I read Julius Caesar during my matric year; I thoroughly enjoyed this Roman classic, its unparalleled lessons and relevancy to today’s political world. It is hard to read this classic without taking sides; good and evil, are the two sides of the same coin. Julius Caesar, like most politicians of our day, felt the need to lay his life for Roman people; and challenged the status quo of his day. His efforts paid out when he teamed up with Crassus and Pompey; much similar to SA events of 2007 when Mbeki was removed from power. Julius ascended to the throne of Roman politics and soon became very popular with the grassroots, common people; after all, he overthrew the conservative elite group that resisted real change for common people.
So far, so good…not very long till fellow senators began to spread rumours that Caesar had become nothing but a dictator that must be removed from power! Removed, Why? To save the poor people of Rome who are not educated enough to see his diabolic intentions! Romans, friends and country men, this is Caesar speaking: “We are doing it for you!”
Julius Caesar, like former president Mbeki, was always aware of his political adversaries within his own party and in their political alliance. Signs of insecurity took their toll in Caesar’s heart and mind; sometimes he’d confide to his closest generals and remarked about certain suspicious and evil looks he picked from some of the senators (ambitious Brutus). I can still recall so vividly, the day Mbeki remarked during one of his presidential addresses; taking a direct shot at the Alliance: ANC does not interfere with internal issues related to its partners (Tripartite Alliance); therefore, we do not expect them to dictate for ANC!
This statement and many similar others prior, did not go down well with COSATU and SACP leadership. Mbeki haters swelled up in their numbers, and the conspiracy to “save SA from his evil dictatorship” was conceived. Caesar had his nemesis and political foe in the person of Marcus Junius Brutus; who began to campaign tireless against Caesar’s leadership. Brutus recruited a band of men who shared the same hatred for Caesar; almost overnight…these guys met in the dark of the night, away from prying public eye and sought convenient ways to remove Caesar from office.
Thabo Mbeki’s nemesis and political foe came in the form of his former deputy president, Jacob Zuma. After the Arms Deal Scandal that put JZ on top of the pile of corruption, Mbeki had no choice but to relieve Zuma from his position as the deputy president. This was the beginning of the end of Mbeki as the president of the ANC. Gedleyihlekisa, as Zuma’s name suggests; lied low and pretended to be in full support of President Mbeki’s decision to remove him and remained a “true” cadre of the ANC. I want to believe that Mbeki like Caesar must have been fully aware that Zuma was conspiring against him all of the time. Mbeki also tried his best to confide to his closest confidantes within the ANC, in attempt to voice his imminent fears from his nemesis to topple him; to no avail. Nobody could grasp the temerity of his hunch; they told him not to fear, and how wrong they were.
Caesar was also not believed by his closest allies, they did not treat his fears with the same heaviness he felt in his heart. There is, somehow, almost this weird feeling, this cold fear from most leaders (especially political), the ability to sense their imminent death or pending assassination; they’d talk about it as if they’d been watching future replay of how their lives would end up. Pretty cold feeling… In Caesar’s opera, we find Brutus and the conspirators, finally getting their chance to remove Caesar from the powerful seat, albeit violently. Caesar is stabbed by conspirators with Brutus giving the final blow with his dagger; with Caesar gasping his last breath: Et tu, Brute? Even you, Brutus? I trusted you and never expected to die at your hands. Caesar gave up his ghost with his eyes locked on Brutus, their eyes connected and Brutus had nothing to say to the dying Caesar. The conspirators immediately ceased power and announced their arrival as a new government setup that saved the Roman people from Caesar the dictator! Some people bought into their lies, it would seem, momentarily, that almost all the people in the public arena supported the removal of Caesar at the bloody hands of the conspirators.
Brutus took to the podium and explained their mutiny; people responded positively and hailed Brutus. Then, Brutus made the mistake that he’d live to regret, he let Mark Anthony to also address the crowd; Mark was pro Caesar! Like the story goes, everything after Mark Anthony’s speech was history. The conspirators ran for their lives from the wrath of the Roman people and eventually, all of them were rounded off and summarily killed. Brutus, fell on his sword and committed suicide. Talk about politics and the death of a dream!
Back home in SA, I roll back the arms of time to 2007! Mbeki had a few more months left in his last term as the president of the Republic; fighting for his dear political life when his nemesis and backers started firing from all sides. They unleashed such powerful shots from their high calibre machine guns (accusing and attacking mouths). Mbeki like most political scapegoats, realized he was so all alone; there was nobody by his side, no sympathisers. ANCYL, COSATU and SACP celebrated with his nemesis as they licked the blood of their number 1 foe in Thabo Mbeki; finally dying as they predicted. Big celebrations like those that took place in Rome when Caesar was killed were the order of the day.
Conspirators saw their imminent payday looming very fast when Jacob Zuma was lined up to be president of the Republic unopposed. They were more interested in what they were going to gain from his elevation than the real hunger to serve us, the public of South Africa; they were in for their own stomachs and survival. State Corruption levels became worse and worse, as the new administration removed all former state organs like the public’s champions, the Scorpions; which were put up to fight corruption. To rub salt to the already festering wound, the ANC passed the cadre deployment policy, that saw thousands of former white apartheid public servants removed from the public employ.
Incompetent cadres took control over state organs like local town council resulting in deteriorating service delivery. South Africa has since been dogged by hundreds of the so called, service delivery strikes. The promised panacea guaranteed when Mbeki was removed, is yet to be seen. It would appear that Mbeki conspirators have forgotten about the poor public who believed their version and reasons for killing Caesar. The knives are out against former friends and strong allies. The day of reckoning has dawned upon us; it’s every man for himself! Julius Malema, Zwelinzima Vavi, Blade Nzimande, ANCYL, SACP and COSATU, became the voice of reason in their push for Zuma to be installed as both the president of the ANC and the Republic. They told us, commoners, how important it was for SA to rid herself of Mbeki’s bug. They reckoned that this country would be better off under the leadership of their endorsed candidate in the person of Jacob Zuma.
People danced and sang “Mshini wam, mshini wam” in unison; they celebrated the unknown bright future promised by the conspirators. The new kid on the block will take this country to new heights and do even better than all his predecessors; after all he’s more open, warm and friendlier than the stone-faced former president Mbeki! Vavi told the world and anyone who cared to listen, that Zuma was an unstoppable Tsunami. He said give us Zuma, with all his warts and all; we don’t care what you think of him. Sadly for him today, nobody is prepared to accept him, warts and all! Malema vowed that the young lions (ANCYL) will die for Zuma. And so, there was joy and dance in Rome, singing and chanting were the order of the day. It was as if Thabo Mbeki was sitting on top of the power lines and kept the whole country in darkness, until the conspirators arrived in Polokwane 2007…this was shockingly amazing, even Madiba shuddered and was mortified by these turn of events.
It is interesting to note that Madiba has never ever publically vocalized his support for Zuma’s leadership, no never! All we’ve been seeing was Zuma doing his best to get Madiba’s nod and blessings; almost like “Vavi allegedly forcing himself to his accuser”. I watched in disbelief last year, how the ANC big wigs shoved the ANC Century Lantern to the less interested Madiba; Baleka Mbethe almost forced the decrepit Madiba to hold the flame. I felt very embarrassed and pitied Madiba’s sad position. The Legend of our struggle did not even move one single muscle, to smile, that is! It is an open secret that Madiba does not approve of the current leadership of the ANC. Many ANC respected veterans have since voiced their fear and disapproval of Zuma’s cabal leadership!
To wrap up my observation, let me point it out, that just like it was in Rome; after Caesar’s assassination, SA is fast approaching the same boiling levels. Rome is burning and the conspirators are scattering around like rats escaping fire. In Rome, the conspirators ran away from Roman soldiers who were loyal to Rome; and from loyal Roman citizens that joined the hunt down! In our case, the Polokwane Conspirators or shall I say, Mbeki Conspirators, are not being hunted down by SANDF or loyal citizens nor even by their Victim. They are shockingly running away from each other, knives are out, and the hunt is on; blood is flowing in the political arena. It is true indeed, that there is no honour amongst thieves!
Malema bit the dust, Tokyo took a tumble and now Vavi is in a free fall from COSATU skyscraper. The man is bleeding profusely and will die soon if his loss of blood is not stopped, politically, that is! I am sure that, wherever the former president is; he must be falling over himself, laughing himself to a stupor. His mom is dancing nonstop; feeling vindicated and satisfied. Where are all those so called political analysts who failed to foresee today’s turn of events?
Now back to our modern day Brutus, our esteemed and honourable president, Jacob Zuma; I know he’s very scared of his own future. He found out too late, that ambition alone like in the case of Brutus; as Caesar had observed, is not enough to survive political turmoil. Mbeki was quaking in his boots during his last days as the president of the ANC, but Zuma will be jumping up and down in his pyjamas every night; as he pondered the most unlikely turn of events that might befall him. His will be far worse than what Mbeki suffered. If he’s recalled from presidency will he keep the same cool head that Mbeki demonstrated during his annulment? I doubt it very much, Zuma will never bow out without a fight; and this might have serious repercussion in terms of political stability of the Republic! Vavi’s public spat with COSATU and his invisible foes is a case in point. Rome is burning! Let it be a lesson to all would-be future politicians across the Republic; that politics is nothing but dirty games! Don’t go into politics if you are looking for love, for brotherhood, career satisfaction, for prosperity and luxury; because none of these exist here. This is a war zone, and war is very grotesque, merciless, maiming, killing and very destructive. Laced with deception. Only visionary leaders in the calibre of Madiba, Biko, Sobukwe (to name a few) who didn’t go into politics for selfish reasons, but for the people they longed to serve and liberate, spirit, soul and body; will make it to the finish line! Clowns need not apply…
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