Kenny Kunene’s past scuppers his leadership ambitions

2013-08-25 10:00

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Kenny Kunene’s past – as a man with a taste for expensive champagne, sushi consumed off models’ bodies and a gaggle of girlfriends – has caught up with him.

Well-placed sources within the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have revealed that many people who had considered joining the party balked at Kunene’s reputation and did not want to be associated with him.

Kunene was elected head of campaigns, mobilisation and special projects a few weeks after joining the party, which is led by former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

He stepped down this week, saying he was pursuing business interests.

But party sources have told City Press that Kunene was viewed by some potential EFF members as spitting in the eyes of the poor by boasting about blowing hundreds of thousands of rands on parties, expensive booze, clothes and cars.

Kenny Kunene surrounded by some of his girlfriends in his home in Sandton. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

One EFF source said people were angry about a joke Kunene made, saying he was “raped” by women, and also disliked his boasting about a “harem” of 15 girlfriends.

“Although he had apologised for the things he did, many people have not forgiven him and are refusing to join us because of him,” the source explained.

“Also, in the organisation there are many comrades who have expressed their reservations about him being part of the campaign team.”

But the source praised Kunene, saying: “Like a man, he decided to relinquish all his leadership responsibilities.”

He said Kunene remained a member in good standing.

Another source said there was “no fight” and the criticism of Kunene did not come from party officials.

“Look, it was not something that came from us. He was there when the masses we interacted with frowned upon him. They are just not happy with him. He is seen as izikhothane and you know how people feel about izikhothane.

“They buy expensive clothes and burn them and sometimes they burn money. They connected Kenny to the izikhothane because he once had a party with them. Although he discouraged them from burning money and clothes, people have this perception that he encouraged them otherwise,” said the source.

He was optimistic that people would forgive Kunene for his bad-boy ways.

“He will continue to be part of us and we know that South Africans will one day forgive him and start looking at him differently. If they forgave (President Jacob) Zuma for having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman, and (ANC spokesperson) Jackson Mthembu for driving under the influence of alcohol, then they will forgive him,” said the official.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi declined to comment on the matter.

“I have no comment. We are not going to talk about this.”

Kunene said he did not “know of these rumours”.

“I am pursuing other things – that is that. I presented my decision to the commander in chief (Malema) and Floyd (Shivambu). They respected and accepted my decision.”

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