Zuma's Disqualification: Mosquitos don't Cure Malaria.

Kata Kata

Admin | Posted On : 21-05-2024

The highest court in South Africa has banned former President Jacob Zuma from contesting for parliament in next week's upcoming general election.

According to the Constitutional Court, his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court disqualified him from running.

Former President Zuma was convicted in 2021 for refusing to testify at an inquiry into corruption during his time in office between May 9, 2009, and February 14, 2018. 

His presidency was seriously dented by corruption allegations, which he always denied. 

Since falling out with the governing African National Congress (ANC), Mr Zuma has been campaigning under the banner of the newly formed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party.

Reacting to the court's verdict, MK Secretary General Sihle Ngubane lamented that the decision disheartened the party but quickly added that it would not influence the party's mission. He insisted that Mr Zuma's face would appear on the ballot form for the May 29 political race. 

"He is still the leader of the party. It [the judgment] doesn't affect our campaign at all," he insisted stubbornly.

Mr Zuma is yet to comment on the court ruling. 

Conversely, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC leader and Jacob Zuma's political rival, told a local radio station that he "noted" the ruling, adding that South Africa's highest court has arbitrated disputes amongst political rivals following the constitution. 

The court ruling will be a tremendous political relief for the ruling ANC party, struggling to maintain its relevance. Although ANC has been in power since the end of the apartheid regime, the ruling party may lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid 30 years ago because of MK's rise to power. 

Many are beginning to wonder how South Africa, the rainbow nation, has turned so dramatically from being the beacon of hope for Africa to a dysfunctional social, political, and economic theatre. Corruption coupled with economic inequality breeds social injustice, joblessness, crimes, poverty, mismanagement in government, and insufficient infrastructure, all have created a sense of alienation, destruction, hopelessness, anger, and mistrust amongst South Africans. Joblessness, poverty, and other social problems translate to a xenophobic mindset amongst South Africans, leading to vicious and brutal attacks against foreigners. South African politicians never failed to capitalise on the mayhem for their political gains and aggrandisement. 

It does not help that political leaders often point an accusing finger at others, in most cases, opponents, rather than accept responsibility and try to fix the problems. 

The ruling party, the once-respected ANC, which former President Nelson Mandela led, has gradually become synonymous with abusive corruption and mismanagement. One can hardly talk about corruption within the ANC and, to that extent, South African politics without mentioning President Jacob Zuma. From the arms deal scandal to Kandla, the Guptas gate, and other corruption cases against President Zuma, South Africa's political water has become a mere polluted political theatre, where allegations of corruption have become the prerequisite for political relevance. 

The current President, Cyril Ramaphosa, took over from Jacob Zuma after the latter was forced to resign partly due to accusations of corruption that Zuma refutes. Subsequently, Mr Zuma withdrew his support for the ANC in the run-up to 2024, a decision that caused a political earthquake within the ANC party and opened the door for more losses in the upcoming elections.

Former President Zuma's departure from the ANC did not welcome the end of corruption within the party. Although President Cyril Ramaphosa came to power with the promise of eliminating corruption and tackling unemployment and crimes, critics have accused him of not fulfilling those promises, as many South Africans have voiced their discontent and disappointment with the ruling party. 

The inglorious situation has given rise to political rebellion and put the ruling ANC party in a very uncomfortable situation and political zone, which could lead to the once invincible party losing massively to the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by firebrand Marxism-oriented leader Julius Malema, Democratic Alliance and other parties. Some recent opinion surveys indicate that the African National Congress's vote percentage in the May 29 election might go below 50% for the first time in thirty years. Thus with former President Zuma's recent political courtship with The uMkhonto we Sizwe, the ruling ANC has every reason to fear, having in mind that Malema's formidable EFF, a significant opposition party, which is expected to gain reasonable votes during the election, is a break-away of the ANC. Worse still, Mr. Zuma appears to be gaining some support from parties other than the one that has dominated the country since 1994, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, his home province. All these scenarios do not present the ANC with good news nor the confidence to face the upcoming election, which some analysts have termed a referendum on the ANC leadership.

The ANC has every reason to accuse former President Zuma of debasing the "proud history of armed struggle against the apartheid regime" by using military iconography "opportunistically," by backing the MK party. However, the ANC may excuse many South Africans if they level the same accusation against the party. In order words, how would the ANC respond to the allegation that the party has abandoned a "proud history of armed struggle against the apartheid regime" by way of iconography "opportunism?" 

 Despite all the corruption allegations against former president Jacob Zuma, he has always maintained his innocence; at the same time, he has ironically refused to prove his innocence in a court of law. Are politicians not trained in the game of lies, blame, and manipulation? The apparent characteristics have given them a thick skin and differentiated them from ordinary citizens. 

 Testifying at an inquiry investigation would have allowed Mr Zuma to debunk the corrupt allegations against him, prove his innocence and clear his name. Sadly, the former President ignored the court order and refused to testify. That disobedience to the court order did not help his claims of innocence and political victimisation. In light of Zuma's lawlessness, the court's verdict becomes logical, while Zuma's attempt to contest as a lawmaker would be seen by many as illogical and ironic. One might be pardoned to ask how a lawless mind can make laws suitable for a lawful society. Mosquitos do not cure malaria. Call it part of South Africa's political poker game. 

 Do South Africans know they have the last joker to win the game?