Mugabe hosts Kenya's Prime Minister at State House

HARARE – Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga Friday held talks with Zimbawe’s President Robert Mugabe before flying to Bulawayo were he was the guest of honour at the MDC-T Third Congress.\r\n

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Speaking to journalists after a closed door meeting with Robert Mugabe, Mr. Odinga who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Thokozani Khupe told journalists that he had a fruitful meeting with the President as they discussed  the rough and tough terrain the two countries travelled.

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He said Zimbabwe and Kenya share a common history adding that among issues discussed was how the two countries can assist each other in dealing with the current constitutional and other reforms.

Asked about his view on the inclusive government in Zimbabwe, Mr. Odinga said Zimbabwe is a sovereign state which should make its own decisions not to be dictated to by foreigners.

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Mr Odinga arrived in Harare Friday on his way to Bulawayo, where he is to open the third National Conference of the Movement for Democratic Change.

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The talks focused on the similarities in the history of Kenya and Zimbabwe, the struggle for the liberation of Africa, the continent’s place in world politics, reforms in the two countries and global affairs.

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Mr Odinga conveyed greetings from President Mwai Kibaki to President Mugabe.

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Reforms in politics

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President Mugabe showed strong interest in political developments in Kenya, particularly the unveiling of the new constitution and said Zimbawe looked up to Kenya for a model in reforming the constitution.

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He said Zimbabwe had always learnt from Kenya, from the liberation struggle to date, adding that he spent years studying the history of the Mau Mau war of independence.

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President Mugabe invited Mr Odinga to stay in the country for a longer period.

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Mr Odinga said Kenya and Zimbabwe had links imposed by history and should together work towards reforms in politics.

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Mr Odinga promised that Kenya would donate a book on constitution-making to Zimbabwe to guide the southern African nation in its quest for constitutional reforms.

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The Prime Minister left Harare shortly after 3pm for Bulawayo.

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Zimbabwe’s state media have launched a vicious attack against Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga after he accepted an invitation to be a guest at a congress for a party led by his Harare counterpart Morgan Tsvangirai.

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Mr Odinga will officially open Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party congress in the second city of Bulawayo Friday.

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State media propaganda against the PM’s party has gone into overdrive in what analysts say is reflection of widening cracks in Zimbabwe’s coalition government.

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The state owned Herald newspaper, which usually reflects the thinking in President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, described Mr Odinga as a merchant of violence.

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“Who then is this Raila Odinga,” wrote George Rugare Chingarande in the paper’s opinion pages.

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“Raila Odinga is a political schizophrenic.

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“His rhetoric oozes with refined contemporary democracy dogma, but his actions reveal a very violent and dictatorial streak.

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“The exorbitant nature of this obsessive preoccupation with violence is rivalled by a few in modern day African.

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A stumbling block

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“His proclivity for violence can be traced to his student days.”

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President Mugabe’s sympathisers have never forgiven Mr Odinga for calling for the 87-year-old leader’s ouster in a 2008 interview with BBC.

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In the interview, Mr Odinga called on African leaders to push Mugabe out of power because he was a stumbling block to political reform in Zimbabwe.

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The MDC congress started on Thursday afternoon and ends on Saturday.

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Early this month, acerbic comments in the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper precipitated a diplomatic row between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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One of the paper’s columnists and a former Information minister in Mugabe’s previous government attacked South African President Jacob Zuma saying he was not a suitable mediator in Zimbabwe’s crisis.

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President Mugabe had to send emissaries to apologise to Zuma following the public fallout.

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