Westminster Foundation for Democracy projects in Africa

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Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) projects in Africa

WFD organized a two-day conference in Accra (August 2006) to discuss issues of interest to centre-right parties. The aim was also to form an "association of centre-right political parties in Africa".[1] This event was organized to appeal to various African countries.


On 31 August 2006, "The Botswana Congress Party (BCP)'s information and publicity secretary, Dumelang Saleshando has highlighted some activities that were reported to the party's executive committee meeting held on Tuesday in Gaborone. According to Saleshando's statement, the meeting covered the following issues including:"

New Labour Party Sponsorship
The BCP is pleased to announce that the New Labour Party and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy have agreed to make additional contributions to the ongoing training programme. The latest sponsorship is for the purchase of 2 computers, 1 laptop and a multi-media data projector. The new equipment will assist with better management of the training programme as well as the ongoing computerisation of the party membership.[2]


In Feb. 2007, WFD sent two trainers to Ghana, and their operation was described thus:

A three-day intensive strategic workshop was held in Elmina at the weekend for the youth leaders of the ruling New Patriotic Party. The event, sponsored by the UK's Conservative Party through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy programme, was the first such inter-party cooperation between the two centre-right parties which focused on the youth wing. The British party sent two experts, Baxter Andrew, former Tory campaign manager for London and Edmonds Mathew, Conservative Party trainer, also for London, a city with a population of 10 million. The workshop covered topics such as building an effective campaign structure, how to get selected as a candidate, and how to develop a strong youth movement.[3]


In Feb. 2007, Kenyan officials reported the institution of media monitoring activities prior to elections to determine their fairness.

Meanwhile, the media council of Kenya has set up a monitoring unit to gauge how media is covering events in this election year. The Executive Director, Esther Kamweru on Monday said the project will cost an estimated Sh5.4 million. “This involves monitoring major newspapers, TV and radio stations for the twelve months of the election year. The team of 10 monitoring assistants is looking at coverage in terms of fairness, accuracy and balance in reporting as well as other ethical considerations in line with the Media Code of Conduct,” Kamweru said. The exercise is funded by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and funds will be given on a quarterly basis.
The council will be required to submit details of how previous monies have been spent before they can get more. So far they’ve already received Sh2 million. Kamweru said the exercise that started last month is guided by the universal code of conduct and practice of journalism in Kenya. She added that the council is in the process of establishing a Journalism Protection Fund to assist journalists who are subjected to violence in the course of duty.[4]


Some description of WFD's activities in Mozambique:

One of the governors of the Westminster Foundation is Richard Spring, the Conservative MP for Suffolk West, who has spent a great deal of time working in Mozambique with the main opposition party Renamo-Electoral Union in the province of Zambezia, which is about a 90 minute flight from the capital.
Mr Spring says the work of the Foundation is vital in countries where opposition parties find it difficult to raise cash, to make an impact because communications are difficult, and where politicians are frustrated in their efforts to get different messages, opposing the governing party, aired on radio and television.[5]
Mozambique is a little visited former Portuguese colony in south east Africa which is now a full member of the Commonwealth. The Conservatives are working in Mozambique with Renamo-EU Union to help it create the structure of a political party. This includes the training of agents, assistance in compiling a manifesto, and demonstrating the value of, and the need for, a properly functioning shadow cabinet with spokesmen for all Government departments. Staff members from Conservative Central Office are sent out to help and give advice at election time.(ibid.)

What has to be highlighted here is the fact that the party that is receiving WFD assistance is Renamo, i.e., the political manifestation of the South Africa-US funded, trained, armed gang which terrorized Mozambique for a decade -- planting millions of landmines throughout the country.


On 18 December 2006, WFD announced that it had funded an electronic information sharing service for the Rwandan government, and it will also be likely rolled out for other countries.[6]

Sierra Leone

In Oct 2006, it was announced that WFD financed the introduction of a Freedom of Information bill in Sierra Leone:

"Political Parties more especially those who have met the conditionality of the Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC) have given us their support for the enactment on the Freedom of Information bill," he said and maintained that they are seriously going to people across the country to sensitize them on the importance of the bill. "We are going to use two methodologies, sensitization and the collection of the signatories and thumb prints of one million people in order to show that they are in total support of the bill," he said and maintained that his organization has received the sum of 30,000 pounds sterling from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy for the implementation of the programme.[7]

In August 2007, WFD funded a forum to "discuss ethical issues relating to campaigning and tolerance".[8] For the upcoming 11 August elections, WFD also funded electorate surveys.[9]

South Africa

WFD provided expertise and funded a public relations effort for "Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi". Jonathan Oates spent two years working in the South Africa Parliament advising the then Home Affairs Minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and other Cabinet Ministers in the South African government as part of a democracy development project sponsored by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.[10]


WFD has provided assistance to opposition groups, highlighted some of the opposition figures and otherwise meddled in Zimbabwe's internal affairs.[11]


  1. UK Conservative Party holds workshop for NPP Youth, The Statesman, 27 Feb 2007. (No longer available 4 December 2007)


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4] (No longer available 4 December 2007)
  5. Graham Dines, Foundation helps democracy flourish, EADT-24, 1 March 2007.
  6. [5]
  7. [6]
  8. NMDHR Holds Forum on Campaign Ethics, 9 August 2007.
  9. Katrina Manson, War-scarred youth hold key to Sierra Leone, Reuters, 9 August 2007.
  10. Liberal Democrats Press Release, Liberal Democrats appoint Jonathan Oates as new director of policy and communications, 6 Feb. 2007.
  11. Mabasa Sasa, Zimbabwe: U.S.-NGOs Relationship Incestuous, AllAfrica, 3 December 2007.