Here we go again. I have to write and call out hypocrisy, again! I am a big fan of former South African President Thabo Mbeki. But I am not a fan of his recent proclamations, suggestions and preachings. Presenting himself as an angel. Acting all self righteous.
It seems that the good former president has taken advantage of the current financial quagmire in South Africa to stand up and mete ‘revenge’ at Zuma and ANC. Well, don’t pull a fast one Cde Mbeki. We haven’t really forgotten your own transgressions.
Firstly, we have not really forgotten that Mbeki presided over the worst ‘slow’ genocide of South African people when he expressed doubt if the HIV virus does indeed cause AIDS. As a result, his government’s then Health Minister Mantombazana Tshabalala Msimang, the late, deliberately dragged her feet in implementing an effective public health plan of treating HIV/AIDS using anti-retroviral drugs.Instead, Manto – as she was popularly known – encouraged people to eat beetroots, garlic, lemons , beer and African potatoes to strengthen their immune system because she thought HIV treating drugs were toxic. Someone should have remined her that HIV/AIDS was and is much more dangerous untreated, than the drugs.In laymen terms, Mbeki’s government plunged South Africa into an HIV/AIDS abyss. We need to remind Mbeki that there are people whose lives could have been prolonged and saved had his government acted swiftly and availed a comprehensive, realistic (read ARV) treatment action plan on time. Don’t they say people’s health is their wealth (I couldn’t resist being poetic for a second).
Secondly, the people of Zimbabwe hold Thabo Mbeki responsible for failing to curtail the atrocious behaviour of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe in 2008. Thabo Mbeki was strategically positioned to have helped a great deal in intervening to stop Zanu Pf from mercilessly killing and intimidating citizens of Zimbabwe.
Mbeki still brags about letting ‘Zimbabweans take care of their own problems’. He erroneously insisted that things were not that bad in Zimbabwe even as people were running to South Africa in their droves, most of them prepared to be shot at by the South African army while jumping the border illegally.
Mbeki’s legacy, if he has any at all, is that he presided over the worst chaos in Southern Africa where AIDS and political violence is concerned. He chose not to help the people of Zimbabwe even when opposition politicians were being murdered, victimised and killed.
So, to me, Thabo Mbeki will always be the one who could have done something about Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial tendencies but chose not to.
By these actions, he also contributed to the xenophobic crisis that South Africa has today. The fact that millions of Zimbabweans ran from Robert Mugabe into South Africa increased pressure on social services and made the unskilled job market very competitive as unskilled South Africans now battled against Zimbabwean graduates who were prepared to take any job for survival. They were also prepared to take unfair wages and working conditions.
I must also take this opportunity to remind us that Thabo Mbeki presided over that government with Jacob Zuma as the vice President.
So President Mbeki you and Jacob Zuma you all come from the same blacksmith.
Talk about the kettle calling the pot black.