Tuesday, September 23, 2008
By Chansa Kabwela
Tuesday September 23, 2008 [04:00]
THE African National Congress (ANC) has circumvented the country's constitution by asking South African President Thabo Mbeki to resign, political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki has said.
Commenting on the South African President's resignation following calls from the ANC and the subsequent naming of party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe as head of state until elections are held in seven months' time, Moeletsi Mbeki, who is deputy chairman of South African Institute of International Affairs, yesterday said the ruling party's decision was a circumvention of the national constitution because the President was elected by the people.
Mbeki said President Thabo Mbeki was a head of state and that he was supposed to resign on Parliament's orders and not the ANC.
"The ruling party which he President Mbeki belongs to, the ANC, had requested him or recalled him. They didn't actually spell out why. They just said for the sake of the unity of the country.
There has been an ongoing court battle by Jacob Zuma, trying to prove that there are conspiracies against him, which are created by Thabo Mbeki. They decided to get him to resign as President of the country," Mbeki said.
I think this is an unfortunate outcome of the internal struggle within the ANC because Thabo Mbeki is the head of state of South Africa and he is elected by Parliament. He is not elected by the party to be head of state. So if he resigns as head of state, he should resign because Parliament asked him to resign not because his party asked him to resign.
"There is a circumvention of the constitution by his own party, which in my view does not hold well for the future of the country."
Mbeki said there were provisions in the South African constitution which the ANC could have used to remove the President from office.
He said the party had taken a downward spiral, which would definitely affect investor confidence in the country.
"According to our constitution, the way you remove a President is to impeach him. Parliament outlines the charge against him and he defends himself. Now this has not happened.
The party hasn't charged him, he hasn't defended himself but they just said he must resign," said Mbeki. "That is a very dangerous precedent for South Africa.
"Up to now, the ANC has been a party of stability to South Africa. From now on, the ANC is becoming a party that generates political instability in the country. So obviously the confidence in the ANC itself and in the country from an investor point of view is going to decline quite significantly.
"If the governing party becomes a source of instability, obviously the fortunes of the ANC are going to decline if that is how the electorate perceive them. So my sense is that the ANC is entering a downward spiral. Now how long it will take to reach what happened to UNIP when it got voted out, I don't know. The electorate are going to start looking for a party of stability."
President Mbeki on Sunday evening announced his resignation following calls from the ANC after suggestions by Pietermaritzburg High Court judge Chris Nicholson that his government had interfered in a corruption prosecution against party president Jacob Zuma, which was thrown out of court over a week ago.
On Monday, the ANC named Motlanthe as head of state until elections are held.
Motlanthe was elected party deputy president at the ANC conference in December last year, when Zuma defeated Mbeki from his position as party leader.
Monthlanthe was recently appointed to Parliament as minister in the presidency to ensure the smooth transition from one administration to another.
According to the South African constitution, Parliament elects the president from among its members.