'Loyal servant' Winnie to run for president?

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is ready to join the leadership race of the African National Congress (ANC), the Sowetan newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Madikizela-Mandela’s publicist Malcolm X said: “If the ANC nominates her, she will not say no, she is the loyal servant of her people.”

The paper said it had learned that senior ANC members had been streaming to her home in Orlando, Soweto, since last year to request her to accept nomination or to support them.

Despite reports that ANC branches have nominated President Thabo Mbeki and former deputy president Jacob Zuma, the party is still to officially announce the names of leaders nominated for the top six positions. The ANC will elect a new party leader at a conference in Polokwane from December 16 to 20.

In fact, Madikizela-Mandela could be nominated from the floor, as happened during the 1997 conference for the deputy president’s position.

Then she declined the nomination, allowing Zuma to become the deputy president.

Crystal ball

Political analyst Susan Booysen said on Monday it is hard to gauge who has the edge—Mbeki or Zuma—in the final stretch of the race.

Booysen puts her money on Mbeki, a shrewd party tactician who made his name lobbying against apartheid in exile.

“Don’t we wish we had a crystal ball?” she said.

“If I had a gun at my back and I had to choose, with reluctance, I would choose Mbeki ... Given that he has incredible resources to draw on, it’s almost unimaginable to think he can’t pull it off.” - Sapa, Reuters



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