Zuma: Mpshe and NPA show some balls!
March 30, 2009 § 2 Comments
Mr. Mpshe needs to be reminded of a little fact about South Africans this week – we are not a people born of cowards, nor men who place personal ambitions above what needs to be done for the people. We are born of men who stood up when it was more comfortable and beneficial to sit down. We are a people born of the same stuff that made Mandela sacrifice his freedom for 27 years; we are born of women who gave birth to Steve Biko who died bravely writing what he liked and what we have come to love. Biko showed the might of the nib of a pen facing off against the barrel of a gun. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. We are born of the nameless heroes who died fighting so that we could be free one day. This is what we are made of. Men and women who sacrificed despite the immense power and pressures that could have persuaded lesser men and women to do otherwise.
According to news reports we have been told that the NPA (National Prosecutions Authority) will seek to have the corruption charges against the man who could be president, Jacob Zuma, dropped. One must understand the position and the pressures that face the director of the NPA, Mr. Mpshe. There is the easy way out, drop the charges. By dropping them all that will happen will be wide ranging condemnation from opposition parties, the press and civil society. That’s all. If he decides to go ahead he will be pressured by the ANC in every way imaginable. They might even find dirt on him. Now is not the time for cowardice.
History often calls on those in positions of responsibility to choose to do what’s difficult or unpopular. Allowing Zuma to walk will be a popular decision with the electorate. But is it the right thing to do? The men and women of the NPA have history knocking on their doors. What are they willing to do? Mr. Mpshe, in the words of former American vice president, Al Gore, “Sometimes you have to be willing … to pick the hard right over the easy wrong.” We are told that it is not in the national interests to have Jacob Zuma going to court. It is precisely because it is not in the interests of the nation that he should go to court, so that we can judge for ourselves.
What is the hard right? The hard right is to investigate both Zuma and Mbeki if there is reason to investigate the former president. To drop these charges without having these so called tapes heard in court cannot serve our democracy well. We are being told that the former president has done something wrong, yet he has not been afforded the opportunity to defend himself. By dropping them, by implication, that tells us that there is evidence of wrong doing on Mbeki’s part. Are they going to be charge him yet Zuma hasn’t had his day in court? If there is evidence of interference on Thabo Mbeki’s part that does not mean that there was no wrong doing on Zama’s part either. Investigate both I say.
I suggest that Mr. Mpshe read A Man for All Seasons, a play by Robert Bolt. In it, Sir Thomas More is led to the gallows for refusing to bend to King Henry VIII’s wish to divorce his wife because she could not bear him a son. This is a man who believed in himself and his conscience despite the “national interests” concerns of the king not having a son. In our case, the king is Zuma.
More is a strong advocate for the rule of law in the play, even if it leads to his own execution. When his future son-in-law implores him to arrest a man whose perjury will eventually lead to More’s path to the gallows. More tells him that the man has broken no laws, he even tells him that the devil himself deserves his chance before the courts, “And go he should if he were the Devil himself until he broke the law!” More’s son-in-law is shocked at the idea of affording the Devil the benefit of law, but More is unwavering.
Then he goes on to lecture his future son-in-law, “What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? … And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”
So, do we really think we can stand upright in the winds that would blow the laws? The laws are there for our protection, that is why it should be and must be applied to all equally without fear or favour. To claim that we are not going to apply the laws because it is not in the “national interest” to do so is to show fear and favour. As the Devil should have his day in court to prove his innocence before his accusers, so must Jacob Zuma. Not forgetting that the law says innocent until proven guilty. The Devil in this case would be innocent excerpt before the eyes of the accusers who have evidence against him. Zuma too is innocent until proven guilty. But he must be afforded the opportunity to prove his innocence before his accusers.
Lest we forget, Jacob Zuma asked for his day in court, yet he has left no legal avenue unturned in order to avoid this day he has been screaming about. Let’s give it to him. He has threatened to spill the beans if he goes to court. Well, if he has bean to spill, let him spill them. And let those who are trained in the art of catching beans catch them. We want everyone responsible to be brought to book. The law should be applied without fear or favour. Mr Zuma, spill the beans! It is in the interests of the nation for you to do so. By saying nothing, you are still participating in the corruption of our government. It means you are aware of wrongdoing but have been willing to sit silently. You sir should not blackmail us.
How can the NPA accept as evidence, illegally obtained information? The wiretapping of a sitting president without the authorization of a judge? Where did these tapes come from? Who authorized the illegal wiretapping of a sitting president? Is that not treason? Why is there no outcry? If a president can be subjected to such blatant abuse of power, what chance do ordinary people like me have? We should have much fear for ourselves.
So far all we have are rumors, hearsay and we have no proof to judge whether the tapes are authentic or not. It is difficult to take these tapes seriously after the so-called “hoax emails” that made the rounds a while back that were wildly circulated amongst the Friends of Jacob Zuma. Then there was “proof” that Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy. There were no credible witnesses, no credible evidence and no credible facts to support a claim that was clearly designed to intimidate and pressure the former Director of Public Prosecutions. If there has been a conspiracy, it is the one that has been led against Bulelani Ngcuka. Marc Maharaj, and his friends failed to come up with any evidence proving that he was in fact a spy. Then the ANC misled the nation calling a press conference, assuring us, and fooling us into thinking that they were going to address an issue of national importance. National importance turned to be of national importance for the ANC to announce the defection of a little known Cope figure.
Granted, at times, especially in cases like the Zuma case – it is often difficult to tell the difference between prosecution and persecution. When one is prosecuted it is an easy and often necessary form of defense to shout persecution, painting oneself as a victim. Jacob Zuma is too powerful to persecute.
If there is a conspiracy against Zuma it should be proven in a court of law. The defense always states that conspiracies by nature are difficult to prove. Well, don’t make claims you can’t prove or defend. We don’t have any evidence, all we have are innuendos. If former president Thabo Mbeki is implicated, he must have his day in court, like Zuma. What are these national interests they speak of? Are Jacob Zuma’s and Shabir Schaiks interests now considered that highly? The arrogance of the ANC has taken an unprecedented step, where party and personal interests are dressed up as national interests. They can no longer distinguish what is of national interest, this is a clear indication that the ANC believes that it is South Africa. This country is not and does not belong to a political party. It is no wonder Thabo Mbeki was removed in the way he was.
Our nation cannot afford to have a prosecutions authority that is perceived to cave under political, powerful or from the pressures of the privileged. South Africa is becoming accustomed to the insulation of its elite from the law, yet leaves its ordinary down trodden citizenry, the very people it claims to represent to under representation by the law.
We cannot profess to be a truly democratic society when those who are sworn to protect it do everything in their power to subvert it for their own means.
By caving, Mr Mpshe, you are telling us, the children and future leaders, our brothers and sisters that it is acceptable to be a coward. I do not know what it is like to be in your position Mr Mpshe, nor do I wish to be. But you accepted it and you knew what you were getting yourself into, your country needs you, don’t choose the easy path.
To act as if there is nothing you and anyone else can do, as if this has been preordained, written in the stars, is not just giving up on yourself, you are giving up on your country, sir.
It is not written. It is not preordained that Zuma must walk away from these charges. To quote Cassius, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…” What happens to Zuma now is not in the stars. It is up to the facts before you Mr. Mpshe. It is your lips that will speak, your mind that will be applied – and it is your hand that will sign the document that decides this country’s fate. Just because you know that you are fighting a losing battle against the ANC does not mean you should cease to throw punches. Throwing in the towel is not an option. We are not a nation of quitters Mr. Mpshe.
The very notion that some individuals have more freedoms and liberties than others is not, should not and must not be accepted. Yet millions of us are willing to sit on our hands and applaud an insult to democracy, civil liberty and the basic tenant that “All are equal before the law.”
We have become victims of our liberation, hostages to our own freedom and slaves to those who think that we owe them for our liberation. I owe my liberty to man and no political party. It belongs to me. None of us owe it to anyone. This slavery to the ANC must come to an end.
We cannot profess to be a truly democratic country when the already, powerful, the already privileged have added privileges before the law. Nor can we boast to have the best constitution in the world when it is not honored. Mr. Mpshe, show us you have balls.