|Letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, regarding Formal farewell ceremony for the outgoing President of the Republic from the UDM President (23 September 2008)|
Given that the outgoing President of the Republic is leaving office it is appropriate to bid him farewell in an official ceremony as befits a Head of State. A ceremonial send-off at Parliament would be apt since this Parliament has twice elected this individual to the highest office in the land.
Contrary to what we were told through the media last week, that President Mbeki was being recalled as a result of Judge Nicholson's ruling, yesterday we witnessed the ANC's national leadership publicly singing his praises and referring to his many successes in office. We also note that President Mbeki has started legal proceedings to appeal Judge Nicholson's inferences, which further emphasises the fact that the ANC acted with unseemly haste to interfere in matters of state without even allowing the affected person an opportunity to answer the inferences made against him. If indeed President Mbeki is leaving office voluntarily and not being removed because of any wrongdoing on his part, there can be absolutely no excuse not to honour him with a full state farewell ceremony.
He deserves a dignified exit with full military honours as he was Commander-in-Chief for nearly a decade. Such a ceremony will not only provide Parliament with the opportunity to pay tribute to his achievements and reflect on his legacy, but will also allow Heads of State from SADC, Africa and further abroad to bid farewell to a man who in his capacity as our leader sealed many negotiations and agreements with them.
I would also seriously recommend that the incoming President and Executive hold a similar separate function to pay tribute to their predecessors, once they assume office.
Bantu Holomisa, MP