Dashiki Dialogues: Zuma’s failures could prove to be a blessing

2014-04-09 10:00

In his grandest failures as president of our country and of Africa’s oldest liberation movement, Jacob Zuma may have given our democracy its most important opportunity yet.

By being so bad at his job and by allowing himself to become the embodiment of all that is wrong with both the ANC and our democracy, the man from Nkandla might have helped to ignite a much-needed introspective conversation within his party and the state as a whole.

Nkandlagate, for instance, which involved the squandering of R245?million on renovations at his homestead, might be the last straw.

It might just be the thorn that pricks everybody to finally demand a candid chat about what we need to perfect the promise of our democracy.

It is remarkable that so many voices from among the general public and leaders across party political persuasions and ideological moulds agree that our dream needs a reboot.

I’ve observed with interest the litany of leaders and respected political figures from within the ANC itself stepping up to speak out against his leadership.

Recently, these have included Ronnie Kasrils.

The former intelligence minister is reported to have said he is now unable to tell people to unequivocally vote for the ANC.

Then there’s Pallo Jordan, the party’s national executive member who bemoaned that “scandals, financial or otherwise, have undermined the ANC’s credibility”.

Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba is even praying for truth over the matter.

This week, Mavuso Msimang, a veteran member of the ANC also joined the fray by imploring the ANC “to halt its abuse of power”.

Msimang wrote an article in which he cried that “in a healthy society, wrongdoers accept the consequences of their actions.

In our society, those who dare express themselves in ways that might contradict the official position are subjected to whispering campaigns and vicious, personalised attacks for daring to speak out”.

Msimang is a member of the Liliesleaf Farm branch of the ANC and a member of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ League.

Consider that Zuma’s tainted name as a kept president, too, might finally get us talking about how capital usurps people’s power in democracies.

This as we look at the Zuma administration’s relationship with mining bosses that made the Marikana massacre possible.

The president’s ugly dashiki might lead us to a blessed dialogue in reverse.

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