Human rights activist and former liberal joins the Flemish nationalists

The human rights campaigner and former Francophone liberal councilor Assita Kanko is set to stand for the Flemish nationalists at the elections next May. Ms Kanko campaigns against female circumcision and other women’s rights issues and was a councilor for the Francophone liberals in the Brussels municipality of Elsene. 

Ms Kanko explained her decision by saying that “The values the enlightenment are in danger in Europe. I am joining N-VA (the Flemish nationalists) to defend these values that include women’s rights and freedom of thought”.       

Ms Kanko took a step back from active party politics early this year and didn’t stand for re-election in October’s local elections. She said that she wanted to spend more time campaigning for women’s rights and working for Polin, an initiative to get more women involved in politics.  However, just 10 months after bowing  out of politics the 38-year-old twho was born and raised in Burkina Faso is now back and the forefront of party politics.

She told the Brussels regional news site Bruzz that “Under the present circumstances I don’t want to passively follow politics, but play an active role again and speak”.  

Speaking about migration (her new party quit the Federal Government over the UN Migration Pact) Ms Kanko said that N-VA is not against migration, “But as a country we have reached the capacity we can cope with. What we need is fair, controlled and manageable migration. N-VA advocates this.     

“An opportunistic move”

While Ms Kanko’s decision to join the Flemish nationalists has been welcomed by prominent politician from her new party. Her former colleagues in the Francophone liberals are less enthusiastic. The Francophone liberal MP Alain Destexhe told journalists that “It is a great pity that she hasn’t chosen our party”.

Mr Destexhe sat with Ms Kanko on Elsene council. Meanwhile, Elsene’s former liberal Mayor Dominique Dufourny described Ms Kanko’s decision as being motivated by “political opportunism”.