being worked on in the other two countries in which this programme is run – Botswana and Angola.
The SAPP&D programme is designed to strengthen participatory policy and platform development that reflects citizen-identified needs to include access to clean water and energy and management of these resources. The partnership with political parties is therefore essential to ensure the success of the programme.
“Over the past year, DWF has been nurturing and consolidating the partnerships with the political parties. It is apparent that the political parties in Zambia are keen to engage with DWF, are committed to the initiatives that the programme has implemented so far, and are looking forward to other activities that are meant to be rolled out given the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says DWF Zambia Country Director & Senior Technical Adviser Fannie Nthakomwa.
“This commitment from the political parties has been exhibited through high-level meetings and participation in the DWF capacity building interventions. Each of the political parties has been accessible to DWF every time a meeting has been requested. Most importantly, the engagement has always involved senior leadership within the National Executive Committee of each of these parties. Every Secretary-General of each of the four parties is informed about the programme as well as about DWF.“
As an example of this, in February this year, DWF Zambia hosted the same four political parties in a strategy planning workshop, a need highlighted in a needs-assessment survey conducted by DWF. Senior political party members – including Secretary Generals/National Secretaries or their deputies as well as National Chairpersons and Directors for various portfolios – attended the workshop, which was facilitated by Dr Magolowondo and Ms Nthakomwa.
At that event, Deputy Secretary-General for the UPND Hon Gertrude Imenda said that democracies require strong and sustainable political parties that have the requisite core competencies to design programmes, systems, and policies that can meaningfully translate the aspirations of the people into tangible reality.
SAPP&D is a four-year, USAID-funded initiative run in partnership with Freedom House. The programme is designed to strengthen and build the capacity of political parties in Southern Africa in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Eswatini, Zambia and recently added Angola.
DWF, together with Freedom House, is working to inculcate a political culture and behaviour in broader society as well as within political parties that supports meaningful participation of women, youth, and marginalised individuals.