ZANU PF yesterday described the defeat of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s ally Raila Odinga by Uhuru Kenyata in Kenya’s recent presidential elections as a wake-up call to the MDC-T leader.
Report by Everson Mushava
Zanu PF central committee members told NewsDay that Kenyatta’s victory was a stunning “articulation to date of a renewed mood of self-assertion by Africa’s anti-colonial leaders.”
But the MDC-T rubbished the Zanu PF claims, saying drawing comparisons between Zimbabwe and Kenya would be futile.
“MDC is a Zimbabwean party, not controlled by any external force. The choice Kenyans made was about Kenya, not foreigners,” said MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.
“Tsvangirai is not Odinga, and Mugabe is not Kenyatta. Kenyatta is young and was not the incumbent.
“Here we are taking of Mugabe who has outlived his usefulness. You cannot compare a 90-year-old to a 51 year old.”
Mwonzora said Tsvangirai had made remarkable interventions in government and the results were there for everyone to see.
“We expect Tsvangirai to win with over 70%,” he said.
Kenyatta (51), Kenya’s richest man and son of its founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, was declared president — after winning with a narrow margin of 50,07% to avoid a run-off with Odinga (68).
Odinga got 43,3% of the vote.
Before the election results were announced, Kenyatta, who faces trial at the International Criminal Court for the 2007 post-election violence, accused Britain of trying to influence the election results in favour of Odinga.
Zanu PF central committee member Christopher Mutsvangwa said Odinga’s defeat was a “no confidence” vote on the West.
“Kenyatta’s victory represents a turning point in African politics,” he claimed.
“The defeat of Odinga is a no-confidence vote to the West. What happened in Kenya will happen in Zimbabwe again.
“Zanu PF will win resoundingly because it has no association with imperial powers.
“For the MDC-T, associating with the West is courting electoral disaster.”
But Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya said the electoral processes in the two countries were incomparable.
“Political gladiators in Kenya and Zimbabwe are quite different. Ethnic dimension played a part in Kenya,” he said.
Ruhanya said Odinga lost it when his running mate William Ruto, who comes from the vastly-populated Kalenjin ethinc group, defected to Kenyatta’s camp.
“In Zimbabwe, the odds are still in favour of Tsvangirai,” he said.
Mugabe is an incumbent who is refusing to leave power not only in Zanu PF, but in government.
Another political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya described’s Kenyatta’s victory as a disaster for modern-day African politics.
“It only shows Africans have not shifted focus from the politics of religion and tribalism,” he said.
“For Tsvangirai, Kenyatta’s victory is a double-edged sword. On one side, he may take comfort in ‘tribal elections’ in that those who hate Zanu PF, but resent ‘Ndebele rule’ will always vote for him.
“Another side is that the swing may go back to Mugabe’s politics of chicanery — indigenisation, intimidation and, exclusion.”