Ardent supporters of South Africa's
ruling party say they are shocked by former President Thabo Mbeki remarks after
an appeals court ruled that graft charges against the party leader Jacob Zuma
be pursued. Mbeki said he feels vindicated by the court's ruling to reinstate
corruption charges against Zuma, the ruling African National Congress
president. Mbeki adds that the court was right to overrule a judge who
suggested that Mbeki politically interfered in the corruption case. Thabo Mbeki
fired Zuma as South Africa's vice president after Zuma was linked to a corrupt
arms and other misdeeds. But Zuma supporters maintain the graft charges are
politically motivated to thwart the ANC leader's presidential ambitions.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni tells reporter Peter Clottey that Mbeki's
remarks should not be a surprise.
think the statement was expected. You would remember that the judgment of
earlier Judge Nicholson, which had indicated through inference that he (Mbeki)
might have interfered with the case against Jacob Zuma together with his
cabinet ministers was a trigger point for his recall by his party, the African
National Congress. And he (Mbeki) felt aggrieved because he always maintained
even in his appeal for this decision to be reviewed that this was not true.
Something that he revealed in his statement when he was leaving office, but
also the fact that they were never given the chance to prove themselves,"
Fikeni pointed out.
said Monday's judgment lifts a significant burden off Thabo Mbeki's shoulders.
in itself might be a relief for him removing the cloud, which was not tested in
a way according to his claim. So this is in line with his appeal that the
decision be reviewed. So it is to be expected," he said.
said deep suspicion of Thabo Mbeki harbored by Zuma supporters is visible in
accusations leveled against South Africa's former president.
reactions are from the core supporters of Jacob Zuma who feel a bit awkward and
besieged by this particular decision coming only a few days after the ANC had a
very successful launch of its manifesto and 97th anniversary. It is
expected because they first reacted negatively when Thabo Mbeki didn't attend
the ANC 97th anniversary and the launch of the manifesto. But they
also accuse him of a part in assisting of the breakaway group, even though they
have not provided evidence," Fikeni noted.
reiterated that tension and suspicion continues to worsen between supporters of
former President Mbeki and Zuma backers.
is this mutual suspicion and some negative energy between the supporters of
Zuma and Thabo Mbeki," he said.
said Monday's ruling, which clears the way for graft charges to be revived
against Zuma, might possibly put South Africa's presidency into unchartered
waters if the ANC leader is elected in the upcoming general election.
this is such an awkward situation, which might be a nightmare for ANC's
election strategies or even ANC leaders looking beyond the election because if
the matter is not resolved now before the election, it means you would have a
sitting president who would be going to court cases now and again," Fikeni pointed
said Zuma would be undergoing significant stress if elected president while
undergoing trial for graft charges.
with a cloud hanging over his head, this cannot be a comforting news for the
market and for many other international investors who may actually see this as
on potential sign of instability," he said.
said the ruling party would be accused of using its majority to undermine the
country's democratic efforts if it attempts to amend the constitution, which
would make the president immune from prosecution.
the ANC then were to try and have the kind of constitutional amendment that you
had seen in countries such as Italy where Silvio Berlusconi is now immune
as a sitting leader of the country, that in South Africa would draw a negative
reaction because it would be taken as ANC abusing its majority to change the
constitution," Fikeni noted.
has been heavily tipped to become South Africa's next president this year,
although a breakaway faction formed a new political party to challenge the ANC
in the election. Until now, Zuma's popularity has prevailed, that is before
Monday, when a South African appeals court in Bloemfontein ruled that the
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) could revive the graft charges against him.
Monday's ruling clears Mbeki of allegations he
influenced the raising of the graft charges. However, Mbeki maintains that
telling lies for political favors and gains is becoming a practice entrenched
in the society, and he warns it could undermine the cohesion that exists in the
South African public.