Monday, September 22, 2008

Mbeki resigns


The country faces a period of economic and political instability, likely to be deepened if large numbers of Cabinet members quit in the coming days out of loyalty to Mbeki.

An interim president, probably National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, is expected to be named this week. Zuma, the ANC's leader, is likely to run for the office in elections scheduled for next year.

Mbeki, clad in a dark blue suit, looked solemn and dignified and avoided lashing out at his opponents in the ANC.

"I have been a loyal member of the ANC for 52 years. I remain a member and therefore respect its decisions," he said. "It is for this reason that I have taken the decision to resign as president of the republic, following the decision of the national executive committee of the ANC" on Saturday to "recall" him.

Mbeki's opponents gained the needed ammunition to drive him from office when a high court judge, Chris Nicholson, threw out fraud and racketeering charges against Zuma on Sept. 12, saying it appeared that he might have been the victim of a political conspiracy in the ANC.

The National Prosecuting Authority has said it would appeal the judge's ruling. ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said Saturday that the party's ruling body decided to remove Mbeki because of concern over the motives behind the authority's appeal.

In his televised address to the nation, Mbeki strongly denied ever interfering with the prosecution or the judiciary....

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