Zuma support

2007-11-27 00:00

The process of electing the next president for the African National Congress will only be completed at the party’s national conference in Polokwane next month but, unless that conference throws up some unexpected surprises, the signs are already clear that Jacob Zuma will be elected. Voting patterns last weekend indicate that he has majority support from the branches in five of the country’s provinces, including the most populous ones, while Thabo Mbeki has the support of the remaining four.

The country will in all likelihood face an awkward period with the presidency of the ANC and the presidency of the nation being held by two different leaders — and rivals —until the next general election in 2009. Will Mbeki bring Zuma back into government? Will he decide to call an earlier election?

It would be wiser not to disturb the existing time-frame, especially if corruption charges are to be reopened against Zuma next year. The bulk of the ANC electorate seems to be assuming that there is little likelihood of a new court trial for Zuma, perhaps especially if he is the ANC’s president, but there can at this stage be no certainty on that point at all.

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