Monday, April 14, 2008 at 12:31 PM
To form a grand coalition government to rescue their country from weeks of violence, anger, and mistrust.
Never mind that there was virtual unanimity among international election observers not only that Kibaki’s ruling Party of National Unity (PNU) had lost control of parliament, but also that he had been duly ousted as president.
Yet, as members of Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe and Odinga’s Luo tribe clashed in the streets, Kibaki defied the results by having himself sworn in for another term as president and forming a cabinet comprised of his cronies amidst the chaos. In fact, this is what made signing the NARA so difficult.
Because, after 12 weeks of post-election violence showed no signs of abating, both men agreed in principle to a power-sharing government as, effectively, an armistice agreement to end the tribal warfare. But this meant Kibaki had to unseat many of the ministers he hastily appointed.
Meanwhile, Odinga and his opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party had already emulated Kibaki and his PNU by declaring Odinga the new president and the ODM the new ruling party. And it was reconciling the equal and opposing ambitions of those who sat in each party’s ministerial posts that proved so devilish.
Nevertheless, when all was said and done, Kibaki got his way. After all, in this grand coalition, he remains president, while Odinga becomes prime minister. Moreover, even though the NARA prescribed “an equal share of power,” there’s no denying that Kibaki’s men will remain head of the most powerful ministries.
So, after failing at the polls, Kibaki, who many in the West heralded as a new breed of African politician, resorted to good old-fashioned violence, intimidation, and dirty tricks to hold on to power.
Which brings me to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe: Because like Kibaki and his ruling party, all indications are that he and his ruling ZANU-PF party lost close national elections that were held on March 29. Yet, like Kibaki, Mugabe refused to concede defeat, which also plunged Zimbabwe into post-election violence.
(Note: The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has yet to release the official results. Instead, it has ordered a recount that many believe will be rigged – i.e., more effectively than the original count – to give Mugabe and the ZANU-PF the victories they are determined to have by hook or by crook.)
Moreover, Mugabe and ZANU-PF have already resorted to even more ruthless means to hold on to power, including ransacking opposition party offices and executing summary arrests.
Therefore, it behooves Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to seek a grand compromise for a coalition government based on the Kenya model. And they would do well to heed this advice because all political and legal maneuvers to oust Mugabe are doomed to fail.
Indeed, despite great expectations that those attending last weekend’s summit of southern African leaders would denounce Mugabe and demand that he step aside, Tsvangirai was sorely disappointed when they merely issued a pro forma call for Zimbabwe’s election results “to be announced speedily.”
However, if the opposition party does not compromise (essentially on Mugabe’s terms), here’s what lies in store for Zimbabwe – from an article I published before the polls closed on election day:
Whatever the case, nobody who knows Mugabe can possibly believe that he will ever accept defeat at the polls. After all, this man is a genocidal megalomaniac who is congenitally disposed to war.
Therefore, it will take a war – that will make post-election violence in Kenya seem like a school-yard brawl – to wrest power from his hands.
So, here’s to five more years of 100,000% inflation, 80% unemployment and international pariah status for Zimbabwe under the iron-fisted rule of Robert Mugabe….