Maimane, a mask of contradictions

2015-05-15 07:41

On Sunday the Democratic Alliance had a historic moment when it’s very first black leader was elected. Mmusi Maimane’s landslide victory got many people excited especially blacks and the youth. It is natural to get excited when a black leader takes reins in any predominantly white organisation, political or not. Truth is, our black people need empowerment and confidence to overcome what apartheid has done to us. Leadership is very important in restoring this confidence. Technicalities and direction of such leadership is another issue on its own. Mmusi comes from a typical black working class family with a poor mother who worked very hard to see him attaining such heights, both politically and academically. Secondly, young people were also delighted to finally have a voice not only representing them but occupying a position of such influence. All this is natural.

But this is not just an organization. This is politics. Leadership is not just looked at from a merit context but an ideological one as well. Mmusi is not just a figure. He is a black man who finds himself at the helm of an overwhelmingly white political organization which looks at development and progress in a liberal context, void of consideration of socio-economic discrepancies between black and white.

In his stellar Obama-like maiden speech, he did admit to a need for change. Although he came short of explaining the approach, his intention to introduce change was relevant and added a lot of gravitas into his speech. We all know that South Africa needs change and his organization happens to need it more than anything. He also showed some mild bravery by speaking against Allister Sparks’ reckless and unscrupulous remarks about Hendrik Verwoed. But all this was still not enough to have people convinced that he might change things.

There are a lot of contradictions that come with Mmusi . On Tuesday night on Amanpour’s show, Mmusi went back to his ideological cage of liberalism. He did exactly what I had expected. He then started speaking to his handler’s politics. At one point he confidently said it is time to stop talking about race and that we need to move forward and talk development. I just could not conclude if this was political hollowness or just garbage he spewed intentionally and consciously.

Mmusi cemented his ideological position once more. He reaffirmed his commitment to white monopoly capital once again. What I am not sure of though is if in this process, he realised that he was shredding the very black vote he is purported to be luring. How can we stop talking about racism, an issue keeping this whole country on stagnancy? Mmusi also defended the statues. This was another instance of reaffirming his organizational loyalty. In the same show Mmusi attributed unemployment and inequalities to corruption and the government’s lack of political will. This is not just naïve but preposterous. On his last of his first week endeavours, he took it to twitter on a #AskMmusi session. I asked him just two questions:

  1. Will his skin colour change the DA’s appeal to the black majority and if so then how?
  2. How will his party’s liberal policies address racism, racial inequalities and mass black marginalization?

Mmusi must realise that black voters are not in it for colour but progress, their progress to be precise. The DA is clearly advocating for policies that are regressive to blacks and until they change this, they must forget the black vote. You cannot mask white monopoly capital in a black mask and expect this masquerade to work, not here.

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