Power-Sharing Wrong For Ivory Coast – Tsvangirai

Elections in Ivory Coast were meant to unify the West African country after a 2002-2003 civil war, but have resulted in deadlock as presidential challenger Alassane Ouattara and incumbent Laurent Gbagbo both claimed victory.

Tsvangirai, whose party was forced into a Zimbabwean unity government with President Robert Mugabe after a disputed 2008 poll, said a power-sharing coalition would not serve the people of Ivory Coast.

“I’m sure that will be the solution again — have a coalition as a solution. They already have a template for it. It is called ‘go through the back door and still retain the power that you lost through the mandate of the people’,” Tsvangirai told Reuters in an interview.

“The unfortunate thing is that we are seeing this repetition of people losing an election and want(ing) to come back to restore their power position through the back door. It is not different from Kenya, it is not different from Zimbabwe, now we have got Ivory Coast,” he said.

Rival Kenyan leaders signed a power-sharing deal in 2008 to end a wave of violence that killed more than 1,300 people after a disputed election the previous December.

Gbagbo has been sworn in for a new term as Ivorian president with the backing of the military, even though the electoral commission said the winner was Ouattara, who is backed by former rebels in the north.

The stalemate has raised tensions in the West African country, prompting the African Union to send former South African president Thabo Mbeki to mediate.

Mbeki played a role in 2008 in mediating the deal in Zimbabwe that put Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into a power-sharing government with Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

Their unity government has lurched from one crisis to another as the sworn enemies fail to agree key policies, appointments to top government positions and a reform roadmap for the southern African state.

“It does not serve the people; it is a very wrong precedent. People are only looking for stability. It (power-sharing) is a bad precedent. It is (a) wrong precedent for Africa’s democratic development, even if it applies to my own country,” Tsvangirai said. Reuters