Last week everyone was talking about the open letter Kenny Kunene – otherwise known as The Sushi King – wrote to President Jacob Zuma. Never one to shy away from controversy, Kenny Kunene then went on radio with Kaya FM and said some pretty intense things about Secretary-General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe. The ANC decided to release an official statement on the matter. Here’s what they had to say:
ANC Statement on fallacious utterances of a character called Kenny Kunene
The African National Congress is outraged by the ludicrous claims made about the Secretary-General of the ANC, Comrade Gwede Mantashe, on Kaya FM this morning by a character called Kenny Kunene. When these utterances started last week, the ANC regarded these as being part of being a broader oppositionist assault against the ANC intended to harm the integrity of the ANC and its leadership as the country prepares for the General Elections in 2014. It has now become clear that we are dealing with an individual of dubious character with no political mores or basic decency, intent to harm the African National Congress and its leadership with impunity. This character seeks cheap publicity to bolster his questionable political ambitions by hurling insults at our leaders and our movement.
The statements made that the Secretary-General, in private gatherings criticises the ANC President must never be accepted at face value as it is part of a campaign to divide the ANC leadership and weaken our organisation. It is not a new phenomenon and predates even this current conjecture of our struggle, such we saw recently just before Manguang when others sought to sow division between once again, the President and the SG. Colonialism, apartheid and many other individuals , throughout history, have failed to divide the leadership of the ANC. Kenny Kunene and his handlers will also fail. Let this desperate and loose cannon that is parading this fallacious notion tell us and the nation in which private gatherings the SG was meant to have said these statements. The SG does not even know this character, has never met him and certainly never spoke to him about the ANC or any other matter, however trivial. He claims to be a member of the ANC, seeking to give credence and weight to his nonsensical utterances, we do not have a record of him as a member of the ANC and we don't doubt that such characters would never be harboured within our organisation. This person must tell us when were such statements made and to whom. It is unfortunate that we must even glory this individual with a response as his statements are not worthy of a response from our glorious movement, however we will not allow this nonsensical and disrespectful behaviour against our leaders to continue unabated.
Once again, it is reiterated that the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress is composed of capable men and women who have been elected in a democratic process by the members of the ANC. This misguided and fallacious notion that the NEC fears President Zuma cannot be further from the truth. Self-righteous fellows of questionable morals spearheading a Mangaung hangover miss the basic and indisputable fact that members of the ANC are proceeding with our historic mission of building a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous nation. The ANC is not sitting awaiting permission and directives from some dictator to do so nor from Kenny Kunene and his ilk.
The ANC remans committed to upholding the right of all people to criticise the ANC and its leadership where such is necessitated. In fact, a core principle of the ANC is criticism and self-criticism which we practice robustly within our structures. Calling our leaders snakes, saying others “must be men” goes beyond acceptable debate and shall not be tolerated. We shall, where necessary, act against such behaviour to protect the integrity and good name of the African National Congress. Insults to our leaders are not freedom of speech and are not protected by our constitutional dispensation. We reserve the right to act against these individuals within the context of our constitutional prescripts.
The African National Congress shall not waste its time anymore on this character and therefore shall not entertain any questions or interviews in this regard.
African National Congress
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers