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South Africa and the Mangaung Cliff

By Udo W. Froese
The African National Congress (ANC) will choose a new leadership at its historic Conference in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) in a few weeks from now. The lessons from the previous conference in Polokwane in the northern Province of Limpopo should be clear and debated in order not to repeat missed opportunities.

It is quite clear that the democrats actually ride the moral high ground in South Africa. When the results were known in Polokwane in December 2007, the democrats had taken the moral high ground.

It is important that the results of the elections would be accepted, as it is important to acknowledge the newly elected leader. In fact, the full conference of the ANC would have to pledge its support of the new leader.

A fine example is the recent elections in the US. When the incumbent won a second term, his opponent, Mitt Romney, pledged his and his party's full support for president Barak Obama. No less is expected from the ANC and all democratic structures that form the political landscape of South Africa. In other words, the ones, who have lost would have to accept their defeat gracefully, bearing the nation's interest at heart.

One of the lessons learnt from Polokwane is that the recalled ANC and country president, Thabo Mbeki, refused to accept the election outcome. It seems wrong to go to an election, finally lose and then dissent to form a new political party in opposition to the 100- year-old ANC.

That shows political bankruptcy and opportunism. The absence of sincere commitment is obvious, as dirty politicking followed. Those opted to occupy the moral low ground.

Will this be the case at Mangaung? Will the ruling ANC elect another leader, or will the incumbent, or his challenger show South Africans the moral high ground? Will the full ANC and the country's leadership pledge to serve under the democratically elected new leader?

Or, will South Africa be exposed to a similar scenario as Polokwane? What would it mean to the average South African to accept the newly elected ANC leader and president of the country and work under him?

It must be of serious concern to every South African, if the ANC loses the forthcoming elections, as strived for by a concerted front of mischievous institutionalised armchair academic analysts, the corporate media, the political opposition and the financiers in the shadows - the old architects of apartheid. Would the looser of those elections accept the outcome? By not having accepted the popular election-outcome of a new leader from Polokwane, recalled, former president Thabo Mbeki lost the opportunity and demonstrated that he is indeed not a democrat.

If the loser does not accept the election-outcome, how will it be addressed? How will the looser, his inner circle and backers deal with it? Will a loosing leader strategise and plot against the democratically elected one? Or, will he accept his defeat?

Mbeki, who had gunned for a third term in office, squandered his opportunity to build his legacy. He did not accept that he had actually lost in Polokwane. In other words, Thabo Mbeki showed his weakness to the general electorate and South Africa at large. Will South Africa see a replay of Polokwane, of Mbeki, of Cope? Or, will the newly elected ANC leadership coming out of Mangaung be accepted and respected?

In a radio-interview with Cope leaders, Mosioua Lekota and Mmululeki George, Prime Media staff forgot to ask the most obvious questions, allowing both Cope leaders to lambast the ANC. - Why split from the ANC after the elections and not before, if they had problems with the movement?

Why was Cope not formed before the ANC conference in Polokwane? The attacks on the ANC after Polokwane therefore, were not based on principles, but rather on opportunism. A desperate case of moral bankruptcy showed its ugly face. Throwing the toys out of the cot by snubbing the incumbent, Thabo Mbeki shows for all to see that he is the weakest, unintellectual link. In fact, it is a worst-case scenario of infantile behaviour.

The all-out propaganda of the rightwing and its hard work at destroying the ruling ANC from within drives to achieve national intimidation of the electorate. This is enforced through national destabilisation. That Machiavellian approach hopes to force the majority of the electorate away from voting for the ANC and, if that fails, from voting all together. Soon South Africans will see who will fall off the Mangaung- Cliff.


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