of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) is calling for unity
among the party's rank and file after several members loyal to deposed
President Thabo Mbeki resigned. Some political analysts see Jacob Zuma's unity
call as a last attempt to reconcile the party after visible divisions within
the party threatens to split the party. The ANC also denied a
report that some of its senior officials may push for an early general election
aiming to undermine plans by Mbeki loyalists to form a breakaway group.
Some observers say although
the ANC still enjoys political mileage from its fight against apartheid, some
South Africans have become increasingly frustrated with party power struggles
that have reportedly overshadowed the crucial issues of poverty and crime.
From the capital, Pretoria,
political analyst Somadoda Fikeni tells reporter Peter Clottey that the
splinter group has set up November possibly to come up with a new political
"It was a speech by ANC
President Jacob Zuma where he was trying to reassure people and also trying to
discourage those who want to leave the ANC. But this morning, the ANC also held
a press conference where they were outlining what essentially would be the
process for their preparation for election, but also discouraging people from
leaving. But on the other side, we hear more and more names of leaders of the
provinces and leaders in the region resigning to join the effort of Lekota and
the convention that they are planning for the second of November," Fikeni
He said it would be a
Herculean task to heal the deep rift that is almost certain to divide the
ruling ANC party.
"It seems to be too late now
from the exchange of words and from the fact that people are resigning to join
this party. It doesn't look like there is much room for reconciliation because
some of the leaders have been suspended. They would be facing disciplinary
actions, and I'm sure to pre-empt that, they simply resign," he said.
Fikeni said the possible new
splinter group from the ANC might want to show they are more in tune with the
core values of the ruling party.
"Definitely, how they have
positioned themselves, they claim that it is the current leadership of the ANC
that has deviated from the ANC values and traditions and the master blueprint,
Duetchman, which is the freedom charter. Therefore, I think the battle in the
next election between the breakaway and the existing leadership of the ANC
would be for the custodianship of the ANC history and traditions, and trying to
say who is more authentic. But in terms of policy or ideology, I don't think
they would differ," Fikeni pointed out.
He said the leadership of
the ANC didn't anticipate the ensuing rebellion after President Thabo Mbeki was
forced to resign.
"Certainly this has stunned
the ANC. They never calculated on this when they actually recalled President
Thabo Mbeki that you would have such a widespread rebellion, and as such they
are still seeing more and more people leaving. And I can imagine that some of
the people, who would be left out of the least processes and some of those who
might feel they might not have a future because they supported Mbeki may
actually pre-empt that process by simply leaving the party," he said.
Fikeni said although the ANC
is facing a possible split, it might still win next year's general election.
"So, the ANC is a shaken
party at the moment. But it is still a very strong party that stands to win the
next election. The question is whether they will still maintain their 70 or 69
percent win come next year's elections," Fikeni pointed out.