There is no way possible that the people of South Africa could have celebrated that nation’s 20 years of constitutional democracy without remembering the role of Liberia and other counties in the fight for freedom and justice including democratic governance that incorporates the views of everyone in South Africa, South Africa’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Liberia, H.E. Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley has said.
He made the statement on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, the eve of the 20th celebration of that country’s rule of Constitutional democracy which held on Thursday, May 5, 2016.
The government and people of South Africa, the ambassador said, are gratified by the role the people and government of Liberia played by standing with that nation to fight for liberation that led to the country’s independence that cumulated to the practice of constitutional democratic governance in the period of 20 years.
Ambassador Moodley said because of the role Liberia played in liberating their country, South Africa and its citizens are made to be noted as great people and nation in Africa’s economy and development opportunities. According to Ambassador Moodley, South Africa and Liberia will continue to enjoy that cordial relationship that has brought the two nations and people together over the past years and would remain a strong partner on the Africa continent in the areas of bilateral cooperation.
He said South Africa has investments in Liberia and would remain engaged in other areas, especially in the areas of health; education among others to help in the building of Liberians capacities like it has been in the healthcare sector. The South African diplomat disclosed that South African government has been supportive of Liberia’s health sector by providing those needed opportunities for the training of health workers especially laboratory technicians to serve in the Liberian health service sector.
He said May 5th remains an important day in the history of South Africa democracy and to the people of South Africa and the entire world because it was on May 5th when South Africans for the first time had the opportunity to go the polls to elect their own leaders through constitutional means. Ambassador Moodley noted that the Constitution of South Africa provides the opportunity for citizens to elect their leaders especially national and local leaders in manner that allows citizens participation at every level of the communities thus creating the opportunities for national development and economy empowerment.
Speaking further, Ambassador Moodley said women and young people of south Africa have played a major role in the liberation struggle of that country that make that country to have a unique history of people’s participation, stressing that the struggle have allowed political parties to developed a culture of support for women participation in national government at every levels without a constitutional provisions. He said the people of South Africa can boost of having about 45% women representation in government through political parties policy and not constitutional provisions.
Besides, Ambassador Moodley cautioned Liberians especially the religious communities not allow those strange elements influence the Liberian constitution that would create those means to suppress other religion practices and believes in the country.
Making referencing to those calling for Liberia to declare a “Christian State”, the South Africa Ambassador said though he was not melting into Liberia’s national politics, rather using the opportunity to share the South African experience according to their constitution which allows secular state, it was important that Liberians hold up to the doctrine of secular state to avoid people creating an environment that would be fill with tension. In keeping with South Africa’s timeline of 20 years of Democracy since 1994 to 2014, that nation had on 27 April, an interim constitution which was adopted in November 1993 and came into effect on 27th April 1994 to administer South Africa’s first democratic elections and shifted the country towards the construction of a new political, social and economic order.
On 27 April, the national flag was designed by a former South African State Herald, Mr. Fred Brownell, and was first used for the first time during the 1994 elections.
By 27 April, first, non-racial, democratic elections held in South Africa. However elderly people and people who are physically challenged voted on the 26 April while 28 April, following numerous complaints about poor arrangements at some polling stations, President de Klerk approves a recommendation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to extend by one day polling in areas plagued by voting problems. These include KwaZulu, Venda, Gazankulu, Lebowa, Transkei and Ciskei.
On 2 May, the Independent Electoral Commission releases the provisional results of the national elections with the African National Congress (ANC) topping the list with 54 percent, while the National Party (NP) followed with 33 percent and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) with 4.5 percent. 3 May, South Africa resumes its full membership of the World Health Organization (WHO) while 6 May, final election results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission Chair, Judge Johan Kriegler.
The African National Congress (ANC), headed by Nelson Mandela, which captures 252 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, but falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to effect unilateral constitutional change. The ruling National Party (NP) of F.W de Klerk came in second with 82 seats, ahead of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) led by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi with 43 seats.
May 9, 1994, Nelson Mandela was unanimously elected president by the National Assembly, with Thabo Mbeki, deputy leader of the ANC and F.W. de Klerk as deputy presidents.