Dear ANC Branches
Through the Eye of the Needle states, “The selection and election of leaders should reside firmly in the hands of the membership. This can only happen if there is open and frank discussion on these issues in formal structures of the movement. Quiet and secret lobbying opens the movement to opportunism and even infiltration by forces hostile to the ANC’s objectives.”
I therefore, feel compelled to convey my heartfelt message to all branches in good standing. Simply because, who you nominate, and eventually elect, will be the political leaders of our country, subsequently my leaders, for a period of five years through the ANC, and five years through the State (Preamble & Rule 3.3).
The constitution of the ANC states that, “the branches are its basic unit and a life line of the organization” ( Rule 24). The leadership on levels of branches, regions, provinces, and national, are nominated by branches in electoral meeting (AGM), and are elected at conferences. Therefore, members of the ANC, in good standing have the constitutional power to participate in its direct democracy for electing their political representative (Rule 5.1.d), and the political heads of the government. I therefore, find it necessary, and proper to attract your common sense, since I continuously support, and vote for ANC, and furthermore, I am part of its motive force.
As the nomination process has opened on the 1st of October, all your members are eager to see electoral meeting come and go. Many are already been lobbied for certain candidates list, some are optimistic, while others are pessimistic, and obviously you can never run out of skeptics (Rule 5.1.c & Rule 11.b)
However, allow me to remind you of what William Bennet Munro, once said, “People vote for their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man does not vote for anything but against something”. I hereby, appeal to your logic, and heart, when you rightfully practice your freedom of choice by nominating candidates, please don’t compromise yourself, the ANC principles, and our national society over the imposed candidate list to maintain certain political camps interests.
In applying your logic, don’t you think the “second phase of the transition” from colonial apartheid towards a national democratic society, should be led by generation in their 50’s and 40’s, or at least younger than Mr. Zuma and Mr. Motlanthe generation? It is time to nominate and vote for appreciation, which the ANC has achieved; it has groomed leaders who need a chance to take it to higher heights.
In applying your heart, nominate for something, we cannot forever be under the wings, and shadow of the ‘old struggle heroes’. As branches use this time to break the African curse, let’s not repeat what happened to other African countries.
The nomination is a beautiful opportunity to express your individuality, but more so it is the opportune time to be virtuous, as Anna Jameson puts it; “ Virtue is the habitual sense of right, and the habitual courage to act up to that sense of right, combined with the benevolent sympathies, and the charity which think no evil. The union of the highest conscience and highest sympathy fulfils my notion of virtue”.
Surely compatriots, you cannot let your conscience down for the sake of popularity or favor. Protect the ANC even against those who love it too much to extent that they don’t want to let go of positions in the name of obeying the ANC, when they can simple say, it is our time to rest, take the baton, and run with it.
You should ask yourself a critical political question, why am I sympathizing with these candidate list (the ones which are running around featuring the Zuma or Motlanthe as the no .1)? In other words, while you exercise your membership rights, you will do well by not disobeying the guidelines of “Through the Eye of the Needle” to nominate and elect a suitable leadership. This means, put aside the current top six, and choose amongst those who are not even associated with the expelled ANCYL president Julius Malema.
The law of nature that guides ANC’s political philosophy is, nature, and subsequently society is not static but dynamic, therefore, nature and society are in constant change. As a result one of the first principles in its political education, and science is, ANC must be understood in that context: adoptability to change. The current phase of National Democratic Revolution does not only demand radical policy shift, renewal of the organization, and vigorous redressing of triple challenges: unemployment, poverty, and inequality; but change of leadership to lead it, which in this case, is a primary prerequisite, if ANC has to reinvent itself.
ANC branches can take representative democracy to the next revolutionary phase, by divorcing from the tendency of African liberation movement to hold on to “old (male) leadership”. Hence, I call upon all branches to practice their political belief in dynamism, by nominating and ultimately electing people under the age of 60; however, being conscious of merit, which is in accordance with policy conference resolution on cadre deployment policy.
In your assessment of the Zuma NEC, you should ask yourself; did top 6 six lead the NEC to fulfill their mandate? Did the NEC deliver on Polokwane resolutions? But most fundamentally, did they win the confidence of the people as an organization? How did they build and sustain the ANC as an agent for change in the past five years? Did they offer leadership which saw ANC unite or disunite? On that premise, conclude if it is the kind of leadership that deserves a second chance or term. Besides, these two elderly comrades have the political blood of former President Thabo Mbeki on their hands, it is up to you branches, to indemnify that, and this will remove the current “karma” or scientifically speaking, distractive energy characterized by selfishness, manifesting through triple antagonisms…unfairness, corruption, and abusiveness within the ANC and South Africa.
Branches in good standing, use your right carefully and wisely. Start by abandoning any list featuring both Mr. Zuma and Mr. Motlanthe, if any of these two old comrades come back to top six, it is a suicide for the ANC.
The disunity of ANC will be irreparable. This is because there are tribalistic issues which are attached to both of them. For example; on one hand, KwaZulu Natal is convinced that there is no deserving person than one of their own “Zulu boy” hence they go with Mr. Zuma merely because he is a Zulu (of course he has a good profile). On the other hand, Limpopo is fed up to be led by the nguni’s, hence they want to break that autonomy by going with one of their own Mr. Motlanthe (who also has a good profile) and making an appeal to Basotho’s and Botswana’s to support in breaking the circle of Zulu and Xhosa tribalistic power. No body, in their sober political mind can deny that there is tribalism in ANC, even though they try to suppress it.
Also, since both Zuma and Motlanthe have reached cal-di-sec of maturity with no more potential, it is obvious that there is uncertainty of whether they will manage economic policy, and program for radical change in pursuit of economic freedom. If any of these two makes it back, the current conflicts, and unrests both within the ANC and our communities will intensify. Simply because both of their faces represent the worst five years of ANC, and the most confused term in government. Surely, both would not be able to offer sober leadership, too much is at stake, only you branches, can save ANC and our country.
I have already written an open letter to President Jacob Zuma and his peers, asking them to lovingly decline any nomination, and that they should gracefully accept that they are in the retirement age, at least legally speaking. I also believe that it is selfish for any person or group to ask of the elderly to serve in active positions. Branches should accept that the old comrades have served the ANC and the masses, therefore, let’s be considerate and afford them with the opportunity to be with their family since they can serve as veterans.
In its current vibration and challenges, ANC needs combination of leadership which is not in the current top six, and do away with unproductive NEC members. Surely ANC is not in short of credible leaders, or is it? I know we love Both President Zuma and President Motlanthe, but it is noble, and more valuable to love ANC beyond Personalism. Also I know you know that Julius Malema and his faction are acting as vultures wanting to devour Mr Zuma and associates; but the power is ultimately with you branches in good standing. I wish you all sober and honest nomination. Thank you.
Reece Phatudi (love activist, author of Essentials of Love, and social commentator) Writing as a concerned citizen
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.