The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters of South Africa, Julius Malema has on Sunday audaciously vowed to remove the government of President Jacob Zuma “through the barrel of a gun.“
In one of the boldest inflammatory statements so far attributed to the 35 year old acid tongue radical leader of the third largest opposition party in South Africa, Malema, who was once Zuma`s zealot has warned that his party would be ready to take up arm if necessary to remove President Zuma from power by force. Asked by the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera network to clarify his sensitive statement, the firebrand EFF leader went even ballistic:
“Yeah, literally I mean it literally. We are not scared…We are not scared of the army. We are not scared to fight. We will fight.“
For several months, opposition parties in South Africa, including Malema`s Economic Freedom Fighters have demanded fruitlessly, that President, who is enmeshed in many controversies including corruption scandals, to resign. To give some credibility to the opposition`s demands, South Africa`s constitutional court ruled, late last month, that Zuma had illegally used public funds to upgrade his private residence. The court demanded that President Zuma must repay the illegal money. On the other hand, Zuma accepted to obey the court`s order, but blatantly refused to heed to the demands of the opposition to resign ““ a decision, which did not go well with EEF MPs who disrupted parliamentary sessions, shouting anti-Zuma slogans and demanding that the president step aside. It took the intervention of the police to remove the disruptive EEF MPs from the assembly before the parliamentary sessions could continue. Even though Julius Malema is under various investigations for corruption and other unconstitutional acts, it does not stop him from presenting himself as an incorrigible political entity. Doesn`t the law say that one is innocent until proved guilty by the court?
Definitely such a statement from Malema would have been a welcome blessing for the likes of General Abacha of Nigeria and former President Eyadema of Togo, who would have castrated Malema in an open market square with a blunt broken bottle. But thank goodness, (South) Africa has come a long way democratically. Yet, many are wondering whether Julius Malema has gone too far ““ and beyond his constitutional rights as a citizen.
By boldly threatening to remove the government of President Jacob Zuma “through the barrel of a gun“ has Julius Malema committed a treasonable felony against the State? Or does the statement of the EEF leader fall within his constitutional freedom of speech domain? Does his remark categorize him as a threat to the State? Is Julius Malema playing a political joker game, which he hopes could catapult him to the highest political position in South Africa? By daring the State to arrest him over his statement, could it be that Malema hopes to castigate President Zuma as a dictator and himself, a victim or a prisoner of conscious? Many questions remain unanswered.
So far, Julius Malema, the former head of the ruling party`s (ANC) youth wing, who was expelled from the party in 2012 is a free man. Nor is President Zuma willing to resign as demanded by Malema and opposition parties. Time will come, when the world will know whether Malema who is embroiled in corruption allegation, will carry out his threats and live by his words. Or will Julius Malema, who has previously made a lot of sensitive and controversial statements, this time answer for his actions and utterances. Definitely, time will tell.