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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mbeki Handed Defeat as Reward for Success

Voters have no respect for global images politicians curve for themselves while ignoring local issues. By ousting Thambo Mbeki and elevating Jacob Zuma (aka JZ) as the new ANC leader, South Africans have sent a clear message of who is boss.

To see the face of Africa's 'superpower' so forlorn in defeat smacks of both betrayal and steadfastness. And give it to JZ. He may not be that sophisticated and no great thinker but he has the pulse of the masses at his fingertips.

Mbeki fired him in 2005 and he knew what do: go back to the masses and root for them by reminding them that they are the majority and the so-called growing middle class is a dream they cannot afford without sleeping. And what a sweep revenge to see Mbeki embracing JZ as the winner yesterday. So what do we learn from down south as Kenyans?

Well the lessons can be as numerous as the shades unity and oranges. But one thing is for sure: voters don't give a hoot about a leader's personal profile when their immediate needs are not factored in. They are ready to sup with the devil who identifies with their course no matter the cost.

Moral compass dismissed
Even the misgivings on JZ from South Africa's moral voice Desmond Tutu went unheeded. Cosatu guys told him to take leave and provide his moral campus to barbers navigating the sand dunes in Sahara. Africa's present day saint Madiba must be justifiably a disappointed man to see his ship leaking like a sieve in his lifetime.

Mbeki may have tried to find establishing his own credibility in stepping into Mandela's oversize shoes. But he also ended up addressing the big picture oblivious of the important trees making the forest. Now Sa have two centres of power: the presidency under Mbeki and the ruling party ANC with JZ. More frustration in governance as politicians position themselves for the next political dispensation.

So who will shepherd the Nepad ship with the captain drowning? Africa renaissance may have just been a painless still birth. Comrade JZ ('where is my machine gun' is his rallying call) obviously has no time for such high-sounding political theatrics. And the political domino effects enters Africa via the cape from Australia. Who is next?


Vikii said...

This is just another proof that massive civic education needs to be done in Africa. Differentiating shallow populism and rhetoric from focussed leadership is proving a tall order among Africans. It happened in Zambia in early '90s and it happened in the ANC yesterday. Thabo Mbeki has overseen a remarkable economic growth, whether he was supposed to literally provide for the so called down trodden is something people need to clarify.

Thabo Mbeki's 'failure' according to South Africans is letting economic inequality go unabated. The fact that the average white household is five times wealthier than the black one is according to them an issue and I agree. But the last time I checked Thabo Mbeki picked up from where Nelson Mandela left in the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) program.

The ANC poll was not a contest between Mbeki and Zuma in the leadership of the country. It only diminishes Mbeki's influence in the succession politics.

That said, Zuma may be a great leader. We cannot rule out that possibility. But surely if someone confesses to having had sex (Be it rape or otherwise) with a publicly declared HIV positive woman and we still consider him someone worth of leading a country with the largest number of HIV/AIDS victim then we can do with some prayers. And that's just my opinion.

Vikii said...

And I meant having UNPROTECTED sex.

Taabu said...

Rape is rape Vikii whether protected or not. Tutu summed it all by warning of shame. But politicians the world over are smart scoundlrels (I know you aspire to be one and hope you will be different, ama?).

You are right the contest wasn't between JZ and Mbeki but a protest which JZ capitalized on as the course's face. At least the ANC chaps showed some decorum with chants without violence. The world press did praise as much by speaking of a unique political thread outside NA and Europe. how true that is I don't know. No wonder Musharaff is a democrat and Putin TM's man of the year. This world, mmhhhhh!

kalamari said...

Friends, please remember that a country is just as good as the citizens within it. As a leader, one must factor in the aspirations and expectations of the citizens when determining what's good for them. That said, populism is not entirely a thing to be discarded. The way I see it, give the people what the people want. I'm not implying or advocating socialism in SA, however, I think the expectation that a people, scarred by apartheid and lacking of economic skill/training, will wait for an expanded economy to move out of the ghetto is unachievable. It is a shame that lack of proper housing and crime remain endemic in SA….even after the black mans access to gold and diamonds. It is such pedestrian thinking and understanding of things as they seem that drives the emotions against Mbeki. A 100% economic growth does not mean a thing to a pauper in Soweto even if in actuality, more industries hiring unskilled workers have been established in the middle of Soweto. The thing with capitalism is that a jamaa working a measly minimum wage job (such as jua kali) will never catch up to the African dream i.e. owning a house and seeing your kids to college. The solution to SA must include a multi-pronged Marshall plan funded, exclusively, by the billions made from the mines since the Dutch man arrived there. Yes. At what point is restitution and reparations justified? Those that have gained on the sweat of the blacks must cater for some of these issues. Plugging a black face on a diamond company board of directors simply creates a black white man.

Government policies of grand economic escapades that ignore the immediate basic needs of the citizens is a recipe for disaster. As a matter of fact, as we have seen in Kenya these past five years, such policies only serve the insatiable wants of the political/upper class. You see, it is not enough to look prosperous on paper while the tax paying multitudes are starving.
Whereas a win for Zuma is somewhat an indictment of Mbeki, I see it as mostly a cry for change. Remember, South Africans have been dealing with a president who prescribes arrow roots and assorted exotic leaves as a cure for HIV.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Zuma has little or no education at all, any truth in this dear Kumekuchans?

With all Zuma's shortcomings, the people, mostly rank and file have spoken. Let's respect democracy as watu wameamua!


zak said...

In Africa morals mean nothing if the campaigner is one of them, in South Africa it was the poor/uneducated versus the rich and elites.
Wjat struck me was the comparison between Mbeki and Zuma.

Analysts says that, Zuma was a son of a former house girl, Mbeki son of a teacher.
It continues to say that, Mbeki is a University graduate, Zuma is a Primary school graduate and holds no formal education.
Zuma is depicted as a tiger in bed, having been engaged to four different women and is a proud father of 18 children!
Zuma is quoted as saying that after having un protected sex with a girl, "old" enough to be his daughter, he said that, in his culture its bad manners to leave a woman in a state of arousal! the reason why he had to go all the way! "did you mind contracting the Virus? Zuma was asked, he answered.."I had a cold shower after 'calming'the lady..!
Talk of a hero, in 2 years time he will be at the helm of Africa's largest economy. Viva la Zuma

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,
Iam a Kenyan currently working in South Africa, a place that has been my temporal home for the last six years. Four years ago when people complained that Mbeki was foriegn to South Africa, as he was always abroad promoring his pet project NEPAd etc. Mbeki came home and went on a meet the people tour in rural Eastern Cape. I was shocked to see him speaking to old illeterate women in english and quoting shekeaspeare in a country where at least nine indigenous languages are recognised as official. He definately had not left the academic halls of sussesx. He lost touch with the ordinary people. Beleiving in his superior intellectualism, he writes his own speeches and crafted the liberal Gear policy deviating from the Reconstuction and development policy that gave more to the people. Mbeki lost because he was seen as aloof form the people as well as having that hunger to hang onto power.Surely by demanding to stand for a third term as ANC president he showed the greed for power and many were afraid he could use the ANC majority in parliamant to change the constitution to allow unlimited presidential terms. In fatc Mbekki has been at the whelm for more than ten years, as MAndela had given him a free reign to manage the economy and take care of governmenet when he was deputy president. it is a pity that other more worthy condidates did not have the courage to mingle with the masses. One tired buying votes by giving free shares in his companies but his campign became still born.
SO we should cry not that Mbeki lost,His time is up... BUt that the replacement is ZUma. However given the maturity of institutions, Policy is set by the ANC whihc is a collective and not much will change under ZUma. People are getting homes, free electicity and health although land redisticbution is lagging behind. nder Zuma maybe progress will be accelarated. Mbeki should head to the Au or the UN. he should now becoma a world statesmanand deploy his thinking and conflict resolution skills there.

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