In October 2017, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) bestowed its annual Africa Freedom Award on Hakainde Hichilema, president of the United Party for National Development, the liberal opposition in Zambia. This week, the FNF announced that the 2018 award will go to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, to be delivered on Friday November 30. Awards such as this should be there to honour, encourage and reward liberals and to inspire others to live up to their example. Thus, they are important and should be handed out with care and consideration, lest they reward the wrong thing. In the case of Maimane, rewarding the wrong thing, unfortunately, seems to be exactly what the FNF is doing. The foundation, which does invaluable work in support of the liberal cause in SA, has made a serious mistake, and demeaned the value its own award in doing so. It is a decision impossible to justify on the evidence, and not just because of where Hichilema sets the bar. Generally, Maimane and freedom ...

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