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Mbeki ally: ANC split inevitable

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by BAK, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Oct 8, 2008
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    Mbeki ally: ANC split inevitable
    BBC News Online

    Mr Lekota resigned after Thabo Mbeki was forced to step down
    It is inevitable that South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) will split, former Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota has told the BBC.

    "Today we are serving divorce papers," he said, announcing a conference in the next few weeks where a decision may be taken to split from the ANC.

    Mr Lekota is a close ally of former South African President Thabo Mbeki who was forced to step down last month.

    General elections are due in South Africa in the first half of next year.

    The governing party is divided between supporters of Mr Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, who won a bitter party contest to become ANC leader last year.

    Mr Lekota, known as "Terror" because of his prowess on the football field, is a former ANC chairman.

    "We intend within a short period of time... to call a national convention of comrades or something of that nature to determine how to proceed to defend democracy in this country," he said, reports the AFP news agency.

    You can't believe in the ANC and its policies so deeply, and then form an organisation that repeats the same policies

    "If the leadership of the ANC continues in their arrogance... we will proceed with the next step," he said.

    He did not refer to Mr Zuma by name but condemned tribalism and ANC leaders who "stand on public platforms singing songs that advocate violence".

    Some of Mr Zuma's supporters celebrate his Zulu origins, while his trademark song is the apartheid-era anthem "Bring Me My Machine Gun".

    Last week, Mr Lekota wrote an open letter, in which he accused the new ANC leadership of damaging democracy.

    Supporters of Mr Zuma have been accused of intimidating the judiciary during his recent legal problems.

    ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has said he was prepared to kill for Mr Zuma.

    Transport Minister Jeff Radebe responded by saying Mr Lekota and those who supported him were free to leave the party.

    Mr Mbeki stood down after a judge suggested he may have interfered in the prosecution of Mr Zuma on corruption charges.

    The former South African leader strongly denies this and has appealed against the judge's ruling.

    Mr Lekota was one of several ministers who resigned along with Mr Mbeki.

    Deep roots

    Responding on Tuesday evening to rumours of a split, Mr Zuma said he thought it would be short-lived.

    "I don't think it would have a very long life span, I would be surprised," he said, the South African Press Association reports.

    "You can't believe in the ANC and its policies so deeply, and then form an organisation that repeats the same policies, that would be funny," he said.

    The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Johannesburg says any new party would have real difficulties establishing a political foothold before next year's elections.

    He says that it is unlikely that Mr Mbeki, a loyal ANC member for many years, would join any breakaway.

    On Sunday, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said it would be good for South Africa to have a viable opposition party.

    The BBC's Africa analyst Martin Plaut since its foundation in 1912, the ANC has shown an extraordinary degree of unity.

    Where other liberation movements crumbled, it managed to stick together, despite the difficult years it spent in exile before majority rule was introduced, he says.

    He says although Mr Mbeki's dismissal was the spark that ignited this rebellion, its roots are deeper.

    In Mr Lekota's open letter to the party, he attacked the ANC for allowing members of the South African Communist Party (SACP) to take over leading positions.

    "The ANC is not the SACP and the SACP is NOT the ANC."

    The SACP is in a formal alliance with the ANC.

    It was an alliance that served both well during the struggle against apartheid, when the SACP provided finances and weapons to the ANC from the Soviet Union, Mr Plaut says.

    Mr Lekota argues that the distinction between the parties has now been blurred, with the ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe also the chairman of the SACP.

    Mr Zuma's supporters accused Mr Mbeki of being too aloof and business-friendly but Mr Zuma has said he would not change South Africa's economic policies, if he does become president next year.
     
  2. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Oct 9, 2008
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    The maturity of the democratic process can be a mother....
    I just pray that these are just teething problems for this young
    democracy.
     
  3. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Turning their backs on the ANC


    [​IMG]

    By Jonah Fisher
    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Mosiuoa Lekota's news conference had been billed as the launching of a new political party to challenge South Africa's ruling party.

    In the event the man nicknamed "Terror" growled and snarled but stopped short of leaving the African National Congress (ANC).

    But Mr Lekota and his fellow rebels' membership of the ANC may only last a few more weeks.

    "They want the ANC to push them out," Chris Lansberg from University of Johannesburg said.

    "They're throwing bait at the ANC and surprisingly the ANC leadership has so far taken the bait."

    If Mr Lekota, a close ally of former President Thabo Mbeki, is expelled he would be able to argue that it was part of what he called the "elimination of internal democracy within the ANC".

    A congress will now be held within the next month to decide on the way forward but the former defence minister later confirmed to the BBC that it was now "inevitable and unavoidable" that a new party would be formed.

    Thinly veiled

    Mr Lekota says he has been brought to this point by what he called the "arrogance" and the "elimination of internal democracy" within the ANC.

    But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this is more about personalities than principle.

    Mr Lekota's news conference at a radio station in Johannesburg was littered with thinly veiled criticisms of ANC President Jacob Zuma and his supporters.

    Mr Zuma's sings his theme song "Umshini wami" (Bring Me My Machine Gun) at his public appearances.

    Without mentioning the party president by name, Mr Lekota railed against songs that "advocate violence and the use of weapons".

    Julius Malema, the outspoken head of the ANC Youth League, was lambasted for saying he would "kill for Zuma".

    Mr Lekota's statement that: "Tribalism is the most serious danger to our country and to our people" is also seen as a reference to Mr Zuma's supporters, who publicly celebrate his Zulu background.

    The first big question for Mr Lekota is whether he can persuade other senior ANC figures to jump ship and join him.

    'Formidable force'

    Mr Lekota says hundreds of local party supporters had resigned but in order to have credibility, he needs real heavyweights alongside him.

    At last year's Polokwane Congress to elect a new ANC leadership, Mr Mbeki still secured nearly 40% in his losing bid to retain the party presidency.

    If Mr Mbeki was to endorse the new party it could turn a splinter into a real split. But despite his anger at the way the party treated him, the chances of that happening still appear remote.

    "Mr Mbeki won't even consider talking about a split," Essop Pahad, a former minister and one of his closest confidantes, told me in the days after Mr Mbeki's resignation.

    In the country at large, Mr Lekota's new party will look to the Eastern and Western Cape, which heavily backed Mr Mbeki, for popular support.

    But with a general election due in the first half of next year, they will face enormous organisational challenges to be ready by then.

    "I don't think they have sufficient time to set themselves up as a credible consultative organisation," Mr Lansberg said.

    "But this move has the potential to turn South Africa into a two-party dominant state. They could be a formidable force... in 10 years from now."

    This is something that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu believes would be good for South Africa.

    "Democracy flourishes where there is vigorous debate," he said in an interview on Sunday.

    BBC NEWS | Africa | Turning their backs on the ANC
     
  4. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #4
    Oct 11, 2008
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    Turning their backs on the ANC

    By Jonah Fisher
    BBC News, Johannesburg

    Mosiuoa Lekota's news conference had been billed as the launching of a new political party to challenge South Africa's ruling party.

    In the event the man nicknamed "Terror" growled and snarled but stopped short of leaving the African National Congress (ANC).

    But Mr Lekota and his fellow rebels' membership of the ANC may only last a few more weeks.

    "They want the ANC to push them out," Chris Lansberg from University of Johannesburg said.

    "They're throwing bait at the ANC and surprisingly the ANC leadership has so far taken the bait."

    If Mr Lekota, a close ally of former President Thabo Mbeki, is expelled he would be able to argue that it was part of what he called the "elimination of internal democracy within the ANC".

    A congress will now be held within the next month to decide on the way forward but the former defence minister later confirmed to the BBC that it was now "inevitable and unavoidable" that a new party would be formed.

    Thinly veiled

    Mr Lekota says he has been brought to this point by what he called the "arrogance" and the "elimination of internal democracy" within the ANC.

    But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this is more about personalities than principle.


    It is not known if senior ANC figures will join Mr Lekota

    Mr Lekota's news conference at a radio station in Johannesburg was littered with thinly veiled criticisms of ANC President Jacob Zuma and his supporters.

    Mr Zuma's sings his theme song "Umshini wami" (Bring Me My Machine Gun) at his public appearances.

    Without mentioning the party president by name, Mr Lekota railed against songs that "advocate violence and the use of weapons".

    Julius Malema, the outspoken head of the ANC Youth League, was lambasted for saying he would "kill for Zuma".

    Mr Lekota's statement that: "Tribalism is the most serious danger to our country and to our people" is also seen as a reference to Mr Zuma's supporters, who publicly celebrate his Zulu background.

    The first big question for Mr Lekota is whether he can persuade other senior ANC figures to jump ship and join him.

    'Formidable force'

    Mr Lekota says hundreds of local party supporters had resigned but in order to have credibility, he needs real heavyweights alongside him.

    For people like Thabo Mbeki leaving the ANC is like leaving your mother and father

    Former minister Essop Pahad

    At last year's Polokwane Congress to elect a new ANC leadership, Mr Mbeki still secured nearly 40% in his losing bid to retain the party presidency.

    If Mr Mbeki was to endorse the new party it could turn a splinter into a real split. But despite his anger at the way the party treated him, the chances of that happening still appear remote.

    "Mr Mbeki won't even consider talking about a split," Essop Pahad, a former minister and one of his closest confidantes, told me in the days after Mr Mbeki's resignation.

    "For people like Thabo Mbeki leaving the ANC is like leaving your mother and father."

    In the country at large, Mr Lekota's new party will look to the Eastern and Western Cape, which heavily backed Mr Mbeki, for popular support.

    But with a general election due in the first half of next year, they will face enormous organisational challenges to be ready by then.

    "I don't think they have sufficient time to set themselves up as a credible consultative organisation," Mr Lansberg said.

    "But this move has the potential to turn South Africa into a two-party dominant state. They could be a formidable force... in 10 years from now."

    This is something that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu believes would be good for South Africa.

    "Democracy flourishes where there is vigorous debate," he said in an interview on Sunday.
     
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