Africa Opposition Politics: Mugabe Has a Point
Zimbabwe has followed the Kenyan coalition style of governance after a long spell of political crisis. Is this the current trend in African countries? The deal reached between President Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is a replica of what President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya signed early this year. Among the recent cases of succession-driven crises in Africa are those of Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Togo, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Mugabe’s argument that democracy in Africa is a difficult proposition is true. In fact, his point that opposition politicians seek much more than they deserve is a reality. But he stops short of telling Africans the reason behind this predicament. One common reason is the affinity to cling to power by leaders such as him.
Clinging onto power by the incumbents is one of the reasons that fuels myopic opposition politics in the continent. Haille Selassie, for example, ruled Ethiopia for 39 years; Ahmed Sekou Toure ruled Guinea for 26 years; Daniel Arap Moi (Kenya) for 24 years; Omar Bongo (Gabon) for 40 years and is still counting; Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) for 22 years and is still counting; Paul Kagame (Rwanda) for 14 years; Omar Al Bashir (Sudan) for 19 years and Mugabe has been on the throne for 28 years in a row.
Yet again the complicity of Western powers in Africa’s political quagmire ought to be interrogated since these leaders can not be on the throne without behind the scenes backing by the West or East. That partly explains why democracy in Africa is a difficult proposition. It is time we developed issue based political parties.
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