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S. Africa's Zuma Asserts Power Lies with ANC, Not President

The head of South Africa's ruling party says power in the country lies with the party, not President Thabo Mbeki.

African National Congress chief Jacob Zuma made the assertion in an interview with Britain's Financial Times newspaper published Thursday.

Zuma said it is the ANC that wins elections and has the power to choose members of the government. He said, "This is the ANC government. It is not the government of its own."

Zuma and President Mbeki have a political rivalry dating back at least to 2005, when Mr. Mbeki dismissed Zuma as South Africa's deputy president.

Zuma defeated Mr. Mbeki in a contest for the ANC's top leadership post late last year. The win put him in a strong position to win next year's presidential election.

But Zuma is also facing trial on 16 charges related to alleged corruption. He told the Financial Times that the charges are politically-motivated. Zuma said, "The fact of the matter is that I am not a crook."