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Politics in Africa need marathon runners

8th Edition of E-lection Bridge in Kampala, Uganda

How to keep voters happy after an important election or present necessary compromises after coalition negotiations? That was the topic discussed by delegates to the 8th E-lection Bridge Africa from the 21st to 25th of May in Kampala, Uganda.

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Almost 30 representatives of KAS’s partner political parties discussed the difficulties of election campaigns in European, Latin American and, especially, African countries during the three-day event organized by the Media Programme Sub-Sahara Africa. The fact that election campaigns in the formerly communist Angola run differently from those in ethnically polarized Kenya, provides much material for reflection on the serious differences on this continent.

“There are too many short-distance runners in the African politics, we need marathon athletes”, said the former Head of the Ugandan and current opposition politician Mugisha Muntu. Additionally, the former minister Gilbert Kiakwama from the Democratic Republic of Congo described the endeavor for freedom and democracy as a life-long struggle, that is worth it. At the moment, there is “nothing permanent and nothing safe” in Kinshasa, said the centre-right parliamentarian.

Once again E-lection Bridge welcomed a special guest Dr. Klaus Schüler, General Manager of the CDU and election campaign strategist of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. He talked about the difficult months of the coalition negotiations and the special challenges involved for the political communication.

The most important thing must be an elaborate strategy, as Schüler strongly urged. Since many parties in Africa don’t have medium and long-term planning, intimidation by a dependent judiciary, economic sanctions and open threats against politicians can lead to frustrations and a neglect of program and strategy.

CDU General Manager Schüler once again underlined the importance of the E-lection Bridge, the important exchange of party representatives from eleven African states, as well as the increased communication between Anglophone and Francophone Africa. Christoph Plate, Director of KAS Media Africa, based in Johannesburg, said at the end of the conference on the shore of Lake Victoria, that exchanges between senior politicians and the younger generation, as well as across language barriers, are becoming increasingly important. "When participants take those discussions and exchanges with them to Angola, Togo, Zimbabwe or Kenya, it will create a big multiplier effect," said Plate.

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Christoph Plate

Christoph Plate bild

Director Media Programme Southeast Europe +359 2 942-4971 +359 2 94249-79


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