Mangaung 2012: Why not “Zuma Moment”?
Being a keen observer on the political terraces one cannot fail to be mesmerized by the mystery of the African politics. With Mangaung around the corner, the stakes are high; the risks immeasurable for those who will dare throw their hats into the ring. Sink or swim will be the only options. One small slip can be career damaging. It begs the question: Whither ANC? Whither South Africa?
While Polokwane 2007 may have been sweet for those who won in the end, it created a deadly cancer which would continue to eat the mighty movement from within. Nip it before it spreads any further is what the ANC should do. Just one year after Jacob Zuma took the high office in the land, some of his erstwhile comrades were already said to be nicodemusly plotting his downfall.
The maneuvering began crippling delivery and Msholozi has become the most sabotaged President of South Africa. Not only were the clandestine activities confined to the opposition as had been the previous years. It was now one you sup with. One who knew your goings and your comings. An enemy within proved to be too strong for the bald headed president.
Caught up in the cobweb of friendly enemies, at least initially, the man never got a chance to breathe. Even delivery of some of the key outcomes from Polokwane was overshadowed by the grotesque picture created by strikes and unnecessary service delivery protests that often manifested as violent orgies. On every turn there were detractors using whatever means at their disposal both covert and, as time went by, overt means.
In one of my writings I mention that, apart from the regime-change saboteurs within the ANC, there seemed to have an intricate network which included the opposition, the media, to an extend business and some in the judiciary who took it upon themselves to engage in covert manoeuvres to influence the political future of the country.
The most lethal of this group being the media who gladly fed the rumour mill with their favorite “insider” stories. Why not? The media also became the greatest beneficiary from sales of newspapers and other ways.
The recent COSATU congress brought up an interesting term. The “Lula moment” coined after Brazil’s ex President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva who although he had humble beginnings in the first term in office is credited as the greatest president due to the economic turnaround he inspired in his second term. Is it not time South Africa receive a “Zuma Moment”. Does our Zuma have his own Lula effect?
I think yes. This is a man who is out to prove the most vehement critics wrong. Here is a man who is not shy of taking bold decisions. Look at how he revolutionalised the education and health departments’ budgets. Look at how housing delivery advanced during his four years so far. Look at a bold President who unlike his predecessor Thabo Mbeki dealt summarily with the problem child Julius. What manner of father would fail to discipline his child? Look at how he is committed to the rule of law.
Think of how he handled the Spear Saga like no other African President I know would have done. Look at how he has been pursuing the Zimbabwean issue and the African agenda without fear or favour. Despite all the sabotaging, by friends and enemies alike, back home he has remained resolute.
Look at how he has weathered the pressure to enact senseless populist policies which many had expected from a man they deemed to be not so endowed academic-wise. Mangaung must give South Africa this man a chance for him to govern without undue pressure from within.
There is no reason for a repeat Polokwane. Jacob Zuma, unlike Thabo Mbeki, is not trying to perpetuate his presidency by running for a third term. Give him his second. The others must know that the queue is moving and their turn will soon come also. Party stability, unity and sanity should transcend petty power struggles. Otherwise we will soon see the mighty party fall by the wayside and deny Africa a chance to prove to the world that African liberation movements can lead in peace and prosperity also.
A Polokwane repeat will only serve to entrench a culture of sabotage and political maneuverings into the ANC. We may wake up the next day and see that clandestine meetings to dislodge have already started and we will forever trip ourselves to our disadvantage. ANC, South African, let’s go for a Zuma moment.