The Freedom Train Makes a Stop in Accra
The first few days of March 2018 were very important to the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY), Africa Liberal Youth (ALY), and the Progressive Youth Movement (PYM), as the PYM and the ALY hosted the 43rd General Assembly of the IFLRY. To us in ALY, we were very excited that our member Organisation the PYM had been trusted enough by the IFLRY to host this important gathering. We found the theme for the GA very interesting as the topic of freedom is barely discussed dispassionately in Africa and Ghana for that matter. It was also exciting as the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) was also hosting the Africa Liberal Network (ALN) at the same time and at the same venue with us. We had worked hand in hand with the PPP to ensure that we shared information to allow a smooth organisation of the two programmes. After days of planning, emails, WhatsApp messages, follow ups, confirmations, letters and execution, the delegates started arriving even before the 1st of March. Alas it was time for the GA.
The welcome ceremony on the evening of 1st March was so informal and precise. This was quite not expected from most of the PYM delegates. At least they would have expected an opening prayer, and some formal introductions of speakers before the actual persons spoke. This indeed offered us some opportunity to have a cultural exchange with our colleagues who had come from all over the world. The “newbies” session was also a very exciting aspect of the GA. As we mingled with each other in a very well planned programme led by Sven Gerst (the new IFLRY Secretary Seneral), it broke up the ice and helped us to interact more freely with each other. Then there was the opening on the 2nd of March. Many insightful information around the theme of Freedom fights in the 21st century. The Standing committee meetings were just on point and well planned. Everyone seemed to know what to do already. Then we had the revealing session on the personal experiences of Mr. Ladi Nylanda from the PPP who took us through a journey of how Ghana has made it through the colonial days till her current democratic days.
The elections on the final day was just so exciting. A Bureau that will continue to do everything for IFLRY was elected. It was conducted with love and freedom. Everyone felt free to decide on who to vote for. There was no hostility from any candidate to any other candidate. Some candidates were actually able to say what the other candidates could do better than themselves. But all too soon, we had to say goodbye to each other. It was my first IFLRY GA experience and I had a very rare opportunity to Chair the Standing Committee on Rules. IFLRY and Liberalism are full of love and opportunities for all and I thank the immediate past Bureau for the opportunity given to me. I wish the new Bureau the very best in office and promise them my unflinching support and that of the ALY and PYM. Our experiences at the General Assembly were that of a feel of freedom and I must say that indeed the freedom train took a stop in Accra on 1st March, 2018. Good news is that it did not just go after 4th March. It has left some missionaries who shall carry the mantle of freedom through Ghana and Africa.