Sunday, April 26, 2009
Jacob Zuma: Demagogue or Political Genius?
South Africans have demostrated their fidelity to ANC party no matter the political heat and fallout occasioned by Mbeki’s ouster. The near-saint Mandela confounded many by backing Zulu boy Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma and shunning disgruntled Mbeki boys who decamped to COPE.
So what future and lessons can we learn from Zuma’s rise to the presidency of Africa’s economic powerhouse? Well, Zuma is a product of Mbeki’s contempt to voters and obtuse elitism that is galore in our local leadership too. Kenya is a living testimony to how power has a way with revealing the true insidious side of an otherwise gentle persona. Only time will tell who the real Jay Z is.
Granted, Zuma may not be sophisticated enough to craft catchy rallying calls like Rainbow Nation by Mandela or abstract slogans like African Renaissance by Mbeki. But give it to the traditionalist Msholozi he has away of identifying with the ordinary South African whose post-Apartheid dream was auctioned by Mbeki’s elitist mien and intellectual bravado.
He may be athletic around the waist with five official wives to boot but emotionally amorous Zuma maybe just what South Africa needed to stop their breakneck speed to catch up with rest self-destruction African countries. But again you never know African leaders being what they are once securely enthroned to the seat of power.
Product of contempt and elitism
Mbeki though he had the last political laugh by outsmarting hither Mandela’s heir apparent Cyril Ramaphosa and underestimating Zuma as an unambitious demagogue for VP. Well what goes around comes around and Thambo must be suffering indigestion from the huge bite of humble pie.
Zuma’s lack of formal education may just be the sweetest blessing in disguise as team playing is a must in such circumstances. If anything personalized rule has been the bane in most African countries with real power unofficially delegated to cronies and gatekeepers.
Congratulations President Zuma, all eyes are singularly trained on you and the party is yours to spoil. You have no choice but to measure up or fail spectacularly by falling to the pedestrian lows of believing a cold shower protects against HIV infection. South Africans have given their verdict and the choice if yours. Either seize it or butcher their collective hopes.