And very often, I have dismissed such insinuations and suspicions as false and somewhat untrue and ill-informed to a great extend. Besides, there’s nothing wrong in engaging in political events and activities taking place around the country, the continent and the world we live in, or is there?
In a letter addressed to South African former president Thabo Mbeki which appeared in Politicsweb , a former African National Congress Youth League Fikile Mbalula - whom I’ve most of the time thought of not having his mind right and to be ill-informed and ill-mannered in some of the statements made during his term - accused the former of “actions of conniving, manipulating people and advancing politics of patronage”.
Despite the fact that you were a democratically elected president, wrote Mbalula, you chose to run both the organization and the country with a cabal which sought to commandeer everyone along your thinking and vision, which at times ran contrary to what the ANC stood for.
Mbalula continued to accuse Mbeki of failing to defend the unity and integrity of the ANC which was central to the former president of the country Nelson Mandela’s message - to defend its unity and integrity as committed disciples of change - and should have been a beacon in his leadership of the ANC.
“Mandela handed you a vibrant and united ANC, yet at the twilight of your Presidency, you chose to betray everything that Mandela and those that came before him stood for, struggled for, and laid down their lives for. In a moment of intoxication with power, you forgot Madiba’s wise counsel and allowed our glorious movement to stumble on the edge of an abyss”.
What is disturbing about these accusations - not to say allegations against Mbeki are true or not, or that Mbalula’s gross, malicious and ill-informed allegations are correct or not - is that “whatever” power that were vested in the ANC as the ruling party by the electorate were instead diverted to Mbeki as president of the ANC and the country for reasons only known to Mbalula, it seems, and could not therefore be held accountable by the same organization nor the electorate themselves which “democratically elected [him, Mbeki as] president”.
This because instead of asking explanation from Mbeki while president at the time on these allegations, Mbalula and whoever may be on the same page with him - of accusing Mbeki of divisions within the ruling party, and whatever nasty events may have surfaced after his recall as president of the ANC and the country, which vested all the power in him - brings these at a time when Mbeki seems helpless and quite meek when it actually failed to discipline him at the time when he was still president of the country and of the ANC.
Therefore, it will suffice to say, not only will have Mbeki failed as president of the country and the ANC, but the organization he was a president to will have too failed because no disciplinary actions were levelled against him which will have prompted the same organization to bring forward concrete evidence which after consultation and thorough consideration will have rendered Mbeki grossly/slightly guilty for such allegations or not, as suggested and accused by Mbalula.
Furthermore, Mbalula will also be guilty for whatever allegations he’s levelling against Mbeki. This is because as member of the ruling party which Mbeki was a president to and a member of, he himself failed to initiate disciplinary actions to the ANC Disciplinary Committee against Mbeki.
As a result, accordingly, not is or will Mbeki alone be guilty (for allegations which maybe have to be proved valid in a court of law and not through political conspiracy suspicions as it seems to be the norm on the present days) but the entire ANC and all its members for failing to take such disciplinary actions against him when it deemed necessary, valid and authentic will also be guilty.
And it can not be disputed that Mbeki as leader of the ANC or any organization, if these allegations could be proved true, should and could have been held accountable by both the ANC which he should and was expected to report back to at the time and later to the citizens.
As a result, because Mbeki failed in his capacity as president of the country in whatever he may have not succeeded in, the entire ANC will have therefore failed the citizens.
This, I think, because as president or a leader of an organization one does not receive advice and input externally, but most especially internally from within the structure of the organization one leads. And whoever was an adviser to the leader or Mbeki in this case, who is also assumed to be a member of the ANC or that particular organization too failed the ANC and the country, and not just Mbeki alone for his/her misinformation and ill-advice to the president.
Most importantly, this is not an attempt as it may be seen by some quarters, to defend mistakes that could have been make by the president at that time, but an acknowledgement that: yes, Mbeki made mistakes, some negligently, but so did the ANC and the citizens he leads.
Therefore, now that we’ve acknowledged that, what should be the way forward is the questions all South Africans and the likes of Mbalula and the current leadership of the ANC should be trying to answer and come up with constructive and not backward solutions.
It will be questions such as these that will take South Africa and its people forward and not back to a time when Mbeki or Mandela was still president of the this country. What, as citizens, can only be learned from their leadership and presidency is what could be changed for the better and improved on in taking us forward.
In allegations levelled against Mbeki in his letter, Mbalula made startling allegations among others that:
He appointed now former SA deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as a reward to the loyalty of Ngcukas.
Question 1: Why, if you thought the appointment was a reward, as member of the ANC then and still are, what efforts have you made to raise this matter internally and if it did warrant investigations?
He protected Jackie Selebi, the National Police Commissioner and did not hesitate to suspend Vusi Pikoli, the National Director of Public Prosecutions when he sought to arrest Selebi, for reasons only known to himself.
Questions 2: Why, - if deemed Pikoli’s suspension by Mbeki then uncalled for - did you and the ANC agree with the interim president Kgalema Motlanthe’s decision for the dismissal of Pikoli as NDPP after the Commission of Enquiry report chaired by Frene Ginwala on his fitness to hold such an office? This, despite an attempt by Pikoli before the AD Hoc Committee that he was sidelined by Mbeki for refusing orders to lay off Selebi and accusing the former president of undermining the independence of the NPA?
He flatly refused to campaign for the ANC, despite his assertion that he remain a loyal member of the ANC, and demanded that a letter be written him in this regard. Mbalula further said it was the first time ever that a cadre of the ANC asked to be written a letter in order for the them to campaign for the ANC. Not even Mandela ever made such a demand on the ANC. And that such practice is foreign to the tried and tested traditions of the ANC and can be best described as anti-ANC, wrote Mbalula.
Question 3: The ANC, when recalling Mbeki as president at the time, indicated that it had lost trust in him as president of the country and ANC itself, for he was alleged to have politically interfered in Zuma’s corruption case, hence his recall as president afterwards. Therefore, what could have lead to a change of heart when the ANC thought it okay for him to campaign for the organization, and if it thought a person could be trusted by the electorate he should be attracting through or by campaigning for the same ANC?
More absurdly, Mbalula confirms to have found Mbeki’s “reaction to the release of the Ngcuka/McCarthy transcript” as “instructive” and his, “…how the tapes come to be in the possession of the ANC President’s lawyers” as questionable.
Question 4: Isn’t everyone asking the same question - that how actually did Zuma’s lawyers get hold such tapes; whether such tapes were acquired/obtained legally through a Court order; whether, since such tapes are already in the public domain especially its contents if not tempered with by the NPA or Zuma’s legal team, cannot be put on the NPA’s web site as Podcast for all citizens and parties involved to make independent and informed decisions themselves, and not as perceived by the NPA as South Africans should not trust anyone and must not dare try because any information can be tempered with to suit either of the parties?
“While the movement may take collective responsibility for the actions of our government as a ruling party [which it must, my own words], however, my heart bleeds that the relationship of trust the ANC conferred on you in Mafikeng was broken [yet you want him to campaign for the ANC, makes any sense at all?]” wrote Mbalula.
However, it would be advisable that Mbalula read carefully the To Polokwane and back: Reflections on the 52nd National Conference by Kgolane Phala, an ANC member and SACP provincial executive committee in Limpopo when he writes that “the divisions within the ANC that appeared in Polokwane [and after Polokwane] are indicative of broader problems faced by a liberation movement in power” [which Mbalula in this case fails to comprehend, or at least try to].
Quoting Mail&Guardian, South Africa’s weekly influential newspaper Phala writes that "individuals come and go, but principles of the ANC will always be there’. It should not be about individuals, which is our main problem now [or is it Mbalula’s problem only of Mbeki‘s failure and everything about him?], but about what Oliver Tambo, Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela stood for”.
As for Mbalula, just as Phala quoted Jacob Zuma in his closing address at the Polokwane conference in 2007, “the leadership [the incoming administration especially] must deal with the accumulated weakness of the organization [many of which may have surfaced during and after Mbeki’s term as president at the time, and move on!]”.
Mbalula not in this together
The interim president of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe at the time of writing, was reported by Sunday Times' print edition of 19 April 2009 on his dissatisfaction with Mbalula’s letter to Mbeki and described the tendency of ANC members - of addressing other members through letters - as unacceptable and his intention to meet Mbalula to explain its contents and intentions.
In response, Mbalula said Motlanthe should first take steps of this conduct with Mbeki as he first wrote a letter addressed to the ANC president in which he advised members (especially those seen as supporters of Zuma) of the ANC to stop abusing his name and the ‘cult of personality” in the organization. It was in the same letter that Mbeki expressed concern when he was recalled as president of South Africa because the ANC had lost faith in him yet wanted him to campaign for the organization during the 2009 general elections.
Despite Mbeki having written the letter, there is no way in the letter, if memory serves me well, that Mbeki accused anyone especially Zuma for the divisions within the party as he is by Mbalula and nor does it make his letter valid or justifiable in any imaginable manner.
Too, Mbalula’s blatant accusation to Mbeki whether valid or not, is quite unacceptable especially from a high profile position which Mbalula occupies within the ruling party.
Therefore, in concluding, for Mbalula this must not be about an individual - Mbeki to be precise or the mess he may have left (all by himself and on his own? Please!) for the incoming [or Zuma] administration - but this should be about what good and bad has and could be learned from the previous administration in moving forward and stop blaming others for the mistakes we have committed as a collective the ruling party claims to be, directly or not.
Lastly, we must stop judging others and their failures as we can never be sure who will judge us let alone know how such methods of judgements will be applied on our success, or lack thereof.