Former president Thabo Mbeki wants to “correct” history and will publish a series of essays in which he will set the record straight
The first essay came out yesterday. In it, Mbeki decries the fact that people directly involved in the liberation struggle had not taken the time to write about their experiences.
He will later “correct some distortion” about his leadership in the ANC and as head of state.
“Much of this was written with no facts to substantiate the accusations or is, in some instances, based on deliberate misinformation.”
Mbeki says some writers erred in their attempts to define his character and actions as ANC president and as head of state.
“Among others, these observers have said that Mbeki was aloof, intellectual, out of touch with the ANC membership and the people, autocratic, intolerant of different views, sensitive to criticism, paranoid, abused state power to promote his personal political ambitions, marginalised the ANC from discharging its responsibilities as the ruling party by centralising power in the state presidency, and so on.”
Mbeki’s spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, yesterday said the former president would not focus on specific issues, but would write on various topics.
In the first essay Mbeki comments on the alleged plot by ANC leaders Mathews Phosa, Tokyo Sexwale and Cyril Ramaphosa to oust him from the presidency.
Mbeki says that the plot allegation, made by former ANC Youth league member in Mpumalanga James Nkambule, was reviewed by him and other party leaders.
“The necessary decisions were taken to assess what were, after all, very serious charges, which bore on state security.
“At no point did this leadership, including the president, take any position that there was any truth to the allegations, insistent that their veracity had to be established through thorough intelligence investigations and assessments,”
Mbeki adds that the alleged plot, which falsely implicated Phosa, Sexwale and Ramaphosa, had “nothing whatsoever” to do with his alleged paranoia.
He says that the domestic and international media had continuously trumpeted for almost 15 years accounts of his presidency based on false deductions and self-serving speculation.
Political analyst Professor Tinyiko Maluleke said that although he was looking forward to reading Mbeki’s essays he was not certain that a man of Mbeki’s talent should spend time correcting perceptions about his presidency.
“Mbeki is an intelligent and persuasive man and I would like to read from him about his vision of South Africa and the continent. Mbeki’s talent could help us to look forward.
“I am not sure whether someone with his talent and experience should be spending time on perceptions about his presidency.”