Path towards modernization: responsibilities of young leaders of the CPC and African political parties

Path towards modernization: responsibilities of young leaders of the CPC and African political parties

Your Excellency, LIU Jianchao, Minister of the IDCPC, other leaders of IDCPC present, leaders of African political parties, Chinese experts, young leaders of the CPC and African political parties, brothers and sisters, friends – it is a great pleasure to participate in the China-Africa Thematic Briefing on the Twentieth National Congress of the CPC and the Sixth China-Africa Young Leaders’ Forum under the theme of Path towards modernization: responsibilities of young leaders of the CPC and African political parties.

Kindly allow me first to associate myself with the congratulatory messages from the Secretary General of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Honourable Veronica Maina and the Party Leader and President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Dr William Ruto in congratulating the CPC for the complete success of the 20th National Congress and the re-election of General Secretary Xi Jinping.

Having read through the Report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC presented by General Secretary Xi, I would like to highlight six key points in seeking to identify paths to modernization which African political parties can adapt to and young leaders of the CPC and African political parties can be emboldened to carry forward.

Firstly, it is important to uphold the unified overall leadership of our respective parties. Over the past five years, the CPC has continued to strengthen the overall leadership of the Party and the centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee. As the cornerstone of the ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ the centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee lends great wisdom and foresight in governance.

The second notable point is the high importance attached to implementing a people-centred philosophy of development.The CPC has worked continuously to ensure people’s access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance, thus bringing about an all-around improvement in people’s lives.

The philosophy of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), is that everyone in Kenya matters and through the Party, Kenyans of all walks of life have the opportunity to contribute to nation building and to better their lives and the lives of future generations. The vision of the Party is to realise an equitably empowered Kenyan society anchored on a bottom-up economic model that promotes equal opportunities, shared prosperity and improved economic welfare. A central plank of the UDA manifesto has been job creation, especially for the youth. Bottom up economics is about investing the limited capital available where it will create the most jobs – at the bottom of the pyramid.

Bottom Up Economic model is also in line with my third notable point, which is the Chinese modernization of common prosperity for all in order to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life. Achieving common prosperity is a defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the CPC embarks on the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country.

By improving the system of lifelong vocational training and improving the system for creating jobs by encouraging business start-ups, provides a sustainable path to modernization ensuring both long term inclusive economic growth and equity.

The fourth notable point is Advancing Whole-Process People’s Democracy. Complementing the Bottom Up Economic Model, Whole-Process People’s Democracy offers viable solutions in building a ‘Bottom Up Democratic Governance Model’. Through the UDA grassroots Party institutions of County Congresses, Constituency Congress, Ward Congress and Polling Centre Members Committee, we can expand democratic channels, and diversify the forms of democracy. This model is similar and in line with people’s congresses at all levels in China which are formed through democratic elections, responsible to the people, and subject to their oversight.

The fifth notable point is the great new project of party building. As a relatively new Party, the UDA is on course to consolidate its gains in the recent general elections by building strong Party structures and establishing complete country wide scope. In a similar vein to the CPC’s great project of party building, UDA can also endeavour to strengthen the ideals and convictions of its Party members, see that they are committed to the Party’s purpose, and resolve the fundamental question of the worldview, outlook on life, and values they should embrace.

Of critical importance is the need for training and selecting promising young Party officials and encouraging young officials to work and gain experience in local communities and areas where conditions can test their resolve and provide practical assignments as an important part of their training. In addition, Party building should also include strengthening the Party organizations, keeping a clear focus on the primary level, using Party building initiatives to propel rural revitalization and intensifying Party-building efforts in urban communities.

The last notable point is maintaining a global vision. In that regard it is important that we build synergy between the Chinese path to modernization and the African path to modernization as envisaged in the African Union Agenda 2063.  

The Seven Aspirations of AU Agenda 2063 include a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development as well as an integrated continent, political united, based on the idea of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s renaissance. Pan Africanism reflects a range of political views. At a basic level, ‘it is a belief that African peoples, both on the African continent and in the Diaspora, share not merely a common history but a common destiny’. In the course of re-imagining Pan-Africanism, the re-owned Pan Africanist Issa Shivji has argued that ‘we should reconstruct it as an ideology of the working people, as an ideology of social emancipation and, therefore, inextricably embedded in the struggle of the working people.’ It is time to champion a ‘Pan Africanism in the New Era’.

Through small-scale pilot programs it is time to establish agriculture value chains and agro industrial parks across the continent as special economic zones whilst harnessing the African free trade area and promoting further African Union economic integration. It is time to reconstruct the Pan African agenda by promoting an African Union – Caribbean Community trade agreement and a Pan African diaspora strategy for attracting high level talent back to the continent. It is time to demand a collective seat on the United Nations Security Council as well as renegotiating the rules of the World Trade Organization. It is time to reconstruct globalization through soft power diplomacy in the promotion of a shared peace and prosperity and in doing so reduce the disparity of wealth and income inequality.

In addition, China has put forward the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and it stands ready to work with the international community to put these two initiatives into action in building a human community with a shared future as the way forward for all the world’s peoples. China is committed to narrowing the North-South gap and supporting and assisting other developing countries in accelerating development. Furthermore, through solidarity and cooperation we can promote greater democracy in international relations, and work to make global governance fairer and more equitable as well as safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its core.

By striving in unity to pursue the above, the young leaders of today have a critical role to play. In a televised address to the nation on the 21st August 2021, UDA Party leader and now the 5th President of Republic of Kenya following the recent general election, H.E President William Ruto stated:

‘Today, I call on every young person in our country to step forward, stand up to be counted, summon their energy, talent and knowledge to imagine, fashion and create a new Kenya. I urge the young people of our country to refuse to be sidelined, to resist being marginalized but to assume their rightful place in the national discourse. Your place at the center of the national discourse is your right. Do not wait to be invited; it is your place. Your future, and that of our nation, is anchored on your readiness to assume your rightful position. Now henceforth, we must build an alliance of all Kenyans with our young people at the core so that we can tap into our creativity, talents, energy to fashion the new Kenya where success is not based on who you know but how hard you work, a Kenya where nobody is left behind’.

In the concluding remarks in delivering the Report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi stated, and I quote;

Young people: You should steadfastly follow the Party and its guidance, aim high but stay grounded, and dare to think big and take action but make sure you can deliver. You should strive to be the new era’s great young generation, a generation with ideals, a sense of responsibility, grit, and dedication. As you endeavour to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects, your youth and vitality will bloom in full splendour”. End of quote

With these few remarks, I call on my fellow young leaders to be the torch bearers in lighting the path to modernization, harness the spirit of China Africa friendship and strive together in unity in building a China Africa community of shared future in the New Era.

As the year draws to an end, allow me to wish you all a peaceful, prosperous and a healthy New Year.

Long live Kenya China friendship!
Long live China Africa solidarity!
Long live the Communist Party of China!
Xie Xie dajia.

Edwin Mwenda
Foreign Affairs Advisor
United Democratic Alliance

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