Saturday, 23 February 2008

Leaving Mozambique

It's been a fascinating trip to Mozambique. I've got to check out of the hotel in half an hour before the trip back via Lisbon.

The event was a workshop and Assembly of the Africa Liberal Network, an alliance of parties from around the continent. They range from the PDS, the Senegalese Government (and we had Minister Mamadou Lamine Ba from the party) as well as parties such as the SNP from the Seychelles who get 46% of the vote yet still come second there. There are also developing parties such as our hosts the PDD and ANADER from Congo.

The role of the Lib Dems is to support the Network by helping them to come together. All the main parties in the UK work through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to assist the development of democracy and parties around the world. This is one of the ways we choose to provide support. So I was facilitating a workshop presenting ideas from the UK covering party structure, campaigning and policy development. Obviously we cannot and do not want to dictate what should be done but we encourage the different parties to share their own experiences and build support groups with each other. Having a Government Minister from a successful Liberal Party there helps enormously with this!

The final day was an assembly meeting of the Network to discuss future business and to prepare the Network to make an impact at the next meeting of Liberal International in Belfast in May.

A word to travellers - both intrepid and otherwise. Mozambique is a fabulous country with great weather and superb beaches. There is tons of incredible seafood and fine hotels. Can't recommend it highly enough. Regrettably we didn't get enought time to go outside the capital but I understand there are also good safaris to be had.

I've got loads of pics which I'll post when I get home

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