Most African leaders intolerant: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says most African leaders are turning against their own people “through unrestrained intolerance and dictatorships”.

Speaking at Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party convention in Kenya on Friday, Tsvangirai said African leaders had abandoned their principles.

Odinga, who is Kenya’s prime minister and like Tsvangirai, was drawn into a coalition government with arch rival Mwai Kibaki after a 2007 disputed election.

“Zimbabwe and Kenya have in recent years been used as guinea pigs and political experiments in the resolution of Africa’s stubborn history of national conflicts manifested by a refusal to respect the will of the people after an election.

“We patiently went through one of the most difficult, post-colonial and generational transitions spawned by the reality of black-on-black oppression and, by extension, black-on-black violence,” said Tsvangirai.
He said both countries should do away with the culture of violence.

Tsvangirai pulled out of the 2008 presidential run-off elections against President Robert Mugabe, citing political violence against his party members.

Said Tsvangirai: “Gone are the days when might, armour, force and the gun were fashionable instruments for regime change. That leads us to where we are today, with open but secure ballot being the most preferred means to confer legitimacy to any credible regime”.

“Given our experience, our nations now know the dangers of either political or military conflicts; and that the effective vaccine is a responsive leadership that regards the state as an enabler and facilitator rather than a ruler,” Tsvangirai added.

Zimbabwe and Kenya are holding elections next year, after being forced into coalition governments following disputed elections in both countries.

Tsvangirai added: “Political confusion, greed and avarice was a major set-back in the two countries which were once the pride of Africa.”

“The crisis of governance in both Zimbabwe and Kenya deprived us of a cogent, political and democratic culture, firmly supported by credible and democratic public safety institutions and nationally agreed political practices. This is what we, as new players carrying on the torch of freedom and development, swear to throw away instantly.

He said lack of confidence in African governments was stifling local initiatives and scaring away potential investors.

Tsvangirai commended Kenya for successfully carrying out the constitution-making process.

“The delays in our country in completing this difficult exercise could be attributed to residual traces of nostalgia and a natural but wholly unfounded fear for change,” said Tsvangirai.

He said the management and exploitation of natural resources in Zimbabwe and Kenya “must be people-focussed”.

“We must guard these assets jealously ensuring that their exploitation is for national development rather than for the enrichment of the few in privileged positions,” said Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, Nyarai Makone, daughter to  Tsvangirai’s chief secretary Ian Makone and Co-Home Affairs minister Theresa was found dead in her room at the Makone home in Domboshawa yesterday morning.

She was found dead by the Makones’ employees and at the time of going to press, it was not clear how she died.

The Makones, who accompanied Tsvangirai to Kenya were expected in the country last night.

The Daily News yesterday visited the Makone homestead, in Chiroodza Village under chief Chinamhora where family members and MDC party supporters converged to pay their condolences.

Makone’s relatives refused to talk to the press saying they were waiting for the minister and her husband to arrive back home. - Tendai Kamhungira

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