Don’t use coalitions to reward poll losers-US

A senior US Government official has said formation of coalition governments should not be “an excuse for rewarding losers” of presidential elections in Africa.

Mr Johnnie Carson, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, said at a media briefing in Lusaka that it was important that elections were not misused by leaders who lost.

Ending his two-day visit to Zambia Monday, Mr Carson said presidential candidates in Africa must “accept electoral outcomes when the process is free, fair and transparent” as it was in Cote d’Ivoire.

At least 17 African countries will hold presidential elections this year.

Key feature

He said coalition government did not necessarily have to be a danger to democracy, but it depended on the way it was formed and how.

“If a coalition is put together by the party, which actually won the election, as in the case of Great Britain, then it’s perfectly acceptable to have a coalition government, but it should not be an excuse for rewarding losers,” said Mr Carson, previously US Ambassador to Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

“The key feature there (Britain) is that the winner is on top and decides whether he or she wants to enter into a coalition,” he added.

Mr Carson, who met President Rupiah Banda and opposition leaders gearing up for elections later this year, said the US would do its utmost to be support Zambia to hold free, fair and transparent elections.


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