Zuma controversial but smart - WikiLeaks

2010-12-09 22:29

Johannesburg - The rise of Jacob Zuma to the presidency was an "astonishing achievement", according to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

"Zuma's rise to the pinnacle of South African politics at the same time that serious questions about his character were headline news is an astonishing political achievement in itself," said a diplomatic cable sent by the US embassy in Pretoria before Zuma was sworn in as president on May 9 2009.

Zuma was the subject of a long corruption investigation. Charges against him were dropped in April 2009.

US diplomats saw the Zuma as adept at political survival and an accomplished political tactician who used his populist support to his advantage.

'Smart power'

"Throughout the most difficult times of the past few years, Zuma came across as reluctant to draw first blood, only displaying subtle determination to take the fight to his aggressors. This is consistent with a leader that is aware of his own strengths - smart power," the cable said.

But diplomats also raised concern about Zuma's ties to the SA Communist Party and Cosatu.

"His close association with the ideological left of the ANC alliance has raised some worries about the impact on economic policy by close Zuma allies in the SACP and Cosatu," the cable said.

Since taking office, Zuma has maintained most of the government's pro-business policies.

Mbeki felt that a Zuma presidency would cause a sea-change in politics.

"Mbeki believed that a Zuma presidency would be a disaster for South Africa and would split the ANC".

Mbeki, who drew widespread criticism for failing to tackle an Aids epidemic, is described in another diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks as "thin-skinned" and "hypersensitive".

"US government officials meeting with Mbeki should be prepared to recognise his defensiveness and high sensitivity to criticism," the cable said.

  • waynet59 - 2010-12-09 22:47

    NO not smart ,just how dumb and mindless the rest of them are.

      Howzitekse - 2010-12-10 01:32


      blurryrabbit - 2010-12-10 03:49

      Yeah, I agree, them who? Don't be an idiot and generalize. People like you are responsible for breeding hatred in the world.

      djmilano.26 - 2010-12-10 09:25

      You can deny it but he is smart,why do you think "we/i" chose him as our/my president despite all the allegations...................because he is too smart

      Radrodent - 2010-12-10 10:06

      How does the word them breed hatred? Who are the two doffies above and what the hell are you referring to?

  • Stox - 2010-12-10 11:06

    There's 'smart' then there's 'accidentally smart'. We need to differentiate the two here. Basically the only reason Zuma got elected successfully is because our democracy isn't at the level of sophistication (can't think of a better word) that it should be. In a 1st world country he would have had no hope of being elected. The uneducated masses (and yes, I'm talking about the black majority) sadly were denied the tools for cultural (in a modern sense) and intellectual enrichment and change necessary for a stable and effective democratic system to run. I feel Zuma piggybacked this ride and just gained POPULAR support, not support for his intellect and 'smarts'. While being able to successfully ride a popularity wave for dancing and singing on a stage is a skill in my opinion, it doesn't reflect on the base intellect. Populations in a smarter 1st world country would see through this and want a bit more than rhetoric and theater. Please note I'm NOT saying that he is stupid, I have never met the man so can't make that judgement just yet. I'm just saying that there are different kinds of smarts and he was lucky that the population reacted to his antics the way they did. He could have done much better using a different tact. If he was truly smart.

      hillanoa - 2010-12-14 16:50

      Do you know how many white businessmen voted for Zuma my friend,'re probably just an employee and you certainly don't know what goes on behind the scenes. Loads of white guys are card carrying members of the ANC. Guess they're just as "stupid" as the masses...

      LADYD - 2011-01-07 10:39

      clearly!u are not informed about a lot of thing in the counrty let alone in the world but it's fine by the time u wake up u will be a puppet with strings attached as far as america.......see how difficult it will be to free u illuMINATI

  • Pleb - 2010-12-10 11:07

    Wangled his way to the top by doing what most of his ilk do best - fraud lies and corruption ! Common sense and an ability to do things properly - 0/10

  • AjaxFiko - 2010-12-14 16:52

    I think you guys are arguing with the US's opinion. . .it's how the percieve the Zuma's triumph given his allegations. . .you can voice yours opinion but you can't exactly change their view on his achievement. Zuma was smart enough to convince black people that the whole thing was a conspiracy against him, apparently the NPA believed him too. . .and we (the masses), the majority, the uneducated. . believed and voted for him too! Zille could learn a thing or two about that if she still needs "our" votes!

      AjaxFiko - 2010-12-14 16:54

      It's how they percieve Zuma's triumph. You can voice "your"

  • raykhado - 2011-01-05 09:15

    Rasman Ya thats western idiology

  • Corra - 2011-02-07 13:42

    Zuma is a smart guy! Anyone reading this would never achieve what he did in such a short-time - meaning taking over the ANC.

  • Bratt - 2011-02-22 09:35

    If he is smart, then I guess George Bush Jr is also smart. Having said that, I am wondering about the rest of us, who are letting him sell our country piece by piece to the Chinese through his nephews and children.

  • Linds - 2011-08-26 10:25

    Zuma is a cunningly smart politician who is misunderstood by many, including the media. Read veteran journalist and award winning writer Jeremy Gordin's unauthorised biography of Zuma. The book takes you beyond the fluffy daily reporting about Zuma straight into the man behind all the controversy. Charmer extraordinaire! He cunningly disarms even his most fears opponents like Zille when they meet him. She has admitted as much.

  • Uninformed - 2011-08-26 16:18

    He's smart at being dumb I say.

  • pages:
  • 1