How the create-your-own-enemy game did not play out for Malema

2012-02-23 05:36

During this time when ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is chewing his nails in anticipation of the outcome of his disciplinary hearing, the ghost of Polokwane is rising again.

Many are asking if Jacob Zuma is not setting himself up the way Mbeki did when he fired the current president from his job in 2005.

Is Zuma not, like Mbeki, creating his own worst enemy? There would be ways in which to justify that, by unceremoniously kicking out Malema, he has done exactly that.

Like Zuma, the story goes, he can now become the poster boy of the anti-incumbent camp. When Zuma was pushed out, there was a massive group within the ANC that was fed-up with Mbeki and wanted change, but they needed a cheerleader-in-chief. In the singing and dancing Zuma, they found exactly that.

Also, like Zuma, Malema can claim unfair treatment to settle political scores.

Malema has a list as long as his arm of people who strayed from the ANC’s constitution but have not been asked by  the now much-feared disciplinary committee to leave Luthuli House and not come back soon.

How did ANC leaders like Mbulelo Goniwe, Jackson Mthembu and Tony Yengeni not bring the ANC into disrepute through irresponsible behaviour that included sexual harassment, drunk driving and fraud? And how did sports minister Fikile Mbalula not cause division in the party with his constant interruption at the ANC Polokwane conference by starting to sing  Umshimi Wam while leaders were speaking on stage?

Of course Malema would prefer not to mention that one - him and Mbaks are buddies.

But the point is all of them are still around, some like Yengeni and Mthembu even right there in revolutionary house in Sauer Street, Johannesburg. Others, like Mbalula, in cabinet.

Also Malema’s claim that he is the victim of a political conspiracy hatched by a president who wants to settle scores is not completely without merit.

Did Malema not spend every speech and public utterances trying to get a dig at Zuma, pitting himself in opposition to everything the man from Nkandla did or said? So it makes sense that Zuma would want to make the problem go away, and would employ any legal means to his disposal to do so. So in true Zuma style, Malema could run around telling everyone he has been unfairly treated because the powers that be don’t like him.

Sounds fair enough.

Only problem is that Malema’s situation is nothing like Zuma’s.

Unlike Zuma, Malema is being kicked out of the party, not merely fired from a government position. If Malema is not able to claim his comeback campaign is in the name of the ANC, he has not basis to work from. The ANC rejected him. He also has no platform, as he won’t be allowed on stage at any ANC event. There will be no VVIP tag for him at the accreditation table.

And finally, although there are a few comrades running around with bones to pick with Zuma, they are nowhere near as angry as the anti-Mbekites were. For those who lobbied against Mbeki it was a fight for survival and one that dates from pre-1994. Leaders like ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa, former spy boss Billy Masetlha, Free State premier Ace Magashule and Northern Cape finance minister John Block had personal reasons for their active participation in the anti-Mbeki brigade.

So Malema will try his best to hitchhike a ride to Mangaung with his claims of victimhood using the Zuma template. But, ironically, if he doesn’t break that mould Zuma invented and get creative in his comeback campaign, it will be a very lonely journey.

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