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ANC Brooks No Dissent

August 19, 2009 Leave a comment

manuelmhThere is little publicised fact about the ruling African National Congress – intolerance of dissenting voices which throws the party in the same league of the National party of our apartheid days.

This little publicised fact came back to mind when I read of the party reporting the City Press and Sunday Times newspapers to the Press Ombudsman for “publishing articles that illustrate the abuse of press freedom.’

The crimes of the two newspapers being to dare highlight the troubles playing themselves out within the leading organs of the ruling party – this  really has nothing to do at all with a journalism that reports truthfully, accurately and fairly.

What has today become the ANC`s defining charecter of intolerance goes as far back as the founding of Robert Sobukwe`s Pan Africanist Congress.

During its earlier days the PAC gave big brother ANC a run for its money by upstaging it at any given opportunity starting with Sharpeville and Langa.

In exile the ANC did all it could to project itself as the sole and authentic voice of the South African struggle for liberation. So successful was the ANC in this regard that the gullible international community came to equate the party with the freedom struggle. Neither did Steve Biko`s Black Conciousness Movement escape the mighty wrath and intolerance of the ANC who cast the former as agents of Western imperialism.

Internal struggle initiatives such as June 16, UDF, COSATU, and SADTU were passed as the grand work of the then exiled ANC. This arrogance and intolerance carried the ANC through the negotiations that gifted us 1994.

During Thabo Mbeki`s tenure as president dissent, internal and external was not tolerated. Whatever little room for healthy dissent which survived then disappeared in the wake of the watershed 2007 Polokwane conference which also passed a resolution declaring the ANC`s intention to form a media appeals tribunal to obviously manage and manipulate media content.

Then came president Jacob Zuma`s world famous lawsuits against the media.

It now remains to be seen what awaits the country beyond the ANC leadership`s sabre-rattling, lawsuits and complaints to the Ombudsman.