[DEBATE] : Re: More on Zuma: 23 days that shook our world
tshankimahlangu at yahoo.com
Wed May 3 08:19:11 BST 2006
The oracles and sages at M&G have now decided to issue
an authoritative interpretation on the consequences of
the trial, including a veiled reprimand to Zuma to not
even think that acquittal will mean running for
president. Again, I must express my appreciation of
the fact that the president will not be elected by
experts/analysts/editors, but by card-carrying,
rank-and file-members of the ANC, who are not beholden
to the media and its paymasters, and on whose behalf
the M&G certainly is not speaking.
One need not bring the example of HAMAS to know that
people pay no heed to expert advice, and that they are
not beholden to powerful corporate interests that
control the media. One must also point out that,
though they arrongantly (and baselessly) potray
themselves as "formulators of public opinion", the
media does not have the last word on this matter, and
that the people will ultimately decide for themselves.
We must not forget that the media predicted last year
that the ANC will pay dearly at the polls for Mbeki's
stance on AIDS, only to eat humble pie when the ANC
recorded a 70% victory. So much for formulating public
The stage has now been set, in the event of acquittal
and ascendancy of Zuma to the Presidency, for M&G,
The Star and their paymasters to argue that the
country is going down the drain, because the ANC
Conference elected an "unsuitable" person to lead us.
That such election might reflect the views of the
people will not matter. In fact, the media will argue
that Zuma was not elected by "the people", but by ANC
members, and that we need to reform electoral laws so
that the President is directly elected by the entire
electorate (a similar demand is now being made
regarding rape laws: if the laws do not suit your
agenda, lobby for their repeal so that your agenda
dictates what is law).
--- Ran Greenstein <rangreen at sn.apc.org> wrote:
> 23 days that shook our world
> Vicki Robinson, Rapule Tabane and Ferial Haffajee
> 28 April 2006 07:17
> In 23 days, the Jacob Zuma rape trial has shaken our
> world. Regardless of the outcome, we
> are in an altered state.
> The political damage is incalculable, with the
> ruling African National Congress now an
> openly divided and faltering movement. This has had
> a domino effect on the South African
> Communist Party and the Congress of South African
> Trade Unions (Cosatu), which have
> floundered and fractured in the face of damaging
> charges against a man they ardently
> backed as the country´s next president.
> The trial has been fought against the backdrop of a
> bitter succession war between Mbeki
> and Zuma. Both have been fatally wounded.
> Mbeki´s support in the ANC has crumbled, with the
> party faithful refusing to accept that he
> will anoint a leader; on the streets outside the
> trial, his name has been mud. "Tell him we are
> sick of him, tell him that. Tell him we still
> believe JZ will be president," Zuma supporters
> stridently declared outside the Johannesburg High
> But even Zuma´s most diehard supporters privately
> acknowledge that he cannot now be
> president, regardless of the trial outcome.
> When he appeared on corruption charges last November
> in Durban, the crowd of supporters
> was estimated at 10 000-strong. It dwindled to a
> couple of hundred emotionally charged
> fans outside the Johannesburg High Court when he
> first appeared in March for his rape trial.
> Most had been bussed in from KwaZulu-Natal. In
> general, they expressed the view that
> Zuma was a pawn in an ethnic struggle for power in
> the ANC.
> The trial has fractured the political establishment
> and knocked South Africa´s vaunted
> political stability. It has damaged much that South
> Africans hold dear, including gender
> equity and the need for national unity. Battles that
> seemed to have been won against
> tribalism and sexism -- at least in principle -- now
> have to be waged anew.
> The political cost
> The ANC
> The divisions in the ruling party came seething to
> the surface at the ANC national general
> council in July last year when Mbeki faced an
> internal rebellion against his technocratic and
> centralist style. While Mbeki had succeeded in
> persuading the party´s national executive
> committee to drop Zuma from active party work, the
> grass-roots forced a humiliating climb-
> The rape trial has crystallised divisions and forced
> individuals into open camps. In managing
> the political fallout, the party has unsuccessfully
> tried to present a unified front. In a
> statement released after last year´s crucial
> November 19 national executive committee
> meeting, Zuma was forced to reject his repeated
> claim that he was victim of a plot.
> But soon afterwards his supporters lambasted this as
> a PR exercise. "The PR exercise is
> designed to try and walk the ANC through a crisis.
> But you cannot walk through a burning
> house and leave a body behind," said a Zuma aide.
> The trial has fuelled, rather than dampened, claims
> of a political conspiracy against Zuma,
> who in fact repeated the allegation as part of his
> trial defence. While he is regarded as a
> spent force as presidential candidate, he is still a
> power-broker as the ANC gears up for its
> crucial 2007 conference.
> ANC Youth League
> Since judgement in the Schabir Shaik trial, which
> fingered Zuma as party to a "generally
> corrupt" relationship with Shaik, the youth league
> has loudly joined the chorus of those
> claiming a political conspiracy -- led by Mbeki --
> to thwart Zuma´s succession to the
> presidency. They have ignored an ANC NEC directive
> in November last year that all
> demonstrations in support of Zuma should be
> coordinated through the office of the secretary
> general, and have been visible and vociferous
> outside the Johannesburg High Court during
> Zuma´s rape trial.
> Open divisions have emerged in the league, with
> deputy president Reuben Mahlaloga being
> axed because he took Mbeki´s side.
> South African Communist Party
> The case has entrenched the divisions in the SACP
> that blew open in November last year
> when a paper written by deputy national secretary
> Mazibuko Jara, What colour is our flag?
> Red or JZ?, was leaked to the media. The document
> described the party´s support for Zuma
> in his corruption trial as a "strategic lapse", and
> called for "a party retreat and reorientation on
> the JZ matter".
> Members of the party´s central executive committee
> recently said the deepening fractures in
> the SACP over the saga are the "worst in the party´s
> history". Party members who support a
> Zuma presidency -- mainly the Young Communist League
> -- have pitted themselves against
> senior party members, mainly CEC members and
> provincial leaders, who argue that Zuma
> is not a convincing champion of the left.
> Zuma´s diehard supporters in Cosatu, including
> general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and
> president Willie Madisha, have fallen silent since
> rape charges were brought against Zuma.
> In contrast with the ANC Youth League and, to some
> extent, the SACP, the absence of
> Cosatu members outside the Johannesburg High Court
> has been noticeable.
> In November last year Cosatu held a press conference
> where it qualified its support for
> Zuma pending the outcome of the rape allegations.
> Cosatu´s women´s wing has pushed for a more activist
> stance on women´s rights and sexual
> Gender and HIV/Aids
> The trial has aroused women´s fury. The defence
> strategy hinged on revealing the
> complainant´s sexual history to attack her
> credibility. This, in turn, provoked anger at the
> years-long delay in passing the Sexual Offences Act,
> designed to facilitate rape
> prosecutions. In addition, Zuma´s testimony revealed
> his Neanderthal attitudes to women
> and sexual violence. During the trial, he referred
> to the vagina as isibhaya sika bab´wakhe --
> her father´s kraal.
> Zuma´s testimony also revealed that he knows little
> of HIV/Aids prevention, despite his
> former leadership of the South African National Aids
> Council. His view that post-coital
> showering can reduce the risk of HIV infection has
> become something of a national joke.
> Tribalism and culture
> A member of "The Friends of Jacob Zuma" outside the
> court explained the trial thus: "The
> ANC was established by Zulus, then the Xhosas took
> over and now they don´t want the
> Zulus back in the seats. So they brought the rape
> charge." Zuma has deliberately used
> tribalism in his fight, undermining the ANC´s
> century-old anti-tribal philosophy.
> Zuma´s assertion that his action was guided by Zulu
> culture was widely condemned as a
> smokescreen. Sexism, tribalism and leadership
> failure on HIV/Aids were grotesquely
> combined in his defence of unprotected sex -- that
> it was against Zulu culture to leave a
> woman in a state of arousal.
> While Judge Willem van der Merwe has presided with a
> firm and impartial hand, the semi-
> farce of the selection of the trial judge has harmed
> the independent standing of the judiciary.
> Transvaal provincial division Judge President
> Bernard Ngoepe acceded to an application by
> Zuma´s counsel to recuse himself, but not on the
> legal merits. Controversially, Ngoepe said
> he would take into account the highly political
> nature of the case.
> His deputy, Judge John Mojapelo, asked to be excused
> for personal reasons, while the third
> option, Judge Jeremiah Shongwe, cried off because
> Zuma had fathered a child with his
> sister 30 years ago in exile. Will South Africa
> always have to find retired white judges to hear
> difficult political cases?
> Ran Greenstein
> Johannesburg, South Africa
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