Sunday, May 26, 2013

ANC-DA crossfire hits Obama as Muslims declare him 'morally bankrupt'

No Fear No favour no freedom.............................


MIDDLE MAN: US President Barack Obama is due to visit SA, Tanzania and Senegal next month

A highly anticipated visit by US President Barack Obama is set to be soured by a row over whether Cape Town will be allowed to grant him and his wife, Michelle, the freedom of the city.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille announced in May last year that the US 's first couple would become the first foreigners to be given the award - but, with only a month to go, President Jacob Zuma's office has remained silent on the Obama visit and refuses to divulge information on his itinerary.
Two Muslim organisations have spoken out against the award , saying Obama is as "morally bankrupt as any of his predecessors".
And the ANC in the Cape Town city council has condemned the granting of the award as "political expediency" on the part of the DA, which holds the council majority.
Obama's June 26 to July 3 African visit - including his first to South Africa as head of state - will also take in Tanzania and Senegal.
Zuma's office seems uneasy about the "freedom" request, and ANC insiders have privately voiced concerns that a Cape Town sideshow might shift the focus from official business and become part of a political point-scoring exercise.
De Lille said this week that she had not received confirmation from either Zuma or Cooperative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi that Obama would travel to Cape Town.
She said Obama had already accepted the honour and all that remained was for him to receive it in person.
It was all up to Zuma, she said.
"I don't know the head of state's itinerary. Everything is done through President Zuma's office because Obama is a head of state.
"So we've been in contact all the time with the president's office. It is up to the president's office to work with [Obama's] office to make the necessary arrangements," she said.
Zuma will receive Obama in Pretoria as part of the state visit. It falls to the host country to approve the proposed itinerary of a visiting head of state after consultations.
De Lille's announcement sparked outrage from Cape Town's Muslim community when it was made last year.
In a letter to Zuma condemning the award, the Media Review Network and the Muslim Judicial Council wrote: "Obama's intimate role in authorising US drone attacks overseas is a cold-blooded account of how he and his disciples in Washington decide on who will live and who must die."
The organisations urged Zuma not to allow the DA to make "political capital" out of Obama's visit.
"The political game played by the DA does not serve the national interest. On the contrary, it has the potential to create a huge international row for our country that will have wide ramifications both politically and economically."
The issue leaves Zuma with the political headache of having to decide whether to allow the Cape Town leg of the visit and risk the wrath of the ANC in the Western Cape as well as the Muslim groups - or plan a trip that excludes any ceremony in Cape Town, at the risk of being accused of petty politics.
The ANC, which is the official opposition in the Cape Town city council, disagreed with the original decision to confer the award on Obama. It accused the DA of trying to use the event to garner support ahead of the 2014 elections.
"We've always believed that the reason Cape Town wants to do it is because they want to try to get credibility by association. It is just like the DA campaign [in which ] they claim they were associated with Mandela," said Tony Ehrenreich, ANC leader in the Cape Town council.
"We were worried that it was a politically expedient thing ... Clearly, the way they were doing it was to advance some party political interest."
The DA "didn't work with the International Relations Department. They just made announcements all over the show," said Ehrenreich.
De Lille disputed this, insisting that all necessary processes had been followed.
"The office of the president was informed about this. The minister of cooperative governance was informed about this. It is perfectly within our rights and within the city's policy and they accepted it like that."
However, cooperative governance spokesman Ngamula Nkuna said the City of Cape Town had not followed protocol when announcing the award.
"The usual protocol is that it must be dealt with through the Department of International Relations and the Presidency, especially when that person is a head of state, like Obama.
"It's not like you are honouring an academic or somebody ... For a head of state, it involves the relations between two countries," Nkuna said.
"The City of Cape Town was quick to announce before they could complete processes.
"Obviously, Obama is one of the very popular world leaders. We would like for him to be honoured in South Africa. It's just that they have to complete these protocols."
Nkuna said the matter was now in the hands of the Presidency and the Department of International Relations. The Presidency referred questions to the department, whose spokesman, Clayson Monyela, said the Cape Town issue was not on its agenda.
"It has nothing to do with country-to-country relations. Even if it was vice versa, if President Zuma was to visit the US and a city wanted to honour him, we'd have nothing to do with it," said Monyela.
He could not confirm whether Obama would visit other cities besides Pretoria because the programme had yet to be finalised.
It has emerged that the White House has requested that Obama be allowed to see former president Nelson Mandela - as he did on a previous visit, in 2006, when he toured Africa as the junior senator from Illinois.
Obama has also asked to visit Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in Cape Town. Michelle Obama visited Tutu when she travelled to South Africa two years ago.
The approval of his requests to see Tutu - who has been awarded the freedom of the City of Cape Town - would give the city an opportunity to organise the ceremony.
Roger Friedman, a spokes-man for the Desmond Tutu Foundation, said there had been discussions with the Americans about a possible meeting.
"We are aware that contact has been made but there is no plan as yet," said Friedman.
Jack Hillmeyer, a spokesman for the US embassy in Pretoria, said he could not say whether Obama would travel to Cape Town. "We don't have any more information to disclose at this point. We are only discussing the country that he's travelling to and not the cities he's going to. The White House has not released that.
"He will certainly be meeting with a wide variety of leaders from government, business and civil society," said Hillmeyer.

Times Live

We really do not think so.

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