JOHANNESBURG – Former US President Barack Obama used his Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on Tuesday to warn and harshly critique politicians who disregard facts and use ‘strongman politics.’
Obama delivering the lecture in front of thousands of people at The Wanderers, attended by several high profile guests and dignitaries such as businessman Patrice Motsepe, Gracia Marcel and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The former US president cautioned against the rejection of facts, saying it could lead to the undoing of democracy.
“Unfortunately too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up.”
Many saw his comments as thinly veiled criticism of his successor Donald Trump.
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) July 17, 2018
Obama said that there is a growing tendency of continuous lying by politicians.
“We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they just come up with a lie and lie some more.”
The former US president said the denial of facts, like the denial of human rights, is against the principles of democracy.
His comments were met with thunderous applause when he said that real democracy means government exists to serve the people.
He said, “Democracy depends on strong institutions and it’s about minority rights, checks and balances, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and a free press.”
Obama referred to the legacy of the South African struggle icon Mandela as he spoke about the need for change in the world and for young people to continue to march and raise their voice.
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