Party Loyalty Is No Different to One ‘Soccer Team

2014-05-09 11:28

I am one of those who did not vote in this year’s elections. Why did you not vote? Asked a friend, with a frowning face. The answer to this question brought a lot more questions which I felt were unnecessary. At the end of the day I did not even have to justify my decision to her. Talk politics, and you will see how emotionally attached some people are in politics. It is frustrating.

Interesting though, is our country’s political landscape, regardless of the attachments and emotions that flares with it.

Media reports that President Zuma ignored the EFF as he was greeting members of different political parties at the IEC Centre in Pretoria last night. This claim is, however, refuted by the ANC’s national spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu in different newspaper publications. But, would it really be true that the President did this on purpose; if indeed it was on purpose, are we surprised?

I, for one, am not surprised by the president’s move if it was intentional. Had I been in Zuma’s shoes, I would have probably done the same. I would have ignored EFF’s Floyd Shivambu and his crew.

The EFF has, since its emergence, used the President’s name to garner votes. There wouldn’t be a sentence in their campaign, across the country, that would rhyme without Zuma’s mention.  His mention would always be followed by derogatory words that one finds hard to repeat here. The EFF therefore played personality politics, rather than party politics as we understand it. Did this work for their campaign? Yes, it definitely did, but was it right?

Someone said it was wrong of the president to snub the EFF at the IEC Centre on Thursday night, because two wrongs do not make it right. I agree, but I say there has to be a limit. There has to be a line and once that line is crossed, especially more than once, it is no longer a matter of two wrongs, but one of pride. Probably one of egos too.

Politics is a game of emotions and loyalty. The EFF therefore, had to arouse people’s emotions. They saw an opportunity on Marikana and they used it. They saw an opportunity on Nkandla and they used it. These two, they exploited on the president’s expense, and it worked. How they did this, is what remains to be questioned. Luckily, the EFF’s leader had already established himself a huge following when he was still with the ANC Youth League. One cannot dispute the fact that this following, he took with when he left the ANC. Sorry, when he was fired by the ANC. What he therefore had to do, was to build on this.

We never gave the EFF a chance to get a sit in parliament. We were in denial. The fact today is that the EFF is going to parliament, not only with one sit, but with more than one.

To think of Malema disappearing from our country’s political scence was a mere fallacy. Malema is different. He is disrespectful, but persistent. Persistence is probably a character we lack in our politicians today.

The EFF made a lot of noise prior to this elections, but we knew the ANC was going to emerge victorious; for obvious reasons. We knew the ANC would continue securing majority votes from different parts of the country. We are not surprised. The EFF had to make a lot of noise; this is how politics work.

I’ve had people saying they went to the voting station with the intention of voting a different party, but when the time to vote arrived, they couldn’t. They felt voting for another party would be a betrayal to the ANC; the party of OR Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Mandela, to name a few.

Party loyalty is probably more like being a loyal fan to a certain professional soccer team. I have never heard of a supporter or fan who left for example Orlando Pirates for Kaizer Chiefs because the coach is not doing a good job. Pirates ‘cup cabinet stayed empty for eight consecutive years before clinching the treble in the 2011/2012 season. It took Kaizer Chiefs more or less the same time before winning their 2012/2013 PSL season. How long did it take Mamelodi Sundowns until this previous Tuesday when they beat Supersport United 3 – 0 to finally clinch the 2013/2014 PSL Championship?

There has never been any floor crossing of supporters in these difficult years of the teams they have become so attached and loyal to. They stuck and persevered with their teams until the right captain was assigned to get the ship back to its position.

This is what seems to be happening with our ruling party. We acknowledge that things are not as we’d like to see them in our government, but we come a long way with this government to be ditching it at this moment. We have been through this and we have weathered the storm before. Like emotionally attached and loyal supporters of Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns, we are going to be loyal to our ANC. It is not the ANC that is in the wrong, but its leadership. Therefore, instead we’d rather tolerate this until we get the proper or well qualified leadership for our movement. The leadership that’d take this movement back to what it used to be under the leadership of now its ancestors. The leadership that’d take this movement forward to where this country needs to be.

This is what disappoints Agang’s leader Mamphela Ramphele. Listening to her interview on Radio on the poor performance her party seems to have been reflecting since the beginning of the counting of votes on Thursday, she said she was not embarrassed by her party’s failure to garner enough votes, but rather disappointed that South Africans still fail to realise a need for change in their country’s highest political office.

The inference one got from this interview, was that South Africans should stop living on the wishing factor, as they have the power to change their life situation. South Africans have been living on the wishing factor since the dawn of democracy as the ANC fails to deliver every five years, to its promises.

Is the Agang leader right in saying the latter?

Our government does need a bit of a shake up. Some believed the PAC would bring this when it splintered from the ANC back then, but within ten years of existence the PAC started dissipating into thin air. COPE was second in giving hope to those who had lost it in the ANC, but it did not take long before it suffered the same fate.

It remains to be seen whether the EFF would follow suit or manage to cement itself in today’s politics. Playing personality politics is what gave the EFF fame and garnered them enough votes coming to the 2014 elections. However, personality politics, if continued by the EFF, will be the reason for its failure.

What difference did the PAC, UDM and COPE bring to the lives of the people in the past years?

What change will the EFF bring to the lives of the poor as they go to parliament?

For sure, parliament won’t be the same with the EFF.

** Visit the dedicated News24 page for all the latest updates regarding the upcoming elections.**

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