Motlanthe book claim rattles ANC race
SUGGESTIONS that President Jacob Zuma owes his political survival partly to Kgalema Motlanthe, his putative rival for the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC), are likely to unsettle those campaigning for the president’s re-election to a second term.
These revelations are contained in a book, Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography, to be launched this week.
The ANC in Gauteng on Sunday nominated Mr Motlanthe to become president of the organisation when it holds its electoral conference in December.
Mr Zuma could be in a difficult position if Mr Motlanthe accepts the nomination.
Mr Motlanthe hints in the book that Mr Zuma could have been out in the cold if he did not take a stand for him when he, Mr Zuma, was threatened with expulsion from the ANC in 2005.
Mr Motlanthe said in his biography that there were efforts to block a discussion on Mr Zuma’s offer to resign during the ANC’s 2005 national general council. But as party secretary-general at the time he put the matter in his organisational report, thereby allowing delegates to discuss it.
"Let me tell you that if I did not take that stand — and he (Mr Zuma) knows it — those targeting him will have perhaps finished him off politically," Mr Motlanthe told biographer Ebrahim Harvey.
Mr Motlanthe is yet to declare publicly whether he will accept nomination to retain his position as deputy president of the ANC, or whether he has his sights on the top post.
Political analyst Steven Friedman said the fact that Mr Motlanthe might have been Mr Zuma’s ally in the past was not important for the electoral conference at Mangaung. But it might work in Mr Motlanthe’s favour that he supported Mr Zuma during a difficult time.
"Some people could say he deserves to remain as deputy president," said Mr Friedman.
But there are indications in the book as to why Mr Motlanthe might want to challenge Mr Zuma, including his concerns over factionalism in the ANC. He appears to feel that his push for the party to launch a formal political school was being frustrated.
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