As the global concern for issues such as climate change, environmental destruction and unsustainable development are at an all-time high, the increased need for Green Parties worldwide has become greater than ever before. 

This increased international hunger for greener politics has made the role of the small, often newer Green Parties and activists in Africa more important than they ever have been.

2020 has been a year for growth in African Green Parties and politics.

Here are the Top 3 stories and events that have happened or are currently underway, concerning the present and future of Green politics in Africa.

1. Uganda’s Vanessa Nakate Speaks at the World Economic Forum

24-year-old Ugandan, Vanessa Nakate has been a public advocate for several issues concerning environmental politics in Africa. Starting her journey when she noticed a change in the climate in her home city of Kampala, she has established a presence in the media by campaigning for the preservation of the Congo’s Basin rainforest, and for increasing awareness of the dangers of climate change throughout Africa.

Her activism gained her an invitation to a press conference at the World Economic Forum, held in Davos Switzerland, in January 2020.  Other young activists at the conference included Isabelle Axelsson, Luisa Neubauer, Loukina Tille, and Greta Thunberg.

Nakate (middle) with activists (from left to right) Isabelle Axelsson, Loukina Tille, Greta Thunberg, and Luisa Neubauer

Though the press focused heavily on the presence of Thunberg, this event is just one step that has helped Nakate rise quickly as one of Africa’s newest young voices for climate change.

2. Ecological Party of Uganda Prepares for 2021 Election.

The EPU is a small party in the central-African country of Uganda, and looking to create more of a presence with the general elections set for January 14th, 2021.

Created in 2005, the EPU has not fielded candidates in a general election since 2009.  However, under the leadership of former African Green Federation Treasurer, Charles Bbaale, the EPU has been hard at work, assembling political candidates in every region of the country and at all levels of government.

This election could not come fast enough, as violent protests in Uganda have ravaged the country for several months, due to civil unrest caused by controversial president, Yoweri Museveni, himself having held office since 1985.

Bbaale has stated that he will base his campaign on diversity, human rights, social justice and the creation of a national employment agency.

This being Bbaale’s first presidential campaign, the upcoming election will be a true start to what is hopefully a brighter, greener future in the small African country.

3. The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda Grows Substantially

The DGPR has been one of Africa’s more successful Green parties, with their Leader, Dr. Frank Habineza, (who is also the President of the Federation of Green Parties of Africa) having come in 3rd in the 2017 presidential elections, and the party currently holding 2 seats in the nation’s Chamber of Deputies.

The preparations have already begun for Rwanda’s presidential election in 2024, including the filtering of the DGPR’s political candidates. Dr. Habineza, states “We have got cases of indiscipline in our party; this threatens the development of our party. If we are to win the next presidential elections, we are supposed to serve as example,”. 

The DGPR won just over 32,000 votes in the 2017 presidential election, but are predicted to win more in 2024 as the popularity of the party grows. According to KT Press Rwanda, membership in the DGPR grew around 30%, from 500,000 in 2018, to 700,00 in 2020.

Dr. Frank Habineza, Leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, at a meeting in the Rwandan Parliament. Photo via @RwandaCDeputies

In a tweet containing their aspirations for 2021, Dr. Habineza states that the DGPR shall continue strengthening party structures, capacity building of party members, collaboration with different stakeholders and sectors, implementation of various party strategies, advocating for reforms to government programs in favour of citizens, welfare and environmental stability.

As 2020 turns into 2021, hopefully stories of Green parties, politics and activism like these will continue to become more and more common across the African continent.

Joshua Allan

Joshua Allan is from Beamsville, Ontario and graduated from Bishop's University in June 2020, having studied Foreign Languages and Politics. His political activity in his community includes advocating for environmental rights in the Fridays for Future march in Sherbrooke, QC, in October 2019. His interests include Canadian and international politics, environmental politics, and Indigenous rights.

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