F-word: Not just ‘anybody’ should lead our land

2012-06-23 13:57

Imagine that you were the chairperson of a huge multinational enterprise that was floundering, whose share price was in freefall, and you were mandated to find a new chief executive.

You would have to draft an advert for the new man or woman for the job.

In the ad, you would state that the most important requirement to be successful for a new appointment was to be nothing like the incumbent chief executive.

That, in a nutshell, is what ANC members who do not like Jacob Zuma would like to impose on our country with their “Anything But Zuma” strategy to replace the current party leader and by extension, our head of state.

The navel-gazing in the ANC has reached an alarmingly dangerous level.

The ANC’s pre-occupation with the party at the expense of the country has already set us on a path of ruin.

We have become a study in the making of a failed state.

The reason you do not read about whether Letlapa Mphahlele was justified in suspending the constitution of the PAC and ruling by decree is because it does not matter to those outside the party who leads them and how they do.

It matters to us, though, as citizens and taxpayers, who leads the governing party because that individual also gets to lead us.

His or her shortcomings affect us directly, in the same way an incompetent company chief executive affects not only his salary but the livelihoods of all those who work under them.

It is not a private affair between those who have parted with their R12 for their annual ANC subscription fee.

Assuming we agreed with the faction that says Zuma has been a bad president for the country, it would still be irresponsible for anyone to promote “Joe Soap” (apologies to Mr Soap if he is an ANC member with presidential ambitions) and not identify the qualities one expects from the party president and head of state.

On that score alone, the Anything But Zuma (ABZ) movement offers nothing better than the rot they identify.

If the ABZ brigade were honest with themselves they would remember that it was this being anti-someone rather than being pro-the other, that brought them – and us – the same Zuma they now want to replace with what they unashamedly call “anyone”.

South Africa deserves better than to have “anyone” as its leader.

If the ANC is happy to have “anyone” as its president, we as non-members cannot begrudge them their right. They can go ahead.

If they expect this same “anyone” to be our head of state then they are sailing close to acting treacherously.

Too many patriots have given up their lives for this country for it to be led by “anyone”.

To seek to have anyone provided he or she is not Zuma is to set the bar too low for country and for party.

It is as disingenuous as the rhetoric we hear all the time about it not mattering who leads the ANC because whoever that person is, they have to implement ANC policy.

That lie pretends that every party member is as good as the next to be the next president.

Even if the ANC was honest about this it would still not be best for the country.

The interests of 50 million South Africans should never be made secondary to those of about a million who have signed up for an ANC membership card.

Whether or not we are members of the ANC, we are still South Africans and we have a right to know what the leader of the party that is most likely to dominate our politics thinks about an education system that doesn’t deliver textbooks or meaningful education, or how we can kickstart the economy to create new jobs, and so on.

I wish for my country a leader unafraid to lead. That is not too much to ask for, is it?

» Follow me on Twitter @fikelelo

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