Former President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday said “something has gone wrong” with political parties in Africa today, who are in stark contrast to the parties of the liberation movements which fought against corruption.
“They would talk about being servants of the people. Because in the end, you could get shot and get killed, you are not in the liberation movement because of a position, but it puts you in the first line of fire,” he said, referring to past political parties.
Speaking at a conference on African solutions to African problems in Pretoria on Thursday night, Mbeki called out leaders of political parties of today for being money-hungry and only concerned with filling up their own pockets. He questioned whether any parties today could still say they served people.
“Answers don’t come from political parties, they come from somewhere else. [Parties] pretend that it comes from them,” he said.
The former president also spoke about how solving African problems would come from intelligentsia that looked “critically at what has happened.” Mbeki pointed out how the disappearance of pan-African movements was a problem:
“Once, we had a very strong and vibrant all-African students movement with affiliates,” he said.
“The pan-African youth movement, similar, where is it? The pan-African women’s organisation; why have all these organisations disappeared? Your organisation of African trade union movements, I don’t see it, I don’t hear of it, why?
“Even bodies like the all-Africa conference of churches, why is it not there? What is it that happened that has led to this layer of continental progressive organisations to disappear?
“We have got to reactivate our trade unions and women’s organisations,” he said.