I declare shenanigans

2018-11-05 11:47

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As we head towards the 2019 national elections, many people say they feel more than a little conflicted about where their political loyalties lie.

Everything about the political landscape since 1994 has been turned on its head. The characters of the parties are completely different from what they were in the first rosy days of democracy.

The leaders have changed, their ethos has changed and the shiny, happy veneer has melted.

Many of us are disillusioned. We’re tired of the promises and let down by the lies.

And in this surreal political landscape, where the unthinkable has often become reality, the jolly-sounding word “shenanigans” has become the word of the moment.

People love saying it. Political analysts bandy it about. People spout it like it’s just come into fashion, although it’s as old as the hills.

South African news is awash with “shenanigans”. It’s often spat out of some disapproving person’s mouth as an accusation, like a swear word, but it still sounds merry somehow. She-nan-i-gans! I suppose this is not helped by the ubiquitous pop culture memes of “I declare shenanigans” and the humorous connotations the word has in that particular sense.

Back to the ballot dilemma. I think most of us agree that the past few years have not been kind to the ANC. Once the champion of the South African political scenethe saviour of freedom the image of this giant of a party has degenerated into a public relations nightmare, a maelstrom of accusations, vilifications and hurt.

We in KZN have been particularly hard hit, with provincial politics flavoured with the blood of those assassinated because of intraparty squabbles, and for the sake of lucrative tenders.

The culture of corruption, largely inculcated by its erstwhile head Jacob Zuma, has tainted the ANC to its very core. Many people say they no longer find it worthy of their cross on the ballot paper. Although there’s been a change in leadership, Zuma’s shenanigans were allowed to continue far longer than they should have, allowing the tentacles of his dubious conduct to continue to pervade the public service.

We’ve all been depressed by the “if our leader cheats, why shouldn’t we all?” theme that’s become too apparent.

The DA, too, has had its fair share of shenanigans. Beside the dramatic leadership struggles, its image is also dented by becoming a party of finger pointers and preachy sanctimoniousness.

They seem happiest when they’re slagging off the ANC. Sure, Mmusi Maimane looks good in a suit, but that’s not really enough is it?

Where is its teeth?

Where is its muscle? Why so much whining? Why isn’t it doing more?

The EFF is still trying its hardest to be a party to be reckoned with, but with Zuma out of the picture and land redistribution firmly on the ANC agenda, what noise can it make next?

And that’s all it really is to many. A Big Noise. Oh, and it has also had its fair share of shenanigans in recent weeks.

The IFP just seems a bit tired in some senses. Well, wouldn’t you be with the same leader for over 40 years?

The NFP (is it still a party? many ask) has a lot to do to bring itself back onto the political landscape. That’s about all I can say about it.

A cross for Cope may feel like a wasted vote nowadays and the principal personality of the party, Terror Lekota, so loved in his heyday, has slid somewhat in the estimations of many after a few gasp-worthy utterances.

So, what will we dowe, the disillusionedcome voting day, 2019? Will we rush to the poles to spoil our vote?

Will we stay home and watch it all on TV, without committing ourselves to any party?

Or will we fall into the trap of the politics of personality and vote for whoever was most charming in the lead-up? Or who looked best in a suit?

Maybe we’re ready for the Next Big Thing. Maybe it’s time for a party that has no stinking baggage and a clean slate. Imagine the novelty of that. Maybe it will be called Shenanigans Must Fall. I could get behind that. 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  opinion and analysis

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