Tata ma chance, aikona Maile!

2011-06-11 09:49

Politics will never be a gamble the same way the Lotto will never be a political game of numbers.

The difference is that the former is a game of power, street fighting, backstabbing and shrewd manoeuvring; while the latter relies purely on luck, divine intervention and being at the right place at the right time.

It’s for these reasons that candidates for political office would normally lobby for votes and publicly announce their availability timeously, while their Lotto counterparts are not required to do so.

So, any presidential hopeful who adopts a lottery attitude towards a crucial elective conference stands very little chance of winning.

Lebogang Maile – the man challenging incumbent ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema for the presidency – is a smart, articulate and intelligent man with superb leadership qualities.

But he seems not to know when to apply these qualities and when to go to the trenches and fight.Instead, like a Lotto player, Maile appears to have pinned his hopes more on luck.

He confused his own potential backers by dithering and waiting until too late to throw his hat into the ring, had a badly implemented or no clear political strategy, suffered a credibility crisis fuelled by speculation that he was the face of senior ANC leaders who had issues with Malema, and played costly hide-and-seek games with the media over his candidacy.

In short, Maile surrounded himself with political amateurs posing as strategists.They saw nothing untoward in announcing his top-five candidates through a little-known youth leader’s Facebook page, as if all league members are on Facebook or are even Stella Ndabeni’s friends in the first place.

Yes, Maile’s supporters talk of a strategy to pose as Malema backers during the nomination processes and then vote for Maile.

But such a strategy is as unreliable as the Iraqi soldiers who signed up with the American occupiers of their country after the Iraqi invasion in 2001 only to turn around and help the rebels.

By contrast, Malema flagged his candidacy for a second term almost three years ago with an unambiguous political strategy of disbanding problematic regions and installing his proxies, winning tenderpreneurs over by facilitating lucrative deals for them, and had AfriForum unwittingly doing his bidding by profiling him with their misguided court cases and kneejerk reactions.

While Maile was raising his hand slightly above his ear, Floyd Shivambu and Pule Mabe had lifted up Malema’s entire arm.

Like Maile, Malema’s rival at the previous ANCYL conference, Saki Mofokeng, was shrewd and smart – but he still lost.

This because the aim of the league when it was formed was to involve the masses in a militant struggle for political, social and economic freedom. Its programme emphasised boycotts, strikes and defiance.Because of these historical perspectives, league members have always appeared to have an appetite for militant leaders who embodied the youth league’s original aims and objectives.

As a result mostly reckless, militant hotheads who often speak first and think later tended to emerge.

If you ask an ordinary league member who the organisation’s leaders were since its relaunching in 1991, chances are they would mention Peter Mokaba, Fikile Mbalula and Malema.

The two leaders who took over between Mokaba and Mbalula’s terms, Lulu Johnson and Malusi Gigaba, wouldn’t feature – not because they are hated, but because they are the opposite of the popular trio.

So, Maile’s Lotto attitude means a stroll in the park for Malema.

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