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Mbeki Could Tackle Zuma Head-On in 2007 Anc Poll

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  • pbs@iafrica.com
    From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org [Here we see how Mbeki and Zuma could be challenging each other for the soul of the ANC in 2007 as the President of the ANC itself.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2005
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      From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org
      [Here we see how Mbeki and Zuma could be challenging each other for the
      soul of the ANC in 2007 as the President of the ANC itself. Currently,
      Zuma is the Vice President of the ANC as well. But there has been a lot
      of talk about Zuma becoming the President of the ANC in 2007. So now it
      appears, we will be seeing a struggle inside the ANC itself between Zuma
      and Mbeki. Interestingly enough, Zuma looks like he might be the front
      runner. Jan]

      PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki says he will consider staying on as African
      National Congress (ANC) leader after 2007, potentially pitting himself
      against Jacob Zuma in the race for the party's presidency.

      Mbeki said yesterday he might think about again running for ANC president
      when the party holds its national conference in 2007, where the party
      will choose new leaders.

      This is the first time Mbeki has publicly made known his willingness to
      serve a third term as ANC president.

      His comments came at the end of a tumultuous national general council
      (NGC) meeting in Pretoria at which delegates gave Zuma a new lease of
      political life.

      The party's constitution places no limit on the number of terms its
      president may serve, in contrast to the South African constitution.

      But the only people who have so far spoken about the possibility of Mbeki
      staying on as ANC leader have been Mbeki supporters such as KwaZulu-Natal
      premier S'bu Ndebele.

      However, Mbeki insisted last night that he would step down as SA's
      president when his term ends in 2009.

      Speaking during an interview with the SABC after the end of the NGC,
      Mbeki said: "We don't want the professionalisation of power ... where I'm
      president for 50 years -- that's out of order."

      He said his decision to stay on as ANC president in 2007 would depend on
      the "comfort levels" of ANC members and his availability for the job at
      the time.

      If Mbeki decided to run for ANC president in 2007 and assuming that Zuma
      was acquitted in his corruption trial, the two men would likely find
      themselves up against each other for the post.

      Zuma is bidding for the post and his backers in the ANC Youth League and
      the ANC's trade union and communist allies have tended to regard Zuma as
      automatic frontrunner to succeed Mbeki as both ANC and South African
      president. However, this would change if Zuma were running against Mbeki
      for the top party post. There is no guarantee that a Zuma challenge
      against Mbeki would succeed.

      In the event that Mbeki remained ANC president and Zuma became
      heir-apparent after 2007 as head of state, this could result in two
      centres of political power in the land, something that has caused the ANC
      headaches in the past, especially in the provinces.

      As ANC president, Mbeki would be in a stronger position to influence the
      choice of his successor and his presence in the party would make a Zuma
      presidential bid difficult.

      Asked if he had a view on the party succession issue, Mbeki said: "I do
      have a very firm view. The ANC should not deal with this matter ahead of
      2007. It's completely unnecessary. It would be exceedingly unwise and I
      would most certainly discourage it very firmly."

      Asked whether he should be grooming a successor, Mbeki said the ANC had
      never "groomed" anyone for the presidency.

      "I don't think we should groom anybody. When the time comes, people will
      say 'we trust this one to succeed'," he said.

      "We don't want to divert the ANC from its normal business, two-and-a-half
      years away from national conference."

      Mbeki's comments came after delegates to the council meeting rejected
      Zuma's "request" to be relieved of party duties pending the outcome of
      his trial.

      The party's national working committee had asked delegates to endorse the

      Mbeki also dismissed suggestions the ANC's alliance with the Congress of
      South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party
      (SACP) would break up. "It isn't going to fall apart. I do not see
      circumstances in which it could �-oe I'm quite certain that workers would
      say the one party that can address their challenges is the ANC."

      He said, however, that tension would remain a feature of the alliance.
      "The ANC, as a ruling party, may very well sympathise with worker
      concerns, but what about the rest of society? We all have different tasks
      and different mandates. It's not the responsibility of Cosatu to find out
      what business is saying."

      Cosatu and the SACP are firm backers of Zuma and believe a Zuma
      presidency would be better disposed towards their concerns.

      Meanwhile, Cosatu and the SACP appear to have succeeded in pushing debate
      over a dual labour market off the party's agenda at the NGC. The party
      resolved to refer the matter to its branches.

      However, Mbeki said government had the right to consider economic reforms
      and defended the role senior government officials played in policy
      making, saying they had better access to information.

      Source: AllAfrica.Com
      URL: http://allafrica.com/stories/200507040143.html
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