Members of African parliaments have called for increased funding of political parties by European states as a means of developing democratic principles.
The call was made at the 43rd African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Parliamentary Assembly on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium.
The MPs from different African states said it is important that the
European Union considers funding all the political parties in the ACP countries. They added that the funds should be availed to all the parties despite their size to foster democracy.
The Leader of the Malawi delegation, Mussa Uladi said that democracy is still a new phenomenon which needs a lot of support for civic education.
“Funds must be provided to enhance our democracy. The major parties have the money and the smaller parties are left out. There is need to level the playing field by supporting all and sundry,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Jacob Oulanyah however, disagreed with the other representatives saying that it is important that the respective countries fund their democratic processes.
“How are you going to sell your right to form and manage a political party to another country? If it is a democratic process, it should be supported by the institution in that country,” Oulanyah argued.
Oulanyah added that there was no problem with the Western World supporting African countries with any other forms of development but not for democratic purposes.
“I can understand infrastructural and social development support, but I cannot understand why a political party would formally seek support from a foreign country for its existence as an entity,” he said.
On the demands that the European Union Parliament should not interfere with the sovereignty of national parliaments, the Oulaanyah said that there are a lot of hidden motives behind the partnerships between the European Union and the ACP countries.
“The laws were passed in foreign countries to govern natural resources. There were no sovereign parliaments. Having lost the colonial rule, they decided to draw a framework which could still give them leverage over control of resources in Africa,” he added.
The Rwandan, Zimbabwean and Sudan delegations to the Assembly have raised concerns over what they called recent interference by the EU Parliament in the local political processes in their countries.
On October 6, 2016, the Parliament of Rwanda passed a resolution condemning the recommendations of the visiting EU parliamentary delegation to Rwanda early this year, which reported that there were gross human rights abuses taking place.
Uganda’s delegation to the ACP Assembly includes Jack Wamanga Wamai (Mbale Municipality), William Nokorach (PWDs) and Mwine Mpaka (Youth Western).
The ACP Committees on political affairs, economic development and that of social affairs will hold joint meetings with their European Union counterparts on Thursday and Friday before the closure of this session.