Mbeki denies Zuma ‘plot’

2007-11-30 00:00

President Thabo Mbeki has hit out at critics who have accused him of attacking ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma ahead of the crucial elective conference later this month at Polokwane.

Writing in his weekly “Letter from the President”, Mbeki defended recent comments he has made, saying critics have responded “perversely” by denouncing his restatements of basic ANC positions as constituting an attack on Zuma.

Citing examples, Mbeki said: “Some time ago, I said that ANC policy on the emancipation of women and gender equality means that our movement would have absolutely no problem in electing a woman as president of the ANC. Some … denounced this as an attempt to deny Jacob Zuma the possibility to serve as president of the ANC!

“More recently, the chairperson of the ANC, Mosiuoa ‘Terror’ Lekota, denounced the use of tribalism by anybody within our movement to advance any objective whatsoever. Again this was condemned as yet another attempt to thwart the presidential hopes of Jacob Zuma!

“Mosiuoa Lekota then said that our liberation songs have always served as a critical component … to mobilise the masses … Accordingly, our repertoire of liberation songs has always changed with our changing conditions and tasks.

“He therefore argued that there are songs that were relevant to the stage of the armed struggle, but which are counter-productive in the context of the current phase of the National Democratic Revolution. Once again, this was denounced as an attack on Jacob Zuma … ”

Mbeki said an address he made last month to the weekly caucus meeting of the national ANC MPs, during which he said MPs should fight a “cancer” that was beginning to establish itself in the ranks of the ANC, was also interpreted as an attack on Zuma.

At that meeting he told MPs that developments in the ANC opened the way for mercenary elements to join the movement as a stepping stone to state power.

“I would like to state a few fundamental truths that the ANC will … uphold at all times … ,” Mbeki said.

“One of these is that the ANC is committed to the emancipation of women and gender equality. It has absolutely no problem with the proposition that a woman should serve as president of the ANC and/or president of our Republic. No genuine member of the ANC is or can be opposed to this.

“Another is that from its foundation in 1912, the anc has been opposed to tribalism … no genuine member of the anc is or can be opposed to this.

“Yet another is that the ANC is and has always been opposed to populism. … No genuine member of the ANC is or can be opposed to this.

“Another is that our movement will strive constantly to combat and rid itself of opportunist elements who have wormed themselves into its ranks, seeking to use the ANC as a stepladder to state power, with the intention to use this power for self-enrichment. No genuine member of the ANC is or can be opposed to this,” he said.

Mbeki said the critics who are denouncing his comments as attacks on Zuma imply that Zuma is opposed to the emancipation of women, accepts the use of tribalism, that he is not opposed to unprincipled populism, and that he is ready to tolerate opportunists.

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