[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Presidencies v critics, SA & Zim
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Sep 16 09:51:48 BST 2007
Mbeki lied under oath - Masetlha
September 16 2007 at 09:23AM
President Thabo Mbeki and Ronnie Kasrils, the minister of intelligence,
conspired against Billy Masetlha, the axed director-general of
intelligence, in an underhand and malicious way simply because Masetlha
did not see things the way they did, it was claimed in court this week.
Mbeki went as far as to lie under oath by signing an affidavit he knew
to be untrue.
And Kasrils flouted the law and blatantly set up Masetlha by, among
other things, arranging that his [Kasrils's] legal adviser, Corenza
Millard, was part of a group convened by the inspector-general of
intelligence (IGI) who in 2005 interrogated Masetlha, although the IGI
is required by the intelligence oversight laws to operate independently
of the minister or anyone else.
These were among the claims and statements made by Masetlha that emerged
this week during his trial in Pretoria's Hatfield community court.
'But my truth and honesty are all I have'
Masetlha is charged with withholding information from Zolile Ngcakani,
the IGI, in connection with an undercover operation that went awry and
placed Saki Macozoma, a prominent businessman and friend of Mbeki's,
under surveillance while intelligence operatives were tailing a foreign
An emotional Masetlha, who told the court that he had worked as a
"trusted ANC cadre" for 28 years, said the worst part of the "betrayal"
was that he really did not know the reasons for it.
Masetlha said he could only surmise that the president and Kasrils had
"conspired" against him because he had differed with them over the
submission he made on behalf of the National Intelligence Agency to the
Khampepe Commission about whom the Scorpions should report to.
Masetlha thought, unlike the president and Kasrils, that the Scorpions
should be responsible to the police and not be a "law unto themselves";
and because, according to intelligence reports, township unrest over
service delivery had not been stoked by the Boeremag or any such "third
force", but mostly had been the genuine result of citizens' grievances.
Masetlha was also of the view - again, as a result of intelligence
investigations - that Jacob Zuma, the former deputy president, was not
involved in any plot against anyone; and he had reported privately to
the president that he had learnt that Kasrils was involved in certain
Why was Kasrils's person there?
After four days of evidence from Masetlha, the trial has been postponed
to October 29. On Friday, it got bogged down in a long and often acerbic
debate between Masetlha and Matric Luphondo, the chief prosecutor, on
the whereabouts of a report that Masetlha said he had indeed sent to the
IGI, as requested.
But it was the evidence that Masetlha gave on the background of the case
that was remarkable. He painted a picture of a presidency prone to, at
best, legal bungling and, at worst, lying and malice.
Masetlha said he had struggled to get a top-secret report to the
president. The report had to be shown to the president alone because it
cast Kasrils in a very unfavourable light.
Masetlha was vague about exactly what the activities were that Kasrils
was implicated in, but said that soon after he gave it to the president,
he was summoned to Mbeki's residence, where Kasrils was present - and
where Kasrils suspended him.
Masetlha said he had pointed out to the president that, in terms of the
constitution, only the president could suspend the DG of one of the
security cluster ministries.
And Masetlha read out to the court the letter in which Kasrils suspended
him. Later, however, the president had put in an affidavit to the
Pretoria high court, in which he said he [Mbeki] had suspended Masetlha
- in contradiction of the facts.
At no time, said Masetlha, had the president or Kasrils explained why
they were suspending (and later firing) him.
Masetlha said he could not explain to his family what had happened and
had felt at times as though his family thought he was not telling the truth.
"But my truth and honesty are all I have. And so I did not accept the
payout that was made into my account later, even though I am broke,"
Later, Masetlha said, when he was summoned to a meeting with the IGI, he
was amazed to find that Kasrils's legal adviser, Millard, was present.
"The IGI is supposed, in terms of the Intelligence Oversight Act, to
investigate independently and reach the truth about issues. Why was
Kasrils's person there?" Masetlha asked.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Sunday Independent on
September 16, 2007
Mugabe sends warning to critics - analysts
September 16 2007 at 08:41AM
By Godfrey Marawanyika
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is consolidating his hold on power,
as he ruthlessly tackles his arch-critics ahead of 2008 polls in which
he is a candidate, analysts said.
His latest victim is former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius
Ncube, one of his strongest critics, who resigned on Tuesday from his
post in the aftermath of an alleged adultery scandal.
State-run Herald newspaper had published in July some compromising
pictures which it said depicted the then cleric having sex with another
Ncube, 60, who has been head of the Bulawayo Diocese since 1998, said
his resignation was intended to save the Church from further attacks and
enable him to challenge the adultery charge in court in his private
"What they did to Ncube was to send a warning to all critics", said Bill
Saidi, a political commentator and journalist. "The whole plan was
But "they can't blame Ncube for the crisis we are in. The question is:
27 years after independence, where are we as a nation? The shops are
empty," he added.
Eldred Masunugure, a lecturer in political science at the University of
Zimbabwe, said the government has managed successfully to push out Ncube
as it did not want to be seen clashing with the Catholic church.
Mugabe, 83, is a Catholic.
"The government did not want to deal with him whilst he was wearing the
Roman Catholic garb, they wanted to deal with him personally," he said.
Mugabe's position has also been consolidated by the division within the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), since its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai decided to boycott senate elections last November.
Early this month, Tsvangirai was detained briefly by police and later
charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly causing mayhem when he
toured retail shops last month.
"With Tsvangirai they tried everything, they charged him with treason
and that could not suffice, now they are charging him with disorderly
conduct. They beat him up in March, and at one stage tried to beat him
whilst he was in hospital," Saidi said.
Rights activist Lovemore Madhuku said that the government crackdown
against critics will continue. "By charging Tsvangirai for that petty
issue, they want to show who is in power," he said.
"When they placed those cameras in Pius Ncube's bedroom, they wanted to
show that they can do anything to anyone... and show who is in charge.
They have managed to do just that."
Takura Zhangazha, a Harare-based political analyst, said despite the
scheming by Mugabe's government towards perceived foes, people are not
relenting, citing a two-day job stayaway called for next week by the
labour union to protest the economic meltdown in the country.
Charging Tsvangirai with disorderly conduct was a ploy by the ruling
party to hit back at him after he paid a week-long visit to Australia,
Mugabe's foe country which recently cancelled the visas of eight
Zimbabwean students whose parents are linked to the regime, said Zhangazha.
"It's now a bit of tit-for-tat between (ruling) ZANU-PF and the MDC", he
But deputy information minister Bright Matonga dismissed allegations
that the government of Mugabe was deliberately out to silence his
arch-critics, explaining that they deserved what they got.
"Tsvangirai is an agent of imperialism and he won't be spared if he
commits a crime... Ncube resigned on his own and that is an admission
that he committed a crime," he charged.
"The government is not suing Pius Ncube. He has the platform to do what
he wants, but he knows as government what we are capable of doing. But
this is not a threat against him," he said. - Sapa-AFP
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