Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has risen once more to comment on the current political situation of the country by calling on every citizen to get involved in the move to put to a lasting end to the lies and misinformation used by some members of the people public discourse.
Mbeki who has in recent months, been addressing via newsletter, most of the daring issues faced by the country has in his new piece, claimed that some members of the public sector have been feeding the country with lies for narrow ends.
Tracing the alleged lies that has over taken the country back to his regime, Mbeki said he has been worried for some time now that the use of lies is becoming entrenched in our national discourse.
“I must confess that I decided that I should indeed use the opportunity that had arisen, to publish the promised articles, to correct a mistake we had made over the years. That mistake was our failure systematically to challenge and rebut the many falsehoods which had been propagated especially during the years I served in Government.”
To him, not destroying the practice can damage political movements since lies and misinformation were used against the African National Congress (ANC) by the apartheid government.
Perhaps Mbeki is referring to the current manipulations of public offices that has rocked the country in the past months and the pressure mounted by opposition parties seeking Zuma’s resignation.
Speaking further in his article, Mbeki called for a truthful and honest conduct by any revolutionary or progressive movement.
“The matter of fundamental and strategic importance to which I refer is respect for the truth and honesty in the conduct of public affairs on the part of any revolutionary or progressive movement.”
Though no name of any individual or group is mentioned in the article, Mbeki pointed out that he warned during the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007 that some people in the movement were using lies and deceit for their narrow ends.
Towards the tail end of the piece, the former president made reference to how the apartheid government used disinformation to hurt the ANC and that the US used lies to justify their invasion of Iraq.
“During our years of struggle against apartheid we were victims of the Disinformation Campaign of the propagation of lies about the broad liberation movement and its leaders, conducted by the apartheid intelligence services under the programme named STRATCOM. Some examples of the STRATCOM campaigns appear in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Reports” he said,
“It is obvious that disrespect for the truth and honesty, and deceit and double-dealing are exactly the instruments and practices which would be and are used by those who, intent to serve their own interests, are opposed to such determination of what is right or wrong” he added.
Mbeki categorically warned people to beware of the media in particular as they are the major means through which falsehood is propagated in the country.
However, he said we should judge what is right or wrong in terms of the conduct of public affairs in our country in terms of the value system which such conduct represents and promotes, in terms of whether it serves the interests of the people as a whole, and in terms of whether it is sustained by honest and sustained accountability to the people.