By Wilton Nyasha Machimbira
Calls for the resignation of President Zuma are reverberating across South Africa and have reached an alarming crescendo.With his inclination towards Machiavellian modus operandi its highly unlikely that President Zuma will capitulate.
The ANC seem to be developing cold feet to deal with the matter and pull the bull by the horns.
However,this can be explained by a plethora of factors.Possibly most of the ANC members feel that they have a lot to lose than gain in the event of an ignominious departure of Zuma. They seem to be receiving crumbs from his desk and have every reason to consider him as a benevolent godfather. This is a typical example of how beneficiaries of patronage system work.
They feel that they will not be guaranteed of retaining their positions in the event of a new political leader and as such they consider it obligatory to aggressively and viciously come to the rescue of the beleaguered political benefactor like rugby players.
Just to digress,most African leaders make use of patronage system to lubricate the loyalty of subordinates. Its highly unlikely for a dog to bark at its master and as such the beneficiaries of the patronage system will be reduced to mere praise singers and eulogizers whose sole purpose is to rubbers stamp and endorse anything from the leader.
Where patronage system reigns supreme political appointments will be done within the purview of loyalty and political correctness and not meritocracy.This reduces the quality of the public service.When political subordinates place their loyalty on the leader instead of the sacrosanct Constitution of the Republic – the result will be a creation of a Cult presided upon by an untouchable political demigod.
Such political misdemeanors can result in acts of unilateralism,something which does not augur well with collective responsibility in politics.Its high time South Africans lobby for a paradigm shift in their electoral system.
The proportional representation is flawed in the sense that the masses do no have a mechanism to hold their leaders accountable since the MPs do not have constituencies.The masses do not have a means to reward their leaders for good behaviour or punish them for bad behaviour.
It has to be noted that it is the political formations EFF and DA that took the Nkandlagate to the courts and possibly ANC members do not want to be seen being outwitted and outmaneuvered by opposition parties.
Notwithstanding the grains of truth raised by the opposition political parties, ANC party doesn’t want to be seen ‘stooping so low’, kowtowing to opposition parties.It will be politically suicidal for ANC to give in to the demands of opposition political parties, as such they will have to pretend that all is well and their faith in their leader is unquenchable.In other words the ANC members are not against the message but the messenger.
The ANC members are in a catch 22 situation.They are confronted with a an ethical and moral dilemma whether to sing from the same hymn with those calling for Zuma’s head or stand shoulder to shoulder with the President.
It also has to be noted that some within the rank and file of ANC have their skeletons in the cupboard and obviously lack the sufficient gravitas to throw stones to Zuma while they are in a glass house.Its a case of logrolling (exchange of political favours and support).
In navigating delicate political matters, craft politicians can make use of political precedence. It can be argued that the ANC took a leaf from the controversial Nicholson ruling that precipitated the fall from grace of Thabo Mbeki.
The Nicholson ruling was a precursor to the recalling of Thabo Mbeki and it led to a lot of internal dis-cohesion within the ANC. It is this dis-cohesion within the ANC that gave birth to a new political formation in the name of Congress of the People(COPE)l ed by Former Defense Minister Terror Lekota.
So by not giving in to Zuma must fall chorus ANC might be trying to maintain harmony within the party and avoid the sprouting of splinter groups.
Former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel recently upped the ante and voiced his concerns arguing that the only noble thing for President Zuma was to resign with dignity. One can also interpret it as a case of sour grapes considering that Trevor Manuel is no longer a minister.
But after all has been said done, by turning a deaf ear to Zuma must fall, the ANC has chose to go against the grain. Those calling for Zuma ‘s head argue that the gravity of Nkandla Con-court ruling is far more serious considering that it was a unanimous decision unlike in the case of Thabo Mbeki who was recalled after a ruling of one judge. That on its own speak volumes.
It is indeed time to introspect for ANC and tread with Solomon wisdom, chameleon caution and prophetic foresight. Considering Zuma’s chequred history he is unlikely to go down without a fight.
As Julius Nyerere opined “Running an African country is like riding on the back of a hungry tiger. You have to remain mounted by clinging to its back because if you slip and fall, the tiger will devour you.”
Zuma is fully aware of such a scenario if the Chiluba -Mwanawasa precedence is to go by. The rape case and arms case might reemerge after leaving the throne.
This buttresses conspiracy theories which opine that there are shenanigans to parachute Dhlamini-Zuma to the ANC top post the ulterior motive being to shield Zuma from possible prosecution after leaving office.Its Armageddon.
- Wilton Nyasha Machimbira is a Political Scientist