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South Africans Said to Question Opposition Leader Lekota’s Credibility

South Africa's opposition Congress of the People (COPE) is blaming the ruling African National Congress (ANC) for introducing what COPE described as dictatorship into the country's political dynamics ahead of this year's elections. COPE leader Mosioua Lekota said ordinary South African should be given the right to chose who governs them and should not be forced to accept a leader chosen for them. But the ruling ANC say Lekota's criticisms are intended to score cheap political points ahead of upcoming general elections. Aubrey Matshiqi is a political analyst. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Johannesburg some South Africans are questioning Lekota's credibility.

"Lekota is not saying anything he has not said before because right from the beginning when he announced that he was leaving the ANC before the launch of the Congress of the People (COPE), he indicated that one of the things that they wanted to see is the change in the electoral system, Including the direct election of the president of the country, executive mayors and provincial premiers. And therefore this is what he means when he says power must be vested in the people," Matshiqi pointed out.

He said some South Africans remember when Lekota was once heavily against changes in the electoral system, the same changes he is now advocating for.

"There was a time when Terror Lekota as you know was a senior leader of the ANC and a senior member of government. And as leader of the ANC, he was part of a party that was opposed to electoral systems reforms. The question for me is whether voters would believe that he is genuine in calling for electoral systems reform and whether they will believe him when he calls for change. Change based on things that as a former leader of the ANC he was opposed to in the past," he said.

Matshiqi said Lekota should take responsibility for what he is now describing as a dictatorship within the ruling ANC party.

"In the same way it may be true that the ANC maybe a dictatorship, but some will tell you that to the extent that the ANC is a dictatorship, it is partly a dictatorship because of the way he led the ANC when he was the chairman of the ANC. And therefore, to large extent, I think Mosioua Lekota is playing politics and I think the question is whether voters will take him seriously or not. Or whether voters have short memory as to forget the role he played in the ANC's decline," Matshiqi noted.

Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League is accusing South Africa's media of waging what it described as a concerted effort to create a crisis around the personal and private life of President Kgalema Motlanthe after local media reported on a marital affair of the president.

He said the youth wing of the ruling ANC is right expressing its displeasure with the seeming obsession of the personal life of the president.

"There is an obsession with President Kgalema Motlanthe's private life and has taken an inordinate amount of time has been spent to find out whether he is part of a healthy marriage or not when the country is faced with much more challenges that the media should be carrying, bearing in mind that in a few months time we would be having an election," he said.

Matshiqi said there is reason to believe that all is not well in the ruling ANC party ahead of the upcoming general election.

"When you look at the reported attacks on President Kgalema Motlanthe or unhappiness about the role he has been playing since he became the head of state in relation to following up on ANC decisions… several things seem to be happening here and you must remember that what we call the Zuma coalition, the coalition which was responsible for removing Mbeki (former South African president) was united because of the antipathy towards Mbeki. Now, Mbeki is out of the way and new competing or even conflictual interest is coming to the fore as a result of which what we have come to know as the Zuma coalition seems to be fracturing," Matshiqi pointed out.

Lekota's remark comes four days after the launch of his party (COPE) branch in Umhlanga. He said South Africans "must not be told by some youngster that this is the leader we have chosen for you and if you do not vote for him, then 'we will take up arms and kill you'."

He lashed out at the ruling ANC, accusing the party of misrepresenting the true meaning of democracy.

Lekota also advocated for changes in the electoral system, contending that the country's constitution must be implemented as it was initially conceived, adding that ordinary South African's should be granted the power to choose their leader. He described as a lost of freedom of choice in South Africa if the country fails to desist from allowing the people to choose who they want as their leaders.