Ping supporters' attack on Zuma shoddy and divisive
The Times Editorial: What hope do we have as a continent when an honest leadership race is turned into an ugly slanging match?
The meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday, convened to discuss serious issues facing the continent, and to elect the next chairman of the AU Commission, turned ugly when campaigners for the incumbent, Jean Ping, launched a stinging attack on President Jacob Zuma.
They accused him of trying to use his former wife, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for "selling the continent out" to international financial institutions.
Dlamini-Zuma is challenging Ping for the chairmanship of the commission, a top post.
In a letter reportedly written by Ping's campaigners addressed to all the heads of state involved in electing the new chairman, Zuma is accused of using Dlamini-Zuma as a Trojan horse for the benefit of international financial institutions.
According to Ping's supporters, South Africa does not deserve the post.
Though the contest is intended to give Africa the best possible candidate, dirty politics are spoiling it.
The accusation that Zuma runs a country the economy of which is dominated by foreigners is just below the belt.
If we are to judge candidates on the basis of whether their economies are foreign-dominated, no AU member state would be holding a position today.
Why is South Africa punished for the role it plays internationally? The human and financial support it gives to the continent has proved that all the country wants is to see Africa rise from the ashes of war and economic gloom.
South Africa, just like other countries on the continent, has every right to challenge for any position in the AU.
If this continent is to make progress, its leaders must discourage such ugly rivalries and power plays.