The President South Africans, Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki thinks Africa is in trouble. The continent needs progressive leaders and such leaders are simply nowhere to be found, he says.
Mbeki made the remarks at a question-and-answer session organized for the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.
The former President said the problem of Africa isn’t the general quality of leadership, but the challenge of progressive leadership.
According to him, progressive leaders are those that serve the interest of the people without looking for things to pocket for themselves.
“What the continent needs is a progressive leadership to effect the change we need. And, a progressive leader is a leader who says ‘my task is to serve the people, to ensure that the quality of life of the people changes for the better.”
“…Therefore” he went on, “that progressive leader would not be a thief.
“…You can’t say…I am a progressive leader and therefore serve the interests of the people…but in that course, I will also put something in pocket,” stated Mbeki.
With that, he referred to South Africa and narrated that the former director-general in his presidency, Frank Chikane, was told by those who masterminded his removal in 2007 that his problem was not allowing them to put something in their pockets.
The former leader expressed shock saying he never imagined that those involve in the struggle to actualize a democratic nation would turn around and violate the constitution.
He said: “The constitution is the product of the struggle; we own that constitution. I would not expect that the same owners of the constitution would want to violate it.”
Afterwards, Mbeki was questioned about the public dissatisfaction with the ANC.
In response, he offered that the ANC would embed a wrong impression on the people if it is not worried about the public dissatisfaction with its leadership.
Also responding to a question about ANC leadership being loyal to the party and not the country, Mbeki asserted that such attitude is abnormal saying there ought to be no conflict between loyalty to the party and the country.
“If I join the ANC, and I am made a mayor as a result, and I then give tenders to my friends and get the necessary kickbacks, I will be loyal to the ANC and not loyal to the people.
“The ANC was established to liberate the people of South Africa from colonial pressures and later, apartheid pressures. Loyalty to the party means loyalty to the purposes of the party,” he buttressed.