South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party is coming
under intense criticism after suggesting that next year's general elections
should be held either early in March or later in May. But the new Congress of
the People party (COPE), which was formed after breaking away from the ANC,
says the move is intended to outmaneuver the opposition. COPE says it intends
to officially launch as a political party on December 16. Since South Africa's
first free vote after apartheid in 1994, general elections have always been
held in April. COPE says the new dates would not allow ample time for the party
to adequately prepare for the election. Rok Ajulu is a professor of international relations in South Africa. He tells
reporter Peter Clottey that he does not see any sinister move on the part of
the ruling ANC.
date has already provoked yet another round of ANC bashing by the press here.
The suggestion has been made in many quarters that the ANC'S call for early
election is to outmaneuver the splinter group led by (Mosiuoa Terror) Lekota or
COPE as they call themselves," Ajulu noted.
described the criticism leveled against the ruling ANC as unfortunate.
think this is just a bit of politicking and the tradition of prejudices against
the ANC. The election was supposed to be in April or around that time, and as
you know any government can call elections either earlier or a little bit
later, and that is the normal practice all over democracies. So, my
understanding is that the ANC has suggested the date of 25th of
March, which is five days from April and from the electoral commission, those
two days are holidays so it sounded very convenient. But I cannot understand
what a 25 Mach election instead of April five elections could be deliberately
construed as outmaneuvering your opponent. I think that is just politicking,"
said the date being proposed by the ANC would not hamper any of the parties
that would participate in next year's general election.
question can also be out when in April should the election be held? Let's assume that the election would be held
on the second or third or fourth of April that would only be a difference of
nice days. If you are going to an election in nine days and you are not ready,
then you must as well not take part in the election. So, I don't think there is
any credence to those stories," Ajulu said.
said the proposed election date is not an election, as some opposition parties
contention that the ANC calling for an early election would not be advantageous
to the other parties is false. In fact it is not an election because if the ANC
were calling for an election in December then we would probably understand what
their accusations are that the ANC did that to outmaneuver the opponent. But if
the election is supposed to be in April and what is being suggested by the ANC
is a few days on a holiday, I don't think any advantages that would be gained
from having an election eight days earlier," he said.
described the accusation from the ANC splinter group as baseless.
are senseless and meaningless and mere politicking. If they knew very well that
the election would be held in April if I were them I would have had my launch
last month. If they know the election was in April, why did they want to wait
till December 16th to make their launch? And as I keep saying, what
is the deference between the 25th March and second April? What is
the difference? The difference in only five or six days, and how can that be
seriously construed as a move to outmaneuver them (opposition)," Ajulu said.
the ANC is expected to launch its election
manifesto next month as the party gears up for polls that could elect
party leader Jacob Zuma as the country's next