As the new year begins many of us resolve to make a fresh start: we turn over a new leaf and look to the year ahead as a blank page. That may be so for individuals, but the country as a whole starts the year hampered by looming political challenges. In particular, the suspicion attached to newly elected African National Congress president Jacob Zuma has not melted away as his supporters seem to have hoped and in August he is to face 18 charges, including fraud, corruption, racketeering, tax evasion and money laundering. Amid all the confusion and rhetorical red herrings we must hold to an important truth. This is that in any democracy the rule of law must prevail. All — no matter how popular or exalted — are equal under that law and none are above it. The charges against Zuma are grave indeed and, if the top echelons of the ANC, and even the South African presidency itself, are not to be forever tainted by rumour and suspicion, he must be tried and his guilt or innocence openly determined.