, BULAWAYO, Apr 30 – Multi-party elections alone are not enough to save Africa from authoritarian rule, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Friday as he urged Zimbabwe to pursue deeper reforms.
"We have seen that the mere re-introduction of multi-party politics in Africa, after decades of single-party and military dictatorships, has not solved the governance problem," Odinga told supporters of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai\’s MDC party.
"We have seen that multi-party elections alone will not propel us from institutionalised authoritarian systems to more democratic modes of governance," he said, speaking as the guest of honour at an MDC congress in the second city of Bulawayo.
Both Odinga and Tsvangirai came to government through power-sharing deals signed in the wake of disputed and violent elections.
The pacts have been credited with restoring stability in both countries, but critics say the forced marriages have done little to resolve underlying problems.
Odinga, who has shared power with President Mwai Kibaki since 2008, urged Zimbabwe to move "quickly" toward reforms.
Zimbabwe is currently in the middle of drafting a new constitution as part of Tsvangirai\’s 2009 power-sharing deal with long-time President Robert Mugabe.
The process was supposed to pave the way to new elections but has been repeatedly delayed by outbreaks of violence.
"Zimbabwe must move quickly to resolve its democratic challenges, so that it can take its rightful place as a potential centre for economic growth in this part of the continent," Odinga said.
"You will have to dig deep into your rewww.capitalfm.co.keirs of tolerance and compromise to ensure that this happens, for the alternative would serve neither the MDC nor its partner in government. It would only cripple the nation."
Odinga earlier met with Mugabe in the capital, Harare, describing the encounter as "very good".
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