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Bishop Desmond Tutu tells South Africans: I’m not voting for Nelson Mandela’s former party

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Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu Wednesday celebrated 20 years of freedom in South Africa as a “heck of an achievement”, while confirming that he would not vote for the ruling party in upcoming elections.

Anglican archbishop emeritus Tutu, 82, is still regarded as a moral beacon for South Africa in the mould of the first post-apartheid president Nelson Mandela, who led the country from 1994 to 1999.

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But he has been openly critical of current President Jacob Zuma’s graft-tainted administration and said last year he would no longer vote for Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC).

At a news conference in Cape Town’s St George’s cathedral, however, he chose to highlight the positives in a country once ruled by the racist apartheid ideology which earned it the sobriquet “polecat of the world”.

“We should pat ourselves on our backs when you think where we have come from,” he said, breaking into his characteristic cackle.

He said he sometimes stopped and simply watched children of all colours heading for the same school on a weekday morning — something unimaginable in apartheid South Africa.

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But, while he avoided direct criticism of Zuma and the current ANC government, he said they did not match up to Mandela — who died in December — and the other liberation leaders around him.

“We have to admit that not too many of the successors of those leaders have been able to fill their shoes. But the shoes were enormous.”

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Tutu, whose speeches and interviews are often filled with wisecracking humour, was hesitant in answering many questions after saying he did not want to be accused of trying to influence the May 7 vote so close to the elections.

But when pressed he did indicate, if indirectly, his discontent with the corruption in government and the lingering poverty in the country, saying it was a “disgrace” that people went to bed hungry.

– ‘Heavy heart’ –

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Although close to the ANC during the years of struggle against white-minority rule — Mandela spent his first night as a free man after his release from prison in Tutu’s home — the archbishop said last year he would no longer vote for the ruling party.

“I didn’t struggle in order to remove one set of those who thought they were tin gods and replace them with others who are tempted to think they are,” he once said of South Africa’s new leaders.

At the news conference on Wednesday he said: “I have said I won’t vote for them and say it with a very heavy heart.”

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On the current leadership he said: “There are some good people and some very good people and some mediocre people…” before trailing off.

Next month’s national elections are seen as a test of whether corruption, arrogance and enduring poverty after 20 years of ANC rule will hurt the party credited with ending apartheid.

The clergyman’s refusal to vote for the ANC has been echoed in the run-up to the election by a group of former ANC stalwarts led by former intelligence minister and communist party member Ronnie Kasrils.

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The group called last week for voters to choose one of the smaller opposition parties or spoil their ballots in protest against what they see as a betrayal of the ANC’s principles.

Tutu told the news conference they were simply trying to dissuade people from being “voting cattle”.

The ANC is, however, expected to win the election easily — riding on its “struggle” credentials — but possibly with a reduced majority.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘Go look at President Trump’s Twitter’: Portland right-wing rally organizer claims ‘mission success’

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The organizer of a far-right rally in Portland, Oregon claimed the event was a "success" after President Donald Trump attacked Portlandiers protesting the group.

"A confluence of protesters on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum merged on Portland’s waterfront Saturday in a tense but relatively uneventful face-off that brought national attention, including a tweet in the hours before the protest by President Trump decrying the city’s signature anti-fascist movement," the Oregonian reported Saturday.

When a similar right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia killed Heather Heyer, Trump argued there were "fine people" on both sides of the "Unite the Right" rally.

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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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