JOHANNESBURG, October 31 – South Africa’s former president Thabo Mbeki said in a letter published Friday that he will not campaign for the ruling ANC in next year’s polls, after the party forced him from office last month.,
Mbeki sent the letter to African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma earlier this month but the Star newspaper published a leaked copy on Friday, on the eve of a convention aimed at organising a breakaway party.
Mbeki wrote that neither the ANC leadership nor the breakaway movement headed by former defence minister Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota had sought his support for their political campaigns.
He also wrote that he was surprised that Zuma had publicly announced that Mbeki would campaign for the party.
"I appeal that nobody should abuse or cite my name falsely to promote their partisan cause, including how the 2009 ANC election campaign would be conducted," Mbeki wrote.
Mbeki said he was still deciding what to do after losing the presidency.
"Whatever I do in no way involves me in the internal politics of the ANC or the functioning of the government of South Africa," he said.
"I absolutely will not rule from the grave," he added.
Zuma seized control of the ANC from Mbeki during the party’s conference last December, and his allies in the leadership last month forced Mbeki to resign as president just months before the end of his second term.
The in-fighting has exposed deep splits within the party that led the struggle against apartheid, giving birth to a breakaway movement headed by Lekota, an Mbeki loyalist.
Lekota and his allies will hold a national convention this weekend aimed at laying the groundwork for a new political party, which he says could challenge the ANC in elections next year, when Zuma is widely expected to become president.