Political whirlwind

This week has been a strange week for me, so much has been happening in the crazy and wonderful world of politics. I could not decide on once specific topic to write about this week. So much has been happening both here at home and in the US.

One thing that did catch my eye though was Special Assignment last nigh. They received footage of terminally ill inmates at Moderbee prison in Gauteng. The question that was posed in the programme was weather sick inmates should be granted medical parole or not. The Department of Correctional Services has been under pressure and do not want be appear lenient of offenders. I suppose it’s a double edged sward. On one hand the families of the inmates want to take care of their dying relatives in their last days. But I would imagine that the families of the victims of crime would want the perpetrators to serve their full sentences regardless. I think the humane thing is to let them die at home but then again I have not been a victim of violent crimes.

The prospects of and ANC split appear to be be gaining momentum as Lekota manages to round up mass support in the Eastern Cape, one of Zuma’s strong holds. The ANC has sent out a strong waring to its members that they will be disciplined if they are found mobilising for the opposition. The party says they are ‘disgusted’ by the level of political intolerance shown by members who were burning the ANC flag in the Free State. Party members have the rightt to choose which party they want to support. As long as no violent protests ensue I think that keeping the ANC on its toes will do the country a world of good if and when they win the 2009 elections.

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When Terror strikes

The South African flag represents a new democracy

The South African flag represents a new democracy

It has been a dramatic couple off weeks filled with death treats and hijackings but former defense minister, Mosiuoa ‘Terror’ Lekota says he is prepared to die to protect the country’s democracy. Now correct me if I’m wrong but this sounds frighteningly similar to Malema’s statement about taking up arms for Zuma.

Granted the ANC has been shaken up by Lekota’s boisterous attitude about forming a splinter party, but where does all this talk of violence come from. Have we not reached a point where political disagreements can be settled amicably without inciting violence.

Malema spoke of being willing to kill for Zuma and now Lekota says he is willing to die for democracy. The eminent split looked as though it was going to happen without any major hiccups, but the pulling and tugging between the ANC and Lekota is getting dirtier by the second.

The National Intelligence Agency has been commissioned by the ANC to conduct a surveillance operation to spy on high-profile ANC members who also plan to join Lekota’s cause. I am all for the formation of a new party, but I strongly oppose the way in which Lekota is going about it.

Where to from here?

So it looks like it has finally happened, there have been speculations about the possibility of a break-away party for weeks now. Former defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota announced that a conference of some sort would be formed where the next step will be determined.

The ANC of today is not nearly the same as the ANC of yesteryear. The ANC of Luthuli, Thambo, Sisulu and Mandela espoused the ideas of liberation from the shackles of the apartheid regime. The ANC of today is run by power hungry degenerates such as Julius Malema who was quoted as saying the ANCYL was prepared to kill if Zuma’s corruption charges were not dropped.

A statement such as this and the behaviour that was displayed at the Polokwane conference last year, where bottles were hurled at the ANCYL’s rivals indicates the type of governance the new ANC is introducing. With that said, a splinter party is the next best step. Lekota has been accused of being a counter revolutionary and for being a Mbeki supporter. He has also been praised for taking this step in order to ensure that democracy functions to its full potential.

Yes I agree that a new party will not be a political force, the new party will most probably not offer any alternative policies. The reason I am behind the new party is because the new leadership in the ANC has become arrogant and corrupted by power. History has shown that break-away parties from the ANC have never succeeded. The PAC formed by Robert Sobukwe is such a party and more recently the UDM formed by Bantu Holomisa. Even with these odds I say two thumbs up for a splinter party.

If Tutu won’t vote, who will?

Old ANC election campaign posters

Old ANC election campaign posters

I was walking past the newspaper stand at Pick n Pay yesterday to garner my weekly Sunday news papers. On the front page of the Sunday Times was the headline, ‘Tutu: Why I won’t vote’. I picked it up and attempted to glance at the article while I did the rest of my groceries. When I got home, I read the article and my initial reaction was, ‘yes I’m with you all the way’, but as I read on I realised how damaging this statement could be.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s argument is well grounded; he says he will not vote unless the rift within the ANC is mended, he goes on to say that Jacob Zuma should not accept office as president with allegations of corruption looming over his head. Tutu is regarded as one of the most respected elders in South Africa, although he makes a good argument his open refusal to vote could promote apathy among eligible voters.

As a prominent figure in South Africa, he should be encouraging citizens to cast their votes in the 2009 election in order for there to be a strong opposition to the ANC. If he won’t vote then who will? Voting is not just about casting ones vote for their party of choice, it’s about making sure that the country continues to function as a democratic state.

Since Thabo Mbeki’s resignation, along with several other high profile cabinet members, there has been talk of a splinter party being formed. I for one embrace the idea; the ANC does need a stronger opposition than the DA provides. The prospect of a splinter party is interesting and the idea seems to be gaining momentum. Lets see how this one plays out.

Like dominoes, they all come tumbling down

After former president Thabo Mbeki’s resignation, the ANC was confident that there would be no more resignations from cabinet members, but boy oh boy were they wrong. The top brass, the cream of the crop from the ANC came crashing down like dominos one-by-one as they resigned.

The nation waited with bated breath wondering if any other cabinet members would follow in Mbeki’s foot steps. Even with all the resignations the new kids on the block, Jacob Zuma and newly appointed President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe say that things will return to normal.

The most bewildering resignation for me personally is Trevor Manuel’s. He has been Minister of Finance since Nelson Mandela’s presidency, making him the longest standing minister since democracy in 1994. If he does not seem to be confident in the new leadership, then God help us all.

I was reading comments readers of the Mail and Guardian Online had made about the resignation of the 11 ministers. Some made some profound statements and some were disheartened and said they are moving to another country. As for me I’ve decided that I am going to register to vote in the 2009 elections so I can keep my options open.

The end of an era

On Sunday night I watched in amazement as former President Thabo Mbeki addressed the nation for the last time as the president of South Africa live on SABC 3. To regard him as the former president is a hard and bitter pill to swallow. Regardless of his mistakes during his presidency (and there were many) Mbeki was a good president.

Reports in the Mail and Guardia have said that “the move threatens to shatter the foundations of the country’s post-apartheid political landscape, which has been dominated by the ANC since the end of white minority rule in 1994.”

Reports  also say that Mbeki supporters may split form the ANC and “contest elections as a breakaway party in 2009, the Sunday Times said.”

I am an ANC supporter first and a Mbeki supporter second and I find myself not knowing whether to vote in the upcoming elections or to abstain all together. As a responsible South African citizen I know I have to vote regardless of which party I vote for in order to make this democracy work.

The question I ask myself is do I really want Jacob Zuma as my president. One of the great things that Mbeki has done during his presidency is put South African on the international stage as a credible player. I find myself not having the confidence that Zuma will be able to do the same and supersede what Mbeki has already done.

Mbeki’s resignation from the highest office in the land shows the maturity of our young democracy. African leaders have been known to overstay their welcome as state presidents, Robert Mugabe being one such example. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that this will be a smooth transition.