Sunday, 24 February 2008

Mozambique - was it worth it?

It's clearly not a cheap operation to organise a conference such as the one I've just got back from, but in my mind it was well worth it:

- I know from the feedback forms and conversations with most of the participants after the end of the session that they got lots out of it. Lots of the feedback forms praised me (which is, of course, nice) but also talked about the bonds they have made with their fellow participants from different countries. We were able to put people from different ends of the continent in touch with each other - especially where they share a common problem - so that they can keep in touch about their means for addressing the issue.

- For the smaller parties, it was fantastic to be able to chat at length with the likes of Minister Lamine Ba from Senegal and David Pierre from the Seychelles National Party - one of whom is in power and the other gets 46% of the vote. It goes to show that a Liberal Party can make it in Africa and to carry on campaigning even when they might only have received 3% or so at the last election. In case anyone doubts the true Liberalism of, for instance, the PDS in Senegal, have a look at the party's website (warning - it is in French).

- It got a lot of good publicity for our hosts, the PDD of Mozambique. They deserved praise from us for all their hard work and it was nice to be able to catch up again with my friend Joachim de Castello who is the General Secretary of the Party. But more than this, as President Guebuza said during our meeting with him, Maputo became the capital of African Liberalism. We got lots of favourable press and tv coverage which gets both the cause of liberalism and the policies of the PDD more coverage in a country which reporters without borders classifies as not necessarily the strongest free press in the world.

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