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Kenya and Zimbabwe: A tale of similar fate?

This is just a short article highlighting some parallels between the Kenyan and Zimbabwean situation, as both African countries are facing fast-approaching elections.

The Kenyans will have their general elections in August of this year, while the Zimbabweans will have their elections next year, 2018. Both countries are hoping for for a change in leadership, with their respective majorities unsatisfied with their current regimes.

In Kenya, a major political milestone in opposition politics has been achieved. A coalition called the National Super Alliance has already been formed. Furthermore, the leaders of that opposition alliance have endorsed veteran and firebrand opposition leader Raila Odinga as their presidential candidate to face Uhuru Kenyatta in the August elections. Mudavadi, another veteran leader has been named as his deputy.

A coalition was once regarded as an unattainable feat. However, a certain opposition leader said that they “sacrificed their personal ambitions” for the greater cause of the nation. An applause for them.

Now, Kenyans hope for a very peaceful election, just as the 2013 election was. However, up to now, Kenya is still marred and haunted by the horrific two-month post-election violence that rocked the country in the disputed 2007 elections.  The violence led to the death of about 1000 people and over 250 000 were displaced.

Many truly believe the election was stolen stolen from Odinga, that he had clearly won but Kibaki was adamant to relinquish power. This then resulted in a power-sharing deal being struck, and Odinga assumed the specially-created post of Prime Minister.

This is the fourth time that Odinga will be vying for the presidential post.

Travel down to Zimbabwe. A country grappling with an ever-deteriorating economic crisis, there are still glimmers of hope within the populace. The political crisis still remains uncertain, although however the opposition has made some progress in achieving a grand coalition.

A coalition has not yet been struck, but main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Mdc-T party has signed “pre-election alliances” with other opposition politicians Joice Mujuru, who was ejected from ZANU PF in 2014, and Welshman Ncube, who broke away from Tsvangirai’s main MDC in 2005. It’s coming, one can be assured.

If it materialises, Morgan Tsvangirai is likely to become the presidential candidate, with Joice Mujuru having hinted at that in one of the country’s local dailies.

Like Raila Odinga, many are of the assertion that Tsvangirai was rigged in the much-contested 2008 election. The violence that followed was horrific as well. Tsvangirai’s supporters were targeted; they were abducted, tortured, killed. This led to Tsvangirai boycotting the run-off in order to save his supporters ( Mugabe’s regime withheld the results for 6 weeks, then finally called for a run-off, which was a sham).

Like in Kenya, probably Mugabe copied the Kenya style, a power-sharing deal was struck in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai, just like Odinga, assumed the specially-created role of Prime Minister, a post he served up to 2013. Odinga also served this post up to 2013 as well.

If Tsvangirai is endorsed as the presidential candidate, IF, it will be his sixth time running for the presidential post.

For me, this is just a tale of similar fate for Kenya and Zimbabwe. Both countries will hope for a change in leadership in their respective upcoming elections.

Contexts differ of course, but this is certainly a crunch time for both countries.



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