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Mbeki ups the intrigue

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Former president Thabo Mbeki has denied that there was a conspiracy to prevent Jacob Zuma becoming president. Mbeki said yesterday that the allegations of a conspiracy were manufactured by people with an interest in seeing Zuma take power.

Mbeki claimed that this group accepted Judge Chris Nicholson’s “incomprehensible” and “discredited” judgment that such a conspiracy existed, and used the judgment as a basis for firing him in 2008.

Handing down judgment in September 2008 in Zuma’s application to have corruption charges against him struck off the court roll, Nicholson found that “there does seem to be merit in that contention [that the charges against Zuma were a plot] . I am, therefore, not inclined to strike out these allegations.”

But in January 2009, a few months before Zuma became president , the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned Nicholson’s judgment, arguing that the judge had assumed a mandate to which he had not been appointed.

“Even if, in the words of the learned judge, the judiciary forms a ‘secular priesthood’, this does not mean that it is entitled to pontificate or be judgmental, especially about those who have not been called upon to defend themselves,” the appeal court found.

Mbeki, in the latest of a series of open letters intended to “clarify” key events of his presidency, said he had never subverted the law to satisfy a political objective.

“The defence of . freedom and democracy demanded . that we should under no circumstances abuse state power to corrupt the criminal justice system to serve particular political purposes, a prescription we always respected – contrary to Judge Nicholson’s ‘incomprehensible’ findings about ‘political meddling’, which never took place.”

Commenting on Mbeki’s latest letter, political analyst Steven Friedman said: “There is a subtle difference in what he seems to be trying to do with this letter and the others that have come before.

“With the other letters nothing particularly significant happened after their publication, but with this one he is beginning to ask questions of the current politicians and their politics.

“Mbeki is clearly implying that there were figures, perhaps one in particular, that were behind efforts to create an impression that he, himself, was behind machinations related to events before and after the Nicholson judgment.”

[Source: Times Live]
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