Probe explosive arms deals now

Something about the corridors of power can turn an idealistic, bright and honest leader into a national liability.

Something about the corridors of power can turn an idealistic, bright and honest leader into a national liability.

Let's hope that whatever addles the brains of so many national liberation leaders north of us does not trickle south.

President Thabo Mbeki could leave a legacy of great statesmanship, which would honour us all. But things are not looking good.

His unwavering support of old friends and colleagues through good times and bad is an admirable trait. But a statesman must sometimes abandon his own inclinations in the interest of the nation he serves.

Mbeki has reached such a turning point and can no longer credibly claim that the multibillion-rand arms deal he shepherded as vice president was all above board.

From the beginning, the limited inquiry he instituted looked to many like a cover up. Despite its absolutions, two top ANC colleagues have already been convicted for their indiscretions and almost 50 others have been fingered.

Now Germany and the UK, two of our partner nations supplying the goods, want South Africa to help them uncover their nationals' role in the affair.

With the greatest respect and affection, Mr President, we beg you to reassess your priorities and, in the national interest, order a comprehensive and unfettered inquiry into this whole sordid mess.

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