Press Statement By
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
From our first campaign speech to our closing rally yesterday, neither the media nor our opponents have found a single reason to attack the IFP. We have run this campaign with the kind of integrity that is the hallmark of the IFP, without resorting to mudslinging or empty rhetoric.
But clearly the success of our campaign has rattled our opponents. So much so that the ANC Women’s League in KwaZulu Natal has chosen to attack us on something we never even said. That is the level of desperation to tarnish the IFP.
This morning a scurrilous report appeared in Isolezwe claiming that I called for women’s “private parts” to be searched at voting stations. I said no such thing. But the importance of correcting this lie was far too great for me to leave it unchallenged. I therefore visited Isolezwe this afternoon with a video of my full speech and challenged both the journalist and the editor to point out where I made this outlandish statement.
Faced with the simple evidence, Isolezwe had to agree that the report was incorrect. The editor immediately offered to print a retraction in tomorrow’s edition, as well as an apology.
But the problem with reporting lies like this is that the damage is already done. Those who read the article no doubt believe that the IFP has lost its marbles. Whatever the journalist’s agenda in printing a false report, it is clear why the ANC Women’s League jumped at the chance to defame me, without bothering to check the facts.
In truth, what I said at our closing rally yesterday was that, in the past, extra ballot papers were discovered in KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga. Upon investigation, the IEC discovered that voters were smuggling pre-marked ballot papers into voting stations and slipping them into the ballot box. These pre-marked ballots were concealed in voters’ clothing, with some women even putting them in their bras.
This is a simple fact of what the IEC has had to watch for in the past, and something we must be vigilant for in this election. If we do not actively seek to prevent electoral fraud and manipulation, this will not be a free and fair election. The shenanigans of the past are ample evidence that some parties care less about a democratic outcome than they do about power.
I am deeply insulted by the allegations of the ANC Women’s League. If my mother had been alive, I can only wonder what she would say. As it is, my wife is bewildered by this angle of attack, for I have always respected the rights and dignity of women.
This baseless attack must be condemned as the worst kind of political mudslinging.