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What Obtains Elswhere

Where political party democacry is entrenched, the training of members is carried out on a systematic basis.

There is no denying the fact that the regular training of members and officials is crucial to the success of any political party. Such training differs from country to country, depending on democratic tradition and the means of political parties. Generally, most parties rely on sensitisation during rallies or  conferences, but the more serious parties go beyond this.

French Summer Schools

In France, political parties usually take advantage of the summer vacation to organise training for their members. Known as Summer Schools, the opportunity is given party members and officials to keep abreast with certain topical issues. For example, the French Socialist Party, PS, from August 29-31, 2014, held its summer school at La Rochelle. During the event, the 100th anniversary of the murder of Jean Jaurès, the French Socialist leader, and his impact on the party’s evolution, was revisited.

Various workshops were also organised on issues such as the State and religion; falling industrial standards: the way forward; European social policy: the way forward; the prerequisite for economic growth; marriage for all: analysis and stakes; socialists, religion and secularism; sports and ethics; and social dialogue: the key to development.

ANC Cadre Training

The democratic tradition in South Africa, though not so old, offers ample training for political party leaders. The ruling African National Congress, ANC, has of recent been focusing on the training of its cadres. According to the ANC Gauteng Secretary, David Makhura, in order for the party to be ready for today’s democratic challenges, cadres must be trained in innovative ways. The focus of such training is skills and competence acquisition. “Cadres would be trained academically, politically and in ethical conduct by setting up political schools in all provinces.

We are creating a new type of ANC members by eradicating illiteracy amongst them,” David Makhura explained. He added that education of party members must not be limited to the ANC’s history, but also on the character of an ANC member. Meanwhile, at the lower level, the party often sensitises members on key issues as well as organises training on their duties.

The Case Of Nigeria

The Political Party Leadership and Policy Development Centre of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, near Jos in Plateau State, organises regular workshops for political party officials on subjects such as party rules, procedures and guidelines, what a party stands for, party structures and branches, party membership and running a professional political party. Others are membership recruitment and management, resource mobilisation strategy, human resource and volunteer management, and policy development, internal communication, and promoting the participation of women in leadership decision-making and policy formulation/promulgation.

Individual parties, in addition to rallies, also organise regular workshops for their members and at times sponsor them for foreign training. The Electoral Institute of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is currently training representatives of political parties for the 2015 general elections in a bid to keep them abreast on international best practices and also to standardise the conduct of polls. The Training Of Trainers, TOT Workshop is entitled “Role and responsibilities of political party agents on Election Day.”

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