Max du Preez

Confronting leadership

2008-12-03 08:45

Max du Preez

The present fluidity in our politics gives us voters the ideal opportunity to call our politicians' bluff.

We should start by confronting the new leadership of the ruling ANC with the promises they made when they were campaigning against Thabo Mbeki.

Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, who are now dominant in the ANC, ran a strong campaign against Mbeki's role in Zimbabwe. They expressed their solidarity with the people of that country and launched vicious attacks on Robert Mugabe, calling for his swift removal.

The SACP and Cosatu now call the shots in government. The man they threatened to kill for, is now the president of the ruling party. The president of the country is beholden to them.

Kgalema Motlanthe replaced Mbeki as president more than two months ago. Since then matters in Zimbabwe had deteriorated significantly: more than 600 (some say more than 1 000) people died of cholera; more young children's physical and mental development is now compromised because of a lack of proper food; education has ground to a halt in many areas; and soldiers have started looting businesses and are clashing with police in the streets.

Decisive

Why is the new ANC leadership not doing anything decisive to end the crisis? All we know is that Motlanthe has "urged" Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to "implement the power-sharing deal" they agreed to earlier.

Does the ANC even remember that the MDC had won the presidential and parliamentary elections early this year? Why then the pressure on it to blindly implement an accord that would give almost all significant cabinet portfolios to Zanu-PF, including the military, and would force the two parties to "share" responsibility over the police?

Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania are all sick of the region's pampering of Mugabe. If South Africa stood up tomorrow with a firm, quick exit strategy for Mugabe and his top generals, we could have a government of national unity in Harare by early 2009.

Let's face it: every day we do nothing in Zimbabwe, more irreparable damage is done to human beings.

Sadly, there seems to be a serious lack of political will in Luthuli House. They are little better than Thabo Mbeki himself.

Trust

But let's not confine ourselves to the ANC when we call politicians' bluff. For instance, we can now ask the former minister of Defence and his deputy who are playing holier-than-thou now that they have their own party, Terror Lekota and Mluleki George, why they helped to block a proper judicial investigation into the arms procurement deal years ago.

As Defence Ministry insiders they must know something about who took what kind of kickbacks from whom. Will they now tell us, please?

For as long as we don't have a proper, independent commission of enquiry into the arms scandal, we will not be able to trust the politicians of the ANC and Cope. We should force them to say categorically whether they are for or against such an enquiry.

We as voters have a wonderful opportunity between now and the general election next year to squeeze answers out of our politicians and to embarrass them into speaking something resembling the truth.

After that, we're stuck for five years and our strongest manifestation of democracy will be our newspapers and independent radio and television.

Send your comments to Max.

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