It is deeply worrying when a person of Cyril Ramaphosa’s respectable standing appears to harbour personal grudges and allow them to impede his good judgement.
Ramaphosa is held in the highest regard by a large majority of South Africans; to the extent that many were imploring him to avail himself for the presidency of the ANC prior to Polokwane. He was seen as a credible alternative to Thabo Mbeki; and today, with the ANC facing implosion, there are those who believe he remains, besides Kgalema Motlanthe, the only possible candidate who can salvage the ANC from itself and restore it to its former glory.
It was widely reported that Ramaphosa was among the members of the ANC national executive committee who vehemently argued for immediate removal of Mbeki as president of the Republic. This is conduct unbefitting of a man upon whom the nation may have and would want to impose the arduous task of leading the masses to the Promised Land.
It would be irresponsible and dangerous to entrust him with the levers of power when it is apparent that he allows his own personal grievances to precede interests of the nation. He may not be tainted as a politician in the same manner as Jacob Zuma, who is accused of countless acts of impropriety, which he is determined not to account for; but we need to be comfortable in the knowledge that we can trust him not to use state institutions to settle personal scores and launch personal vendettas against his detractors and old foes.
Ramaphosa believes the decision by the ANC to recall Thabo Mbeki was a good decision; but he fails to convince the rest of us why he deems unpopular and misguided decisions to have been a sign of democratic maturity. Perhaps it is unfair on some of us to expect Ramaphosa to have remained impartial and defended Mbeki in being allowed to conclude the remainder of his term in office, given that he was accused of plotting to overthrow Mbeki a few years ago. A serious allegation that warranted an investigation.
The source of such allegations against Ramaphosa, Phosa and Sexwale are yet to be revealed; but we are mischievously led to believe that Mbeki was behind such a political blunder when no evidence in support of such claims has been presented to the public. Ramaphosa claims these allegations were never discussed within the ANC nor were they given the opportunity to air their views. Has the trio ever attempted to raise the matter with the ANC national executive committee, which they were part of in the past seven years, and been denied audience?
Ramaphosa claims the past seven years have been his most uncomfortable within the ANC under Thabo Mbeki, and fails to understand the decision by Lekota and Shilowa to leave the party. He also endorses the laughable contention by his comrades that Lekota and his supporters who threaten the ANC with a breakaway party do so because they want to cling to power at all costs.
Ramaphosa said: “They went to Polokwane, contested elections under a particular ticket. They campaigned very hard for that ticket to win. And the way of democracy is to accept that there can be one winner. Now they give the impression that they like to lead. They don’t want to be led. For me that is a serious indictment.”
He attempts to portray himself as exemplary for having remained within the ANC in spite of his unhappiness with the leadership of Thabo Mbeki. He is, however, being disingenuous as he immediately left politics after 1997 when Mbeki emerged the preferred candidate for the leadership of the ANC. The perception we have given his recent utterances directed at Lekota and Shilowa is that he, too, did not like to be led, hence his departure from active politics.
Ramaphosa believes the ANC is “almost like a breath of fresh air”. Does Ramaphosa genuinely condone the despotic tendencies of the current leadership of the ANC; the continuing persecution and vilification of those who did not support Jacob Zuma; the political intolerance and utter disrespect of institutions of the justice; the violent revolutionary rhetoric of the leadership of the ANC as well as its kindergarten wing?
It is even more repulsive that Ramaphosa appears to condone the moronic utterances of Julius Malema. According to Ramaphosa, Malema is only reacting to how Zuma was treated. How exactly was Zuma treated that it warranted the country to be threatened with anarchy by ruffians in the ANC?
Ramaphosa condones the shameful disrespect and insults hurled by a young person like Malema at his elder, Thabo Mbeki, in the weeks leading up to Mbeki’s recall. If this is the kind of behaviour that Ramaphosa promotes for the youth of this country when they disagree with their elders, then the future of this country is doomed. Ramaphosa is of a generation that had unquestionable respect for authority and possessed the ability to respectfully disagree with their elders without resorting to uncultured behaviour.
Perhaps the Kenyans saw something in Ramaphosa that we remained oblivious to over the years when they sent him packing after rejecting his mediation, when Kenya was burning after the disputed elections. The embarrassed and bitter Ramaphosa left for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with his tail firmly secured between his legs.
His mediation was never going to be acceptable given his alleged business dealings with the now-PM, Raila Odinga. We have been quick to elevate people in prominent positions to hero status without duly examining their potential inclinations under certain circumstances. None of us expect a person of flawless character to assume the reigns of power; but it is reasonable for society to expect the best out of him.
Ramaphosa is equally a person of absolute repute internationally and it is important that he does not alter our opinion about him by supporting the absurdities promoted by the current leadership of the ANC, which he is part of, and must condemn the tyrannical tendencies and intolerance shown by his comrades.