Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has described power-sharing governments in Africa as bad for democracy because they did not serve the interests of the people as they recognised election losers.
Commenting on the post-election dispute in Ivory Coast, PM Tsvangirai told the international media on Monday in Brussels that the setting up of a power-sharing government to end the Ivory Coast post-election standoff set a bad example to other African countries.
“It does not serve the people. It is a very wrong precedent,” said Tsvangirai. “People are only looking for stability. It (power-sharing) is a bad precedent. It is (a) wrong precedent for Africa’s democratic development, even if it applies to my own country.
“I’m sure that will be the (AU) solution again – to have a coalition as a solution. They already have a template for it. It is called going through the back door and still retain the power that you lost through the mandate of the people,” Tsvangirai told Reuters in an interview.
“The unfortunate thing is that we are seeing this repetition of people losing an election and want(ing) to come back to restore their power position through the back door. It is not different from Kenya, it is not different from Zimbabwe, now we have got Ivory Coast,” he said.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki on Monday failed to settle an election dispute between Ivory Coast’s presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.
Gbagbo has been sworn in for a new term as Ivorian President with the backing of the military, even though the electoral commission said the winner was Ouattara, who is backed by former rebels in the north.
Rival Kenyan leaders Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki signed a power-sharing deal in 2008 to end a wave of violence that killed more than 1 300 people after a disputed election the previous December.
Mbeki played a role in 2008 in mediating the deal in Zimbabwe that put PM Tsvangirai’s MDC-T into a power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC-M.
Turning to the issue of elections, Tsvangirai said there was no way Zimbabwe would go to the polls without the necessary reforms and a constitutional review.
“It is not possible to have elections in June next year because we need to have a referendum first,” said Tsvangirai. “I don’t think at the moment you can conduct an election (in Zimbabwe),” he said.
He said the country should first address the issue of violence.
Tsvangirai said the police, army, militia and war veterans have in previous polls been used to intimidate people.
“Once the roadmap is there, it will define the end of the coalition. The sooner we have one party in power with a clear mandate from the people, the better,” he said.
President Mugabe has said he wants elections to be held mid-next year as the inclusive government cannot be extended by more than six months after its expiry in February 2011.
He said he felt “absolutely awkward” in a coalition government which was “semi-legal”.