Some supporters of South Africa's ruling African National
Congress (ANC) party are accusing the former defense minister of selfishness
after he announced formation of a new political party Sunday. Former
defense Mosiuoa Lekota minister reportedly announced a breakaway party would be
launched shortly, which is expected to split the ruling ANC and challenge its
years of dominance in South African politics.
partisans say the move to start a new political party is not
because of former president Thabo Mbeki's recall, claiming the plan had been in
the making since the Polokwane conference that led to the election of ANC
leader Jacob Zuma. They add that dissidents were going to ensure a split in the
party anyway and were simply using Mbeki's recall as an excuse to orchestrate
their long-held ambition.
Some political observes doubt
Lekota can secure enough funding or voters to challenge the ANC's dominance
ahead of next year's general election. is From South Africa's capital,
Pretoria, political science professor Rok Ajulu tells reporter Peter Clottey
that South Africans should expect a new party early next month.
"According to developments
of the last two or three weeks, it was very clear that after the recall of the
former president, his loyalists decided that they were moving out of the party.
There has been speculation that this is not something new that following the
defeat of the president (Thabo Mbeki) in Polokwane that there have been
movements to move out of the party by the group that was defeated at
Polokwane," Ajulu pointed out.
He said the ANC splinter
group is trying to get people excited about a new political party next month.
"There have been attempts to
rally support for the new party. There were meetings in Eastern and Western
Cape as well as meetings in Limpopo and quite clearly there is a determination
on this group of people to move out of the ANC," he said.
Ajulu said it would be
rather difficult to dismiss accusations that the splinter group had plans to
divide the party after the Polokwane conference.
"There is a debate around
that that these people decided that they were going to form a new political
party as early as January as this year. Whether that is true or not remains to
be seen, but quite clearly the argument here is that these people are bad
losers and that they went to contest the election. The former president lost
his bid for the third term, and thereafter they decided they were not going to
remain in the party. So, the argument goes that the recall of Mbeki is an
excuse to launch a new party, but the idea and the arrangements and the
preparations have been there all along," Ajulu noted.
He said there seems to be
proof that the splinter group had other plans after they were defeated at the
last ANC conference in Polokwane, which led to the election of Jacob Zuma as
the party's president.
"There seems to be credible
given the approach and attitude of these people soon after Polokwane that there
was a sense in which a defeat of this group from Polokwane was not broadly
accepted by them. And they were not prepared to be part and parcel of the ANC,
a party to which they were not in control. And the argument goes that senior
members of the ANC have argued that these people are bad losers and that they
were prepared to participate in an election so long as they were winners. And
that if they were not winners, they were not prepared to be part of the ANC and
that is the argument that remains around here," he said.
Ajulu said there are lots of
challenges that the new party would face ahead of next year's general election.
"I quite agree with that and
it is not a question of securing enough funds, but I don't think they would be
in a position to form a party that would credibly challenge the ANC. The first
point is that premises of a new party based on the electoral results in
Polokwane last December, which would be the ANC Zuma faction at 60 percent and
Mbeki faction at 40 percent. The calculation seems to be that they already have
40 percent of the ANC, I think that it is a flawed calculation because if you
have 40 percent who voted for Mbeki who are ANC members, if you are asking them
to move to another party is a different ball game," Ajulu pointed out.