African coalition governments criticised

May 7, 2010 12:00 am

, DAR ES SALAAM, May  7 – African leaders on Friday criticised the formation of coalition governments on the continent following flawed or disputed elections.

Two African countries – Kenya and Zimbabwe – are now ruled by power-sharing governments following contested polls which also sparked  political crises.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga – named to the post in a 2008 deal with President Mwai Kibaki whom he accused of rigging his re-election the previous year – said their agreement should not be replicated.

"The Kenyan example is not a model to be followed. It is a compromise that has been reached as a result of a crisis," Mr Odinga said during the World Economic Forum on Africa being held in Dar es Salaam.

"It is not an example for Africa to follow. Zimbabwe followed because it was seen that the incumbent has lost and refuses to leave power (and) there is a danger of disintegration of the state," he added.

South African President Jacob Zuma – whose predecessor negotiated the Zimbabwe deal – defended the agreement, but said lack of implementation was undermining it.

"It is the only route to peace and stability in Zimbabwe," Mr Zuma said. "The problem is at the level of implementation. You cannot have an agreement and not implement it."

On Thursday, Zimbabwe\’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he would not agree to a coalition government again, terming it a "very painful exercise."

"Would I do this again? I don\’t think so. I think it is a bad precedent," he explained.

Mr Odinga blamed the African Union of failing to instill democracy in its 53 member states.

"It is also the ineffectiveness of the African Union to take the lead and a firm stand on issues where democracy is in danger," he said.

"That\’s the reason why we end up with such kind of compromises. They are basically examples of how not to do it."

Salim Ahmed Salim, former secretary general of the Organisation of African Unity, since renamed the African Union, criticised Africa\’s inability to crack down on leaders who cling to power.

Africa "has been unable to deal decisively with the phenomena of leaders trying to perch themselves to power perpetually without eny possibilities of change," he said. "Coalition governments are not a solution."


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