Would a woman president be able to hold the ANC together?

2017-06-15 07:13

While the ANC succession race is trending every day on social media and the news of hopeful’s muscling in for the top spot as ANC president come the December conference, there are three notable women who could well be chosen for the enviable position as the next ANC president. Or not.

Female leaders and heads of governments are rare and many have gained the reputation of being, difficult, obstinate, and steely determined. Most face opposition from their male counterparts.

Will Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Baleka Mbete and Lindiwe Sisulu, make the cut or will they have to vie for the compromise position as Deputy President.

Would a woman president be able to hold her party and country together? We only need look at the saga of the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May over her rash decision on holding a snap general election less than a year after she was unexpectedly chosen as the new Prime Minister. This came after the then PM, David Cameron resigned after his ghastly decision to hold a referendum on Brexit, which backfired badly on him

Similarly, May, who admits she is a ‘bloody difficult woman’, saw the Conservative Party losing seats amid an uproar from backbenchers and going cap in hand to Arlene Foster, the leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Foster, a strong unionist will not cow-tow to May and may well come head to head over certain policies. Interesting times – will these two women heads of government last out five years together?

Dlamini-Zuma, ex-wife of President Zuma and former chair of the AU is heavily favoured by Zuma and his supporters and the ANC Women’s League as the next president, Mbete is chairperson of the ANC and Speaker of Parliament, has yet to be endorsed by supporters and is overshadowed by support for Dlamini-Zuma. Interestingly Mbete held the position of Deputy President between 2008 and 2009, which could be in her favour. Sisulu is the youngest of the three, who has not openly declared her candidacy, but who has many supporters, particularly from ANC and ANCYL branches in Soweto and the Eastern Cape, who have already said they would back her for the presidency.

All three women are long standing members of the ANC and have served for many years in parliament and have the best interests of the party and the poor at heart, Sisulu however has a legacy to uphold, that of her parents and struggle heroes Walter and Albertina Sisulu. Big shoes to fill.

However, women voters are notorious for not voting women into power, you only need to look at Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump in the US to know that women will ignore a man’s past, his crassness, sexist and racist behaviour, because he is strong and fatherlike in his quest to look after his citizens. If a male president can be called a father figure, why can’t a woman president be a mother figure?

Interestingly, Albertina Sisulu, like Winnnie Madikizela-Mandela were both called ‘Mother of the Nation’ – could the younger Sisulu fill their shoes? Could Sisulu earn the praise of a nation like German Chancellor Engela Merkel? Merkel has earned her nation’s praise and is called ‘Mutti’ (mummy) in her home country. She is a strong bold leader, who has made many enemies because she has an iron will and has stood up to the rest of Europe.

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