12 days with Zuma: Long live the king(s)

2011-05-08 17:01

Sunday is, as they say Funday, so today the president gets to do without team City Press peering over his shoulder.

Instead, we’re upgrading our battle plan for the next 10 days and – hopefully – we’ll manage to burn a dead animal, watch football and sip on a whiskey or seven.

The Commander in Chief (CiC) is in Durban for the reburial of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaDinizulu’s mother, the late Queen Thokozile Jexengani Ndwandwe, the mother of His Majesty, King Zwelithini kaDinizulu.

Theoretically, it’s not an election activity as Zuma is there in his capacity as president of the country and won’t officially be wearing his ruling party hat. In reality, with the focus the ANC has put on winning over traditional leaders and the monarch in KwaZulu-Natal, the reburial and the R300 million museum, monument and resource centre that are planned to commemorate her life, it’s squarely aimed at lining up the votes of the several million monarchists in the province and beyond for the ruling part on May 18.

The CiC, along with KwaZulu-Natal premier and ANC chairperson Zweli Mkhize have been the frontmen for making nice with the monarchy for some time now.

About two months ago the provincial government unveiled a tombstone at Nongoma, one of the IFP’s historical strongholds, for the wife of ANC icon Pixley ka Seme, who herself was a member of a neglected branch of the royal family.

These events are all part of the many government programmes that have gained momentum in the months leading up to the elections around the country and in KwaZulu-Natal in particular. This is, after all, what incumbent ruling parties around the world do just before elections comes around.

And they are not alone in suddenly splashing out on the electorate come poll time. The IFP has also used the resources under its control to open and hand out all sorts of things, while the DA has suddenly become very interested in the needs of the disempowered in Cape Town.

But back to the CiC. Tomorrow he hits Jo’burg’s Park Station for the early rush hour to press the flesh with the sprawling city’s commuter population. It’s going to be crazy: the stuff election campaigns are made of.

Commuters going about their business, blue lights, buses, taxis, machine guns and bodyguards all over the place with the CiC in the centre.

A great start to our week.

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