Former President Jerry John Rawlings is in South Africa to deliver the keynote address at the 5th EISA annual symposium on democracy taking place in Johannesburg on November 23 and 24, according to
an official statement issued in Accra on Monday.

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 statement said the two-day symposium would focus on political
parties with the view to enhancing 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 the lack of internal democracy, lack of leadership skills, poor
administrative 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.

The statement said specific objectives of developing benchmarks at the
symposium were 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 inter-party relations, and exploring conditions under which party coalitions are possible and establishing principles for sustainable
coalition building.

The others are to 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 representation and encourage political tolerance.

The symposium would also encourage the empowerment of the rank and file of members of parties; improve party operational apparatuses, including party management and administration, and examine modalities for party funding that are equitable and fair and which lead party sustainability after thorough discussion.

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.



Source: GNA