A Political Biography of Kgalema Motlanthe

2012-10-05 13:37

We are on the eve of the publishing and launching of the book under the title Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography by Ebrahim Harvey. The book is published by Jacana Media and will be launched at Wits University on Thursday, 11 October 2012. The book’s launch is significant as now we are in the middle of October – the month that marks the opening of the nomination of new leadership for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) more so as Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe seems to be available for nomination to the gallant position of ANC President.

The Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography  I guess has been published as an effort to allow the public to study the life Kgalema Motlanthe. To most people Kgalema Motlanthe is still a mystery and it seems he prefers to be that way – even the book is not much of a revelation into his personality but his role as a leader of the ANC. That is where the book stops. It studies the ANC and allows the reader into Motlanthe’s observation and personal philosophical views about the great political liberation movement he served the rest of his life where he even spent 10 years at Robben Island.

In essence in very honest critical reflections the book considers the current ANC as a fossilized political dinosaur that needs to adapt and reform in the light of changing realities. There is a cry for modernity and a lament of archaic thinking within the current ANC

ANC needs to remove its jackboots in favor of nibble dashing shoes - fresh ideas and thinking. It needs and infusion of youth. For this fact the book laments the constraining of ideas where ideas are bottled up within the structures. This culture of bottling of ideas and suggestions within needs to be dealt with. New ideas need to be celebrated and appreciated. The current mood of the ANC is that it is steeped in historical fact. This was clearly seen when the ANC celebrated its 100 years of existence. Instead of focusing on the way forward all the Presidential lectures were rooted in history with no pointers of adaptation on how that history has bearing to the current challenges of the ANC is a governing party not just liberation movement. In fact the book suggests that there is clearly lack of innovation on how to use the great history of the ANC to build a formidable governing organization.

The message in the book rings clear and loud that things should not be left in the way they are – there is need for change, adaptation and innovation. ANC needs to move on. ANC needs to adapt.

The book is a future search – a search for new vision, a search for commitment, a search for new crop of forward looking leaders otherwise the glorious organization will fossil out.

In a great way the book also bring to light the role and position of the ANC Youth League within the context of the larger ANC. The ANC Youth League has throughout history brought new ideas and new thinking within the ranks of the ANC but this culture has been recently quashed as the President of the ANC Youth League Julius Malema was subjected to a lengthy disciplinary case that led to him being suspended and later expelled completely. “That was wrong”! – The book shouts to the skies. The book complains greatly about the expulsion and suggests that things could have been handled differently not in a jackbooting fossilized and crude manner.

All in all  Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography  is helpful in understanding the confusion and frustration Motlanthe has with the current ANC leadership. If you had listened to Kgalema Motlanthe while he was addressing the ANC Limpopo provincial elective conference early this year, where Cassel Mathale was re-elected as ANC Chairperson in Limpopo the book is on similar lines. It is an expansion of what he said there in Limpopo. During that elective conference Motlanthe said:  "Stealing away the voice of members through slates, buying of votes and treating the ordinary membership as voting fodder...serves no other purpose than to corrupt the organisation."

Motlanthe is complaining about "this demon" that seems to destabilize, demoralize and emasculate the ANC of all its historical achievements.

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