Zuma looks 'overwhelmed'
2/23/2010 9:25:08 AM
The longer Jacob Zuma remains in office, the more damage he does to his already shattered reputation, and the more apparent it appears that South Africa is in a mode of self-destruction.
Our broken politics, personified in the rags-to-riches life of Julius Malema, is attributable to a variety of historical factors, but, ultimately, the buck stops with the head of State.
In all fairness, much of the rot in our politics has been going on before the Zuma presidency. So, why are so many people so fed up with Zuma so soon after he ascended the throne?
Well, it is quite simple: Zuma's problem is not only that he is unable to live up to his promises; he himself is effectively the problem. He looks bewildered and overwhelmed by his responsibilities.
You expect a president, at least, to pretend to be doing something about people's concerns, not for him to become the concern. Yet, that is the low level to which Zuma has sunk.
At the beginning of his term, Zuma had the ear of the various factions within the ANC-led alliance, perhaps mainly because the comrades were merely positioning themselves for deployment and tenders.
Even his weird thoughts were given a chance, including his misguided expansion of cabinet, introducing such useless and costly ministries as the one for Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
Zuma's political survival tactic, that of being everything to everyone, is already biting back; and his allies, most notably Cosatu, have taken note.
Some within the union movement have already compared him to Thabo Mbeki, a serious charge given the contempt with which they regarded the former president.
Malema, after getting away with his deeply suspicious election in a chaotic conference in Bloemfontein, believes he can get away with everything else. Gwede Mantashe will regret the day he rubber-stamped Malema's dubious poll.
Only one man, Zuma, can stop the ANC Youth League president; but because of the political debt he owes Malema, it is more beneficial for Zuma to keep the nation moaning. Political expediency, under these circumstances, triumphs national interest.
One wonders where South Africa is headed after Zuma. What will it take to repair South Africa's broken politics? Certainly the ANC, in its current form, is unfit to take South Africa on a moral path.
Franz Fanon once bemoaned corrupt tendencies in newly independent African states, saying: "The people come to understand that wealth is not the fruit of labour but the result of organised, protected robbery.
"Rich people are no longer respectable people; they are nothing more than flesh-eating animals, jackals and vultures which wallow in the people's blood."
The defeat of a parasitic politics that feeds itself off poor people's taxes is urgent if we are to restore South Africa to its former glory. But the question is: can the ANC stomach enough courage to deviate from the African norm of former liberation movements turning against their own people?
The longer Zuma remains in office, the more remote the chance of South Africa restoring its pride as the African exception - and the more conducive the environment for a rotten politics of the type personified in Malema.
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