Undemocratic party

2008-07-21 00:00

At the heart of the spectacular failure of most African attempts at democracy building is that ruling political parties and leaders have failed to internalise the values of democracy in their everyday life.

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema also called critics of Jacob Zuma’s opportunistic and power-hungry shenanigans to become president, even if it leaves democratic institutions permanently damaged, counter-revolutionary. This is in the same undemocratic genre. Equally worrying is Malema’s statement that he is prepared to kill to get Zuma appointed South Africa’s president. Astonishingly, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has endorsed this. It is clear that the culture of demonising and intimidating critics and of rubbishing independent public institutions, such as the Human Rights Commission, which is exercising its democratic mandate to be a watchdog against the abuse of power, is now being repeated by the new faction in control of the ANC. Ironically, these are the very people who ousted Mbeki and his inner circle from the leadership of the ANC because of their undemocratic behaviour, unaccountability and indifference.

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