ANC Chairwoman and Parliament National Speaker Baleka Mbete has revealed that she has been approached severally by senior ANC leaders to succeed President Jacob Zuma next year.
Mbete, who couldn’t go deeper into the revelation however said she will open up if she would succeed Zuma as soon as the ANC unveils the process for succession. Mbete’s leadership ambition got strengthened at the weekend when she was largely honoured by her amaHlubi tribe in Mqanduli, south of Mthatha.
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Speaking during the ceremony, Mbete said, “There are many people [who have approached me] however, I will not answer that now. But I will respond when the time for that comes.
Let us wait until that time has come to answer your question. But for now I really cannot, as a disciplined member, do something that the organisation has said is not on the agenda,” she added.
Mbete, who couldn’t contain her joy on the recognition accorded to her by her people asserted “As I am going back to the office, I know I am carrying the support from my people and that is soothing.”
She further opined that the ANC has expressed its readiness to have a woman president. She noted that things are apparently different now after the times of Charlotte Maxeke, who was not welcomed as a woman leader.
She said, “Charlotte Maxeke was such a great woman and did things that even male leaders had not done. But culturally at that point our minds were not ready [to be led by a woman]. But now, after 100 years of existence, the ANC has grown from what it was. Now it would not be difficult to have a woman as president.”
One of the executive member of the Eastern Cape House of traditional leaders, Chief Thanduxolo Magadla, stated the significance of the day. According to him, Mbete needs their traditional blessing as she gets set for her presidential campaign.
Magadla said, “We are supporting and blessing her endeavours to be president. We are here to plead with the ancestors to be with her all the way as she is preparing in her presidential campaign.”
Baleka Mbete’s Bid To Succeed Zuma
It is imperative to note that Mbete has always had presidential ambitions. In 2009, she objected to her swearing in as a member of parliament when it became obvious that president would pick Kgalema Motlanthe as his deputy.
Mbete has also worked former president Motlanthe as his deputy’ after former president Thabo Mbeki was recalled.
Moving on, lending his voice too during the ceremony, another traditional leader, Chief Victor Sibenya, said the ceremony held in honour of Mbete was ideal as she needed the support of her family before embarking on any campaign.
Sibenya also praised Mbete for coming home for blessings rather than keeping such juicy ambition to herself. He added that she has done noble by not wanting her Hlubi tribe to learn about her presidential bid from the media.
Last Friday, the ANC branch in Mqanduli was named after her, even though it is unusual for ANC branches to be named after living leaders.
However, Mbete is likely to contest against African Union leader Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as well as the current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa when the presidential campaign kicks off.