Ping: SA govt, media ‘liars’

2012-07-11 09:11

African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Jean Ping has accused the South African government and the country’s media of circulating “mendacious allegations” and lying about him.

Ping accused the South African government of impeding the Economic Community of West African States’ efforts to solve the Cote d’Ivoire crisis after that country’s 2010 election deadlock between its former leader Laurent Gbagbo and current president Alassane Ouattara.

“The same government (South Africa) voted in favour of (United Nations Security Council) resolution 1973 that authorised the bombing of Libya,” Ping said in a statement.

He said the South African media first claimed he had told the country he was not seeking re-election and that his country, Gabon, did not support him.

Ping insisted that the majority of the continental body’s member states wanted him to be re-elected this weekend.

“Attempts have also been made to tarnish my image and sow seeds of discord between me and my government, as well as other member states that support me by spreading rumours that I’ve been behind the destabilisation of some states,” Ping said.

Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faces Ping for the second time at this weekend’s AU summit. Both Dlamini-Zuma and Ping could not garner the required two-thirds majority in January.

Ping said he was the candidate of Africa and his country Gabon, whose president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, gave him an aircraft to fly around the continent campaigning.

The former Gabon foreign affairs minister hit out at the South African media for what he called “fabrications, malicious lies and innuendos”, claiming this was part of a strategy to tarnish his hard-earned reputation and destabilise his campaign.

Ping is expected to address the media on his re-election bid tomorrow.

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