I have been reading various reports about the Mbeki-Pikoli-Selebi debacle and the growing awareness of the constitutional crisis that we are in the middle of because of the reasons and manner in which the President dealt with Pikoli. A quote from a movie I saw the other day seems appropriate. I took myself off to see “One Night with the King” and at one point in the movie Esther asked King Xerxes 1 of Persia a question about his previous queen, Vashti, and his answer was something along the lines of “I am the king, I answer to no-one”.
All this talk about an imperial presidency in South Africa may either be accurate or may be going to the President’s head. He clearly doesn’t feel obliged to answer to his citizens when asked about the whole affair. Either that or he should fire his PR team. Remaining silent on this matter is a terrible idea. Granted he has appointed former Speaker of Parliament, Frene Ginwala, to conduct an inquiry into Pikoli’s conduct and his suspension but even that is highly suspect because the former Speaker’s mandate assumes the President’s rationale is competent and she is believed to be too closely aligned with the President to render a finding that will be generally accepted as unbiased.
I haven’t been holding my breath for the President to respond to calls for transparency and, quite frankly, for him to respect the dictates of the Constitution so I found it really interesting that Cosatu has now called for a “broader political” inquiry into this matter and its expression of concern about the constitutional crisis the President’s actions have precipitated.
My concern is that the struggle for leadership of the ANC has become the President’s primary preoccupation rather that governing the country in the interests of all its citizens.