Tuesday, 18 December 2007

THABO BRUISING A LESSON FOR AFRICA

The election of Jacob Zuma as ANC leader is a good sign for Africa, that democracy can prevail even in ruling parties across the continent used to leaders who grow roots in the seats of power. Not that Zuma is the best man for the eventual job of South African president, but Thabo Mbeki is to blame.
He should have, at the earliest possible time, gave a clear indication that he would leave at the end of his two term tenure. Others more capable than Zuma could have emerged to compete among themselves while Mbeki watched on the sidelines.
Mbeki should have followed the path left by his predecessor, Nelson Mandela, who gave up the presidency after only one term. Had Mandela wanted, he would have stayed on, Mugabe-style, even into his late 80s. After all he had the charisma as well as the love of the people he presided, not ruled, over. If anything, Mandela is still loved not only in South Africa but all over the world and everyone could have sympathised with him and granted him the favour of carrying on.
Yes, Mbeki is the intellectual who has presided over a strong South African economy, but he lost it politically by trying to cling on to power even by proxy as party president. The ANC rank and file would not have it and just pulled the rag from under his feet. That he has been given a bruising by Zuma, is in itself a vote of no confidence and one wonders how he is going to work in his executive capacity with the new team in the ruling party.
The most logical thing to do is to vacate the presidency and call for national elections so that Zuma can take over as state president as well.
Mbeki’s defeat should send serious signals to the rest of Africa where the likes of Bakili Muluzi still want to come back to power, the Mugabes still run unopposed at ZANU congresses and in Zambia, the ruling party is still flip-flopping on a possible successor. Zambia risks a Zuma-like take over with a possibly “undesirable” element likely to take over. Such is the sorry state in which the African continent is in politically.
The ANC, being the oldest political party on the continent, has shown the way to proper democracy for the rest of Africa.
Hamba Kahle, Thabo.

9 comments:

Nkhula21 said...

I am a little bit ambivalent about the election of Zuma. I do not think Mbeki wanted to cling to power. I think Tutu explained it better when he said; "We do not want someone who is going to embarass us." I think South Africa deserves better.

Zuma has exhibited a pattern of irrational behavior; showering after having unprotected sex with a known HIV carrier, he is known to have received bribes from government contracts, etc.

I think Mbeki's idea was to prevent Zuma, who was the heir apparent, from succeeding him and pave the way for someone else.

South Africa has so many brilliant people, and you wonder where they are right now. I am apprehensive about people without education ascending to the helm. One philosopher once said: "There is nothing more dangerous than a powerful fool." That is exactly what will happen in South Africa.

Nkhula21 said...

Gershom,
Here is someone who explains it better (From BBC website):

I am deeply saddened, I don't believe Zuma is the right man to pull South Africa in the right direction. He has instead shown ignorance of a devastating disease ravaging the country, propogating idiotic practices that just confirm what some people actually believe. He is a populist unlikely to change the politics of the region, expecially the difficulties in Zimbabwe, in which though Mbeki was not particularly dynamic still could be trusted to put some pressure on Mugabe. This is tragic.

Kj, Cobham

Gershom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gershom said...

I am not saying Zuma is the best. There are people like Cyril Ramaphosa who should have been given the chance to take SA to even higher heights, but for some reason they held back. Alternatively, Tokyo Sexwale could have taken over, but he was "blocked" by the Mbeki factor until he threw in his lot with Zuma.
This is also the prospect we face in Zambia. There are people who are morally not supposed to take over the presidency but at the rate things are going, better people will be shunted aside!
For the Mbeki/Zuma battle, it is the principle I support rather than Zuma's ascendancy.

Nkhula21 said...

Gershom,
You are right, in hindsight it looks like Mbeki was given his own medicine. In 1997 I wrote a story from Jannesburg based on a well written book titled "When Mandela goes." I desperately wanted to know who Mbeki was and where he came from. That book explained everything.

At a conference where Mandela was elected ANC president after being released from prison, the party elders agreed the younger generation (Mbeki's) should not be allowed to run for the five top most position to prevent a fight that had already ensued between then party secretary general, Ramaphosa, and youth leader Thabo Mbeki. While Ramaphosa obeyed, Mbeki, who was so popular among the youth, shrewdly campaigned. Before party elders realized his name was on the ballot, and the process could not be reversed.

That is how most of us who watched Mandela being sworn in from a distance wondered who the short man on Mandela's right hand side. It was Mbeki, an enigma at the time to the international community.

After having his turn, he should have reached out to Ramaphosa. It is no wonder that some people are suggesting people did not actually vote for Zuma, they voted against Mbeki. If Zuma becomes president and ruins South Africa, history will judge Mbeki harshly.

Nkhula21 said...

There is an interesting article written by a British journalism. I published it on the home page of www.integritynewz.com under Opinion and Analysis. You might want to look at it.

Gershom said...

Nkhula,
That is an interesting piece there! Yes, indeed, Mbeki betrayed the cause. Imagine all the people that died and got maimed in the struggle, from Chief Albert Luthuli to little known poet Solomon Mahlangu, to giants like Steve Biko, even his father, Goven, who all fought not only against apartheid but for democracy, to be confronted by the obstinacy and even shortsightedness of President Mbeki. They must have turned in their graves before the events at Polokwane.
But, as I have said, this defiance for the "muyayaya" type of leaders should spread like fire in the Savannah of Africa. It is only this way that we can end the illusion that leaders assume the God's infallibility and should not be challenged even from within.
His moral fragility aside, J Zed is my man for now. He has paved the way for all us to tread on.

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