Today Telegraph newspaper and The Associated Press reported that Republic of Congo president Sassou-Nguesso lied about former South African president Nelson Mandela having written a foreword on his new book Straight Speaking for Africa.
Nelson Mandela Foundation acting chief executive Verne Harris told Telegraph newspaper that “Mr Mandela has neither read the book nor written a foreword for it. We condemn this brazen abuse of Mr Mandela’s name.”
He said the claim was ‘outrageous’ and that ‘absolutely no request has ever been received and nothing has been signed by Madiba’.
Actually, I am not surprised by this claim given some of Madiba’s grandson’s claim to be selling the old man’s funeral before he even dies, Sunday World reported in May this year. How, in foundation’s acting chief executive’s words: ‘outrageous’. However, he later denied the claims here and there.
At the time Sunday World newspaper reported that “Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela stands accused of receiving more than R3 million for the exclusive rights to Madiba’s funeral – when he dies – to the SABC.
“Mandla is also accused of hiding the details of this lucrative deal with the national broadcaster from other members of the Mandela family”.
In the report, the newspapers claims to have established that a source working on the M Project, as it came to be known – and everybody working on the project were forced to sign a confidentiality clause and sworn to secrecy – was forced to outsource the money for the project as it was hoping to make multi-million rand profit by sub-selling certain rights related to the force statesman’s funeral other local and international TV channels.
According to The Guardian online and Telegraph the foreword read thus: “In President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, I recognise a man who is not only one of our great African leaders … but also one of those who gave their unconditional support to our fighters’ demand for freedom, and who worked tirelessly to free oppressed peoples from their chains and help restore their dignity and hope”.
“The Mandela name is frequently abused for commercial gain, but his supposedly endorsing a figure such as Mr Sassou-Nguesso – a dictator whose elections are regularly boycotted by the opposition – is even more damaging reported Telegraph and that a spokesman for Michel Lafon, the publisher said “the preface was provided to us by the author of the book, who is a head of state” and declined to answer when asked if “the book would be withdrawn”
The Guardian on the other hand said: “Officials in Sassou-Nguesso’s government said they were unable to respond to the statement”.
A few days later, it emerged from The Citizen newspaper that SA Human Settlement Minister Tokyo Sexwale – although he dismissed the calims – “was allegedly the middle man who authorised the use of Mandela’s words in a biography of Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso“.
“But in an attempt to set the record straight, Sexwale’s spokesman Chris Vick said the minister had stated that if remarks by the former president were to be used they should not be presented as a foreword.
His statements were backed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive Achmat Dangor who revealed that Sexwale had been approached by the Sassous-Nguesso’s representatives asking that Mandela write a foreword for their leader,” reported The Citizen newspaper.
Will Madiba rest in peace if sold alive and lied about?