Anti-Zuma, pro what?

2012-11-11 18:18

Not so long ago, during July to be more precise, Professor Martin Thomas, an independent researcher based in the University of Exeter, UK, wrote an article titled “Anti-Capitalist, pro what?”

In this article Prof Thomas warns of the dangers associated with the “ambiguity” of the march by the British “Anti-Capitalist Initiative”, which was set up on April 28th.

“If the practical unity is only “where we agree”, then the model here is a loose coordination of different groupings”, Prof Thomas warns. I immediately experienced an extra-terrestrial sense of déjà vu after reading this article.

I realized that this was similar to the formation of the Anything-but-Zuma (ABZ) brigade. Like the Anti-Capitalist Initiative, the Anything But Zuma brigade is united by one thing; discomfort about President Zuma, and is nothing but a loose “coordination of different groupings”.

In the few months preceding the opening of nominations for the ANC elective Conference this year, splatters of groupings, who could never share the same room before, united to motivate whoever cared to listen not to re-elect President Zuma in Mangaung this year.

Senior leaders of the ANC, amongst them Tokyo Sexwale, Mathews Phosa, Cassel Mathale, Paul Mashatile, etc. and other members of the ANC engaged on a blistering campaign to unite every member of the ANC in opposition to President Zuma.

As if caught in a trance, these people used every available platform to call for a change of leadership in Mangaung. Surprisingly, these calls for change of leadership were mainly posed towards President Zuma, and exempted other members of the NEC.

The lobbyists of the ABZ brigade also called for generational mix in the ANC leadership, often using a distorted interpretation of the concept for selfish interests.

The case studies showing that these Anti-Zuma groupings shall always fail are galore in the ANC history. In 2008, after losing an election in the Polokwane Conference in December 2007, an Anti-Zuma brigade emerged.

Pastors, former cabinet ministers, former ANC leaders, academics, former criminals, former BEE beneficiaries, etc., launched a similar Anti-Zuma brigade when they formed COPE. Despite their obvious differences, their only “practical unity” was their hatred for President Zuma.

Today, less than four years since its establishment, COPE as a party has never seen an elective conference. Every court in the country has heard at least one case where one member of the party complains about the other. Because it was founded by a model which is a “loose coordination of different groupings”, it struggles to defineits own identity outside of its members’ hatred for President Zuma.

Just like COPE, the current Anything But Zuma brigade is a tooth-less loose cannon which poses no serious threat to the ANC. It can never win the hearts of the members of ANC because it lacks content, substance and direction. I urge anyone who associates with this vision-less brigade to abandon it urgently. The idea is really not intelligent at all.

“The negative term “anti-capitalist” (pro-what?) has drawbacks anyway. In the broadest usage it would notionally embrace a coalition stretching through the soft left to populist right-wingers”, Prof Thomas writes in his article.

The reader is warned that by telling us what they are against, and not what they stand for, the Anti-Capitalist Initiative can be a coalition of anybody between a “soft left to a populist right winger”. This concoction referred to by Prof Thomas above is similar to the one characterized by the ABZ brigade.

But in any grouping, the most powerful and dominant are the ones whose ideas will rule. In fact it is Karl Marx who argued that the ruling ideas are those of the dominant class. And because the ABZ brigade is a concoction of anybody who is anti-Zuma, there is no ideology or prescripts that guide how members should behave.

Members of the ABZ brigade are allowed to swear, physically attack and sabotage their perceived opponents without being criticized by other members. This is because all the insults are ultimately aimed at one person; President Zuma. It does not matter how each member feels about the use of vulgar language, as long as it serves the “right” purpose.

This is the reason why a characteristically strict and reasonable Kgalema Motlanthe keeps quiet when Julius Malema uses his name to insult President Zuma in public.

In a normal environment, Motlanthe, who always prefers to appear as the lone voice of reason, would castigate Malema, or anyone for that matter, for using his name to insult a sitting president.  Like COPE, the Anti-Zuma brigade is an unholy union founded on hate, malice and lack of purpose. And, like COPE, the ABZ brigade is bound to perish even before it is born.   

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