South Africa presidential front-runner Jacob Zuma has turned the screws on his rival Thabo Mbeki , with references to tyrants who cling to power, who turn their backs on crime and who abuse the power of the state.
All perceived weaknesses of President Thabo Mbeki.
Zuma was speaking at Wits University.
Zuma also tore into the government’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” towards Zimbabwe, pointing out gross human rights violations by the regime of Robert Mugabe.
“It is even more tragic that other world leaders who witness repression pretend it is not happening, or is exaggerated. When history eventually deals with the dictators, those who stood by and watched should also bear the consequences.
“A shameful quality of the modern world is to turn away from injustice and ignore the hardships of others,” he charged.“There is no substitute or alternative to democracy, even in instances where we feel that democratic processes threaten our personal interests.
“The executive can never exercise undue influence over the judiciary and Parliament. Turning a blind eye to abuses of state power will eventually result in the unravelling of our system, and undermining of our rights as equal shareholders in our democracy.
“That urge to steal the dignity of others, ill-treat someone for selfish gain, or engineer people’s suffering is what chips away at the very essence of a civilised human race.
“It is these traits which feed the decay of society, the growth of despotic rule and lay the foundation for tyrannies. History is dotted with the legacies of tyrants who abused the rights of their citizens in order to usurp, enforce or hold onto power.”
HIV/Aids and crime ought to be treated as national emergencies, said Zuma. “I have a problem with laws that are user-friendly to criminals.
“In a country with no death penalty, the laws must bite,” he said to thunderous applause.
Millionare Tokyo Sexwale who is backing Zuma attended the event. ANC elections will be held on Sunday.
External links Friends of Zuma http://www.friendsofjz.co.za/
ANC homepage http://www.anc.org.za/