Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mbeki Resigns South African Presidency

Today, Thabo Mbeki announced his resignation of South Africa's Presidency, an office he held since June 1999.

The Executive Committee of the African National Congress had been debating Mbeki's fate. The tenor within the ANC was so strongly anti-Mbeki that he could see the writing on the wall and opted to resign rather than face a humiliating vote.

The biggest reason for this was the acquittal of ANC Chairman (and Mbeki rival) Jacob Zuma on corruption charges earlier this week. The judges concluded there was political interference on Mbeki's part and this sealed his fate.

Consider also Mbeki's inaction concerning South Africa's exploding crime rate, his near denial of the HIV/AIDs virus and his apologism for Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe (although he did manage to mediate a deal between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai). The Zuma affair was the final straw.

The Speaker of the South African Parliament is expected to assume the Presidency on an interim basis. Elections had been expected to take place in early 2009 but could be moved up to late December. Zuma is widely expected to win this election and become South Africa's third President in the post-Apartheid era.

No comments: