Kenny on the campaign trail

2013-06-23 14:00

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Sushi King ditches the old, boisterous lifestyle for a crack at the Union Buildings.

From sushi king to politician, Kenny Kunene is tipped to become one of the faces of Julius Malema’s new political party.

On Friday, an open letter to President Jacob Zuma, which was signed by Kunene, was published on news media website Independent Online.

“In public you smile and laugh, but in truth you behave like a monster, a tyrant who will target perceived enemies ruthlessly, and because of that fear, few dare to speak openly,” the letter read.

He also accused Zuma of being heartless and controlled by the Guptas – the wealthy family who managed to land their chartered plane full of guests at the Waterkloof Air Force Base last month.

But City Press can reveal today that Kunene is being wooed by Malema’s new Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and that he wrote the widely publicised open letter under the guidance of the forum’s spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu.

In a statement on Friday, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu hit back at Kunene.

Without mentioning him by name, he said the governing party views “such statements as disrespectful, distasteful and insulting to the person of the president and the ANC”.

“It is extremely suspect that a person who makes such an insult could still claim to be a member of the ANC.”

Kunene, Shivambu and Malema have been close allies, and the lavish businessman has on many occasions spoken publicly about their relationship.

This week, members of the EFF, led by Shivambu, worked on a strategic plan to spruce

up Kunene’s image before any announcement of his involvement with the fledgling political movement.

Kunene’s image has taken a further hammering in recent times, even after he was photographed eating sushi off a half-naked model.

This year, he was ditched by his long-standing business partner, Gayton McKenzie, this after he announced that he was planning to venture into producing pornography.

Before that, he hit the media headlines with a confession that he was cavorting with more than 15 girlfriends.

A well-known EFF member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Shivambu persuaded Kunene, a popular figure among the nation’s youth, to ditch his bad habits as female voters would not want to join a party of misogynists.

Another EFF member confirmed that Kunene had officially joined the forum.

The member added that very soon, Kunene would undergo a dramatic change of lifestyle, and drop the girlfriends and his porn business.

But Shivambu dismissed as untrue suggestions that he co-wrote Kunene’s letter, or that he and Malema recruited him to join the forum.

“I was not party to the writing of that letter. In fact, I saw it for the first time in the media.

“Kenny is not our member and we don’t know of his linkage to the forum,” he claimed.

City Press also learnt that the forum has not decided on a date to unveil Kunene as their new face because they were still designing logos for the party’s T-shirts, which are expected to be distributed by the beginning of next month.

However, Kunene confirmed that he held talks with Shivambu, but said these were “mainly” about his “personal life” and not about the EFF.

“Floyd engaged me on a number of issues, mainly about my intention to venture into pornography and this thing of having many women,” he said.

“He talked me out of it and that is why he wanted me to go public about it this week.

“We did not talk about EFF and he was not the only one who convinced me to stop these things – even my family did.”

Kunene said that although Shivambu had not “engaged” him about joining the EFF, he would seriously consider joining it if approached.

“I was involved in student politics and fought against apartheid. I was even arrested in 1986 and spent six months in prison.

So there is that political blood flowing in my body, that is why I helped the ANC Youth League by giving them money and making some of my facilities available for their use,” he said.

Kunene said Malema was the right politician to lead the EFF.

“He is the face of the EFF and because of his energy and passion, I believe that he is the only one who can emancipate our people from the abyss of economic poverty.”

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