In Kgalema Motlanthe, the Ailing ANC has an Answer?

2016-03-16 03:46

At present, the ANC is bleeding from a million cuts. Its bones are fractured and ligaments torn under severe strain. Many ANC stalwarts are distressed and disillusioned. How did the ANC become such a claustrophobic alien and alienating idea?

And the condition is not confined to the ANC. South Africa has entered a dispensation of economic anomie and moral decay. Nothing in our national space seems sacred anymore. Everything seems purchasable and up for business.

Kgalema Motlanthe recently collapsed his old frame of restrain and burst into the public domain declaring that “failed leaders must step aside”.

The statement at face value is innocent, just another ANC stalwart affirming the dire conditions the ANC is in. But when you go beyond face value and put the statement into perspective within the context of the current political tempo and temperature you get new insights as to its impact and wide devastating implications.

The statement is tsunamical in its cry in many considerations.

We will look at one key consideration as to its direct implication. So much rumblings have been made within the ANC (whispers in the corridors), in the public domain, trending hash tags in social media, in Parliament, and civic sphere about the need for immediate political change.

But there have never been projections that if the current ANC President who is also the country's president steps aside (“recalled”) who will step in.

As of now Kgalema Motlanthe has what the ANC presently lacks and what it is painfully hungering for:  integrity, discipline, honesty, frugality, loyalty, nation building, vision and hatred for corruption and patronage. On these scores he is above the Deputy President. The Deputy President is working under huge handicap. He is a full blown businessman and the current mood among South Africans is that they are heartily sick of encroachment of personal business interests by politicians and their friends into state affairs.

Kgalema Motlanthe

Kgalema Motlanthe seems to be the burden bearer for a lot of suffering ANC supporters who believes that, the next best phase of the ANC is preparation for reconstructive action.

ANC knows very well where the rain has started beating it: they know it is the heavy hand of business and personal interests that has corrupted the party.

If “failed leaders” step aside, then Kgalema Motlanthe is available.  And he is acknowledging the fact.

The second part of Kgalema Motlanthe's statement is intended to assure the ANC and the public at large. Kgalema Motlanthe stated in the same statement that his desire is to see a situation where the ANC create enabling conditions for a youthful president.

So Kgalema Motlanthe’s short stint as President (after “failed leaders” have stepped aside) will see him applying his old wisdom driving and facilitating the watershed where the democratic South Africa for the very first time will have a young president. In this way there is nothing lost and there is much to bank on Motlanthe to steer the ship forward, in his short reign after “failed leaders” have stepped aside.

So far as things are it seems the invisible organisational rule within ANC is that only old people become ANC Presidents. The current contestants for the ANC presidency are all post pensioners – all who are under consideration are around, about and beyond 65 years old. The hot contenders are around 70 years old. And this is a youthful country with youth aspirations dominating and driving the country’s affairs. No wonder there is such a clash, a friction within the country and the reason why a vibrant youth movement is consolidating itself away from the ANC politics.

To assess the reason why Kgalema Motlanthe’s star has staying power among the ANC supporters you can find the answer in his stellar leadership qualities and credentials during his tenure as Secretary General of the ANC. In that powerful position he understood and preached the concept of the ANC being a broad church. He was open and gave the human face to the whole complex concept of alliance partners. He functioned like a wiki document – allowing and coordinating inputs from various angles. Doing that he made the ANC endure and thrive.

ANC branches were cohesive and functioning. This is no longer the case. Currently the ANC President Jacob Zuma during the ANC policy conference made presidential remarks that: “A new form of gatekeeping has crept in through which ANC branches are blocked from growing bigger than the mandatory 100 members per branch. Another phenomenon that has been identified as a problem is that of ANC members who belong to other members. “[There are factions] some of these factions are not based on ideological differences. They exist because of greed and the hunger for power, which once obtained, is abused to take control of state resources and to further business interests”.

The ANC entering what it calls reconstructive phase will mean it must be led by a leader of cloud, respect – a person who will not bring his convoluted train of business interests to the august position of President.  This time around the ANC does not need a person whose ears are dipped in business and business dealings.  ANC will need a person that is rooted in the ANC traditions, personally in charge not his handlers or friends:  a person in charge influencing, guiding, teaching and directing the organisation.  A president that will open space for youthful leadership, something that is not being done currently.

Youthful leadership as of now in the ANC is an issue that has been despised. The former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema who showed some promise was dealt with decisively. This was the young leader that President Zuma approved, confirmed, endorsed, and affirmed as the next ANC President. But later on the entire machinery of the ANC waged a 30 month war against him and finally he was expelled.

From there the ANC went on to disband the entire ANC Youth League executive and replaced it by older people. The youth factor is something that is looked on in disdain within the ANC. But it is interesting and worthy of note that in the whole process of expelling ANC Youth League President,  Kgalema Motlanthe was a reluctant figure: dilly dallying, asking this question and asking that question – just to drag and slow down the whole process.

Today the ANC Youth League is just a shell of its former self.

If you want proof that ANC have a total disdain on the youth, and  do not occupy the same space and time with the youth in this country consider how it has made an official statement that all its members must not participate in #FeesMustFall – the entity that is created, energized, activated and propelled by the youth of this country.

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