Tutu wants Zuma to face trial

April 2, 2009 12:00 am

, JOHANNESBURG Apr 2 – South Africa’s likely next president Jacob Zuma should stand trial for corruption, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was quoted as saying on Thursday, as prosecutors decide whether to pursue the charges.

"At the present time, I can’t pretend to be looking forward to having him as my president," the Nobel peace laureate said in remarks broadcast on national radio.

Zuma, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), is widely expected to become president after general elections just three weeks away, but his campaign has been clouded by graft charges stemming from an arms scandal.

His lawyers have presented prosecutors with new evidence that they hope will lead to the dropping of the charges, in what has been dubbed a "political solution" to the case. Prosecutors say they will announce their decision Friday.

"For his own sake, I hope they are not going to have a political solution. If he is innocent as he has claimed to be, for goodness sake, let it be a court of law that says so," Tutu said late Wednesday at a book launch in Durban.

He urged South Africans to remember the values of the anti-apartheid struggle, but said many find it difficult to criticise the government.

"It was easy to be against something during the struggle. A far more difficult task has been left to you — making a reality of our freedom," he said.

"We imagined that our idealism, our altruism, being concerned about others more than ourselves, would be automatically carried over into the post-apartheid era and we were surprised by how easily we seemed to forget," Tutu said.

"When our new government behaves somewhat strangely, it is very difficult to condemn because it looks like you are unpatriotic," he said. "We are at a bad place right now in our country."


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