Not coping that well

A YEAR ago Cope exploded onto the country's political scene. Since its leaders had some liberation cred the party was elevated by many as the most likely opposition to the ANC.

A YEAR ago Cope exploded onto the country's political scene. Since its leaders had some liberation cred the party was elevated by many as the most likely opposition to the ANC.

Adding clout to their initiatives, Cope leaders - especially former ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa - claimed to have had enough of the ANC's hunger for power and its alleged propensity for riding roughshod over the Constitution.

Using President Jacob Zuma's moral probity Cope also flew the morality flag .

Even then the party's detractors argued that the formation was based on sour grapes and anger. Its founders were angry because they were not part of the new ANC ruling elite, some argued.

Now the key figures who led the "divorce process against the ANC" are at each other's throat.

There are charges of misappropriation of public funds and accusations of inept leadership.

This, unfortunately, tarnishes the almost squeaky clean image the Cope's founders had punted.

One cannot help but be cynical and say what is happening to Cope is typical of political parties - they are run by individuals who think mainly of themselves.

Lekota hinted at this when he said this week that those running a negative campaign against him were keen on getting rid of the present leadership.

The reality of what he is saying is in fact that at the centre of the tiff between him and the Shilowa camp is the coming national elective conference, where for first time the party will democratically elect new leaders.

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