Zuma's Season of Pains and Headaches
April 13 2017 By Abiodun Giwa
Opposition groups in South Africa had a mass rally against President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday, the same day that Zuma marked his 75th birthday in Kliptown, Soweto.
President Zuma was bombarded with so much criticisms he may never forget in his life, culminating in a song entitled "Zuma Must Go."
On the other side, Zuma appealed to the ANC to disregard the opposition, whose clamor against the president, he said, will continue, after his own exit.
The opposition's rally against Zuma is a culmination of events during President Zuma's terms as president, which have led to a song entitled "Zuma Must Go",
reminding observers around the world about the pains that President Zuma's terms as president of his country has become for Zuma and his party, due to consistent accusations of corruption, developments that observers say have divided the ruling party and with uncertainty about the party's future.
"There is a few more months left before my task as president ends. In December, a new president will be elected. I don't know who it will be, the ANC will elect," President Zuma said in a widely reported statement from his birthday speech and culled from News24. It is true that Zuma may be unaware who the ANC will elect in December to be its flag bearer, but that does not mean that Zuma does not have a favored candidate.
Based on the division in the ANC and information that has Zuma's former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as Zuma's favored candidate to be ANC flag bearer in the next election to succeed him, many observers are doubting the possibility of South Africans ever voting for any candidate with the president's last name, not to talk about his former wife, who still answers his name, giving Zuma's current unpopularity, the swan song against him and the prayers for him to fail - among South Africans, except his home base. Another headache Zuma has about the succession trouble is that in his home base, people are now focused on protecting their financial interests, and not tribal loyalty.
Zuma's pains from protracted battle against corrupt acts leveled against him become manifest in his speech, when he said that he will step down anytime the ANC demands his ouster, and that he will remain a member of the ANC and that he will serve the ANC for life, dubbing the opposition as eternally unhappy.
"I have heard stories and I have experienced a lot. I have heard people say, I have heard that you can be friends with someone and then you can stop being friends with them. I have heard that do not trust a person, rather trust a rock. I have also decided to trust the rock I used as a young man, you cannot trust a person," Zuma said in a seeming reference to his sacking of the finance minister, based on an intelligence report, without mentioning names.
It will be recalled that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the intelligence report, which Zuma based his decision for sacking the finance minister, as unreliable. Manifestly, Zuma may have accepted his intelligence report, because he could not trust anyone and his distrust of people around him may have widened with the fallout over the sacking of the finance minister and consequently the leading to division in his own party.
The height of Zuma's speech was his reference that he was not the first president to face the opposition's criticisms and said that President Nelson Mandela and Thambo Mbeki were also criticized. Here, Zuma said that it was his critics who first broke the law for grabbing the land that belonged to the people and said that any black person who thinks he is wrong needs to be fixed.
With division in the ANC threatening Zuma's succession plans with factions in Zulu Nathan region, Zuma will not be the only former president to fail getting his favorite candidate to succeed him. It happened in the United States, where President Barack Obama campaigned in vain, to get Hillary Clinton to succeed him. Incidentally, like Clinton in the U.S., Zuma's favorite is also female candidate, making Ramaphosa as a likely candidate to benefit from Zuma's headaches.
Although, ANC officers are still solidly behind Zuma, but is highly doubtful they will officially approve another 'Zuma', to succeed Zuma, with all the headaches that his terms as president have brought to the party.