Political meddling and abuse of power

2008-11-15 00:00

The findings of the Ginwala Commission on the director of public prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli’s fitness to hold office shed more light on how former president Thabo Mbeki abused the power of the presidency and of the cabinet to fulfil his greedy and selfish ends. The little that has been exposed is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Mbeki’s appeal on Judge Chris Nicholson’s judgment was also thrown out and this means a double blow for Mbeki.

It’s almost impossible to speak about the Mbeki era without speaking about the African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma, former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, the HIV/Aids policy and the arms deal.

Pikoli was good to Mbeki when he went after Mbeki’s political enemies, such as Zuma, and their (Mbeki and Pikoli’s) trip and subsequent discussion in Brazil leaves a lot to be desired as it preceded Zuma’s arrest.

Mbeki’s disdain for the party’s alliance was up there with his lack of consultation with party members on major decisions. This is why it did not surprise me when his comrades turned against him.

He ruled ruthlessly with an iron fist, while having a firm grip on power and the state’s institutions.

When Zuma said there was political interference in the cases against him most people looked at him as though he was a mad man. It took a High Court judgment for people to realise how Mbeki used the state’s institutions to have his own way.

If his decision was right in removing Zuma as deputy president following the Schabir Shaik corruption trial, what makes the ANC’s decision to recall him wrong as the one case is a carbon copy of the other?

If Mbeki got it wrong with Zuma, why did he not admit to this? He missed the opportunity to say sorry and say that he got it wrong.

Again in Polokwane at the ANC conference, he got it wrong and missed an opportunity to humble himself and apologise for some of the wrong and ill-informed decisions he made but, in true Mbeki style, he blamed everyone else but himself.

The Selebi affair was the height of Mbeki’s political meddling just like the firing of former deputy Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge showed that Mbeki thought he was the “be-all and end-all”.

It is sad to see someone go, just like it was when former Iraq president Saddam Hussein was ousted. But Mbeki still needs to answer in a court of law about the obstruction of justice allegations in the Selebi affair, among others, if he is a true custodian of the Constitution and the rule of law as he claims.

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