Updates from the second Summit for Democracy in Lusaka, Zambia
The official events of the second Summit for Democracy kicked off in five capitals of the world on March 29,2023, with heads of states committing to tackle challenges to democracy. The Summit for Democracy is being cohosted in five capitals of Zambia, the US, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea. Secrets Known has established that Heads of State of countries that are believed to violate human rights, were not invited to the Summit.
From the beginning of the week, pro-democracy civil society activities from across Africa descended on Lusaka where there has been a flurry of dialogues and conferences organised on the sidelines of the Summit for Democracy, to amplify and project the voices of democratic renewal from African citizens. Alliance for Finance Monitoring is proud to have co-convened one of the dialogues – the Citizen Summit in Defense of Democracy. Below are highlights of some of the major activities on the sidelines in Lusaka.
Citizens Summit in Defense of Democracy
This event brough together civil society leaders including women and youth from across Africa to use the second Summit for Democracy as an opportunity to shape and share their aspirations around the nature and form of democratization, discuss how to make democracy deliver socio-economically, and push back on resurgent authoritarianism on the continent. One of the themes of the dialogue was: Financing political parties and election campaigns for democratic renewal in Africa. The dialogue was co-organised by Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), African Election Observers Network (AfEONet), Accountability Lab (AL), Southern Defenders, Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG-Zambia) with support from International IDEA and European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), under the auspices of the Global Democracy Coalition (GDC).
Launch of the second edition of the Election Standards and Obligations handbook
The Carter Center office in Zambia organised a public dialogue under the theme, Democracy in Decline: Why election standards are more important than ever. It was during this event that the revised Election Standards and Obligations Handbook was launched. The Executive Director of Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), Henry Muguzi was one of the speakers in this event. He spoke about the relevance of strong election standards in promoting transparency and accountability in political/campaign financing. Other speakers included: Barbara Smith – vice president of peace programmes at The Carter Center, Joan Chirwa – founder of the Free Press initiative, Anthony Banbury – CEO at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Anne Ireri – chairperson Election Observation Group (ELOG) and O’Brien Kaaba – Commissioner at the Zambia Anti-Corruption Commission.
Defending citizen observer rights in Africa: Pushing back against closing spaces and administrative Burdens
This event brought together citizen election observers from Africa, the academia and key stakeholders, to engage in dialogue and find solutions to the violation of the rights of citizen observer groups in their quest to defend democracy. The event reinforced the position that election observation is a civil and political right that must be protected in line with the international covenant of civil and political rights. The event was organised jointly by African Election Observers Network (AfEONet), Election Support Network of Southern Africa (ESN-SA), Eastern and Horn of Africa Election Observers Network (E-HORN) and the West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) with financial support from Open Society Foundations (OSF) through the National democratic Institute (NDI).
What Does Democratic Renewal Mean for Africa and the Global South?
This event brought together pro-democracy activities, academia, religious leaders and government officials to dialogue and understand what democratic renewal means for African citizens. It was organised by the Open Society Foundations.