Justice Piitso pens an open letter to Thabo Mbeki in reply to former president's OR Tambo lecture
Dear President Thabo Mbeki
DR NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS OF OUR NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION.
My open letter is a response to your oration during the occasion of the centenary anniversary celebrations of the life and times of the late President of the ANC, Cde Oliver Reginald Tambo, held at the university of the Witwatersrand. It was indeed interesting to listen to your diagnosis of the state of affairs within the ranks of our national liberation movement.
Being a colossal theoretician of your calibre, you will appreciate that even during the ancient times, great philosophers were convinced that false ideas were just as valuable as true ideas. Many of them mostly cared more on whether ideas were just interesting than whether they were true.
Even the great emperors of the most powerful ancient kingdoms of the Near East, the Pharaohs and emperor Ashur for example, were much convinced that ideas were not just interesting, but amicably, the most indispensable for the consolidation of power and prosperity. As a result, the two kingdoms became synonymous for worshipping their living king gods.
I hope that the cheers and clapping of hands by the audience during the occasion of celebrating the centenary of President OR Tambo, did not make you see yourself as the emperor of our democratic republic. An emperor, imbued by the very same notion by the ancient philosophers, that false ideas are as valuable as true ideas.
Borrowing from the profound words of wisdom from the hero of the Cuban nation, Apostle Jose Marti, ideas are invincible, trenches made of ideas are stronger than those made of stones, a just cause, even one buried in the depths of a cave, is mightier than an army. In other words ideas are necessarily about the development of human society.
I am humbled to have written you this open letter during this epic year which signifies the end of an important epoch in the history of the struggles of humanity against imperialism and colonialism. The year of the centenary of the great October socialist revolution and the life and times of the late President of the ANC, Oliver Reginald Tambo.
The great October socialist revolution of 1917 was an epoch making event which ushered the first socialist republic in the history of human society. You will concur with me that indeed it was a quantum leap which liberated over two thirds of the world population from colonial oppression and exploitation.
President OR was one of the most outstanding leaders and the longest serving President of our national liberation movement. He was a gigantic leader of our national democratic revolution who indeed belonged to the category of rare spices our movement has ever produced.
Throughout his life he has demonstrated to the entire world that his were living scientific ideas for liberation of humanity. He was a revered organic intellectual who was not convinced that false ideas were just as valuable as true ideas.
I am still pondering if whether the ideas you expounded during the occasion of the centenary of President OR at the university of the Witwatersrand were just indeed interesting or true. The holier than thou attitude itself is counter revolutionary.
One is much worried by the growing tendencies of despondency and despair which are undoubtedly reducing you into a vulnerable human being. It must not be that the sink holes of the Polokwane conference are still the measure to thrive the triumph of adversity over you.
The Roman philosopher Seneca attributes anger as an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than anything on which it is poured. Your oration during the occasion was an illustration of deep seated levels of anger and ideological arrogance.
I agree with you that our national liberation movement is going through the most difficult times in the history of its existence. But my humble view is that your diagnosis of the present state of affairs within the ranks of our movement is elevating subjective factors over objective considerations.
It will never be in the best interest of our revolutionary movement and our people in general, to take a posture of an armchair revolutionary, whose foremost role is to present memoranda of grievances to the leadership and the general membership of our movement.
The danger facing our movement is the growing attitude by some of our leaders not to take collective responsibility for the challenges facing us. Many of the leaders of our movement have developed tendencies of wanting to listen to what they want to hear.
One of the painful truth that you will never want to hear is that you are one of the root causes of the sorry state of affairs our movement finds itself today. To be honest to you, the glory of our movement diminished in your very same hands.
You were instrumental in demolishing the foundations of the unity and cohesion of our movement. You became a self anointed emperor of our contemporary era.
It was painstaking to listen to how you called many of us as mercenaries who deserved to be purged from the leadership of the movement. What you have easily forgotten is that you have recently sent divorce letters to our movement.
I do not know where you belong to, I do not know if you belong to the DA, EFF, COPE, or you are part of the underlying efforts to launch the new political formation against the ANC. Do not forget that you voluntarily declared to the general public of our republic that you do not know which party you would vote for.
Your overarching statement was a clear massage to the people of our country to prevaricate when voting for the ANC. Therefore, you have no moral authority today to blame any of our leaders for the general decline of the electoral support against the movement.
What you could not tell the people during the occasion was that when President OR was handing the baton on his last days of his leadership, he reminded all of us that he was leaving a movement which was intact into our hands. Madiba also so, handed the reigns of the leadership into your hands on a silver platter.
The least that you could do during your tenure, was to became a philosopher of the ancient times, who became convinced that false ideas were as valuable as true ideas. For the selfish interests of a self declared emperor of our republic, you failed to pass the baton of the leadership of our movement to the next generation.
At the time, for reasons only known to yourself, no one could fit into the boots of the emperor except the emperor himself. Your selfish political actions plunged our movement into a perpetual crisis.
Your love of power of honey disregarded the fundamental truth that the ANC has so many good leaders including the current President of our republic Cde Jacob Zuma. I suppose if you were not obsessed by the conspiracy theories at the time, we would have achieved much to ensure that our movement is more united than ever before.
I hope you appreciate the growing momentum within the ranks of our movement about the important political question of the leadership role of women in our movement and society in general. The wave about the leadership role of women is a graphic demonstration that the South African nation is at a decisive turning point in the history of its development.
The entire history of the struggle led by our national liberation movement is a noble history of a struggle for the achievement of gender equality in society. It is a struggle inseparably from the common purpose of our people to create a non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous society.
The struggles for the transformation of human society is an unprecedented episode rooted in the fundamental values and traditions of democratic centralism and inner party democracy. Therefore the achievements of women in our country is the achievement of the whole women of the world.
The transformation of gender relations in society is part of the wider struggles against the legacy of imperialism and colonialism. Therefore our political responsibility is to ensure that the womenfolk continues to take the centre stage in their determination to build a better world for humanity.
The national executive committee of the ANC women’s league has taken a political decision to endorse Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as their preferred presidential for the coming conference. In my honest view, this is an important decision which has to be supported by all progressive forces in our country.
This important political decision is itself a history in the making. For the first time in the history of its existence, the ANC will be led by a women who has over the years of our struggles, grown through its ranks.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is a seasoned cadre whose struggles credentials are unquestionable. Her tenacity, wisdom and bravery to be true to the wishes and aspirations of the overwhelming majority of our people, has stood the test of time.
Her unparalleled political leadership role is a living testimony that women have become pioneers of the new paradigm shift of our modern times. Indeed she is one of the most beautiful flowers of our national democratic revolution.
She is a blossoming flower which represents the few but the better within the ranks of our revolutionary movement. Our revolutionary task for radical socio economic transformation requires her calibre leadership with high political determination.
Therefore the prospects and the possibilities of our country having a female President is part of the intense theatre of our struggle for the transformation of society. It is part of the historic mission of our national democratic revolution to liberate the black people in general and the African people in particular.
The task before us is to appreciate the fundamental fact that women of our country have become true torch bearers of our struggles against oppression and exploitation by white monopoly capital. We have to appreciate that many of our women have occupied the forefront trenches of our struggles to dismantle the apartheid colonial socio economic ownership patterns.
One of the immediate challenges facing the people of our country is the determination by white monopoly capital to reverse back the gains of our national democratic revolution. The enemy of our revolution has embarked on an offensive onslaught to reverse the victories of our democratic breakthrough.
The offensive is primarily about undermining the determination by our movement to consolidate power and hegemony for the transformation of society. At the centre of the soul of the battle field is how dismantle the apartheid colonial state and its power relations in society.
Our people have nothing in their hands, they do not own the land, mines, factories and the mainstream commanding heights of our economy. The only hope in their hands is the African National Congress.
Throughout his life President OR Tambo never deserted the movement when it needed him most. He was schooled in the revolutionary theory that a litmus test of any revolution is its capacity to resolve its own contradictions.
“ Ideas are not simply an instrument to build consciousness and lead people to fight. Today, they have become the main weapon in the struggle, not a source of inspiration, not a guide, not a directive, but the main weapon of the struggle”. Fidel Castro
Phatse Justice Piitso is the former Ambassador to the republic of Cuba and the former provincial secretary of the SACP writing this article on his personal capacity.
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