[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Stratfor hosts JZ
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Dec 11 04:11:17 GMT 2007
10 December 2007
Zuma’s choice of hosts raises eyebrows
QUESTIONS about the soundness of African National Congress (ANC) deputy
president Jacob Zuma’s political judgment have arisen over a trip last
week to the US, where he was hosted by a US-based private intelligence
Strategic Forecasting Incorporated (Stratfor) arranged Zuma’s visit to
the US, which formed part of an international tour that ended at the
Founded in 1996, the company is said to be highly influential. Through
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), one of its major clients, it
helped the Bush administration make a decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
Commentators expressed concern that in his bid to win friends and
influence, Zuma may have allowed himself to be wooed by questionable
characters — first in SA and now abroad.
As potentially the country’s next president “it makes a big difference
on whose visit he’s on ”, said University of Johannesburg political
analyst Adam Habib.
Zuma is ahead in the ANC’s succession race, the outcome of which will be
determined at the ruling party’s national conference in Polokwane in a
Habib said Zuma had to explain the US visit, which placed him “on the
platform of an institution that may violate the very principles of the
Zuma also went to India and the UK, where he was hosted by controversial
millionaire businessman Paul Ekon .
Ekon, who has long maintained an association with the ANC — even
claiming to have paid for President Thabo Mbeki’s 50th birthday party in
1992 — was linked to allegations of gold smuggling before he left SA in
Political analyst Chris Landsberg said blots on Zuma’s character would
not be enough to prevent his election at Polokwane. But when the
euphoria died down, “the question of political judgment” would be among
the first issues South Africans raised.
“My concern is whether his political decisions will be thought through
or whether he will change as the mood changes,” said Landsberg. Zuma’s
backers in the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South
African Communist Party expected a policy shift, while the ANC number
two is assuring international investors of policy continuity.
“You can’t go both ways,” said Landsberg.
Steven Friedman of the Idasa think-tank said Zuma’s associations were a
valid area of concern.
“I suppose the question he really has to answer is whether he is drawing
an appropriate line on who he associates with and who he doesn’t. As a
responsible leader you have to ask that question.”
It was Zuma’s friendship with convicted fraud Schabir Shaik that almost
cost him his political career. He also failed to exercise restraint when
he had unprotected sex with the daughter of a former comrade, in another
case that damaged his moral standing.
Zuma is indebted to a long line of Durban business people who helped set
up the Friends of Jacob Zuma trust fund, to raise money for his legal
Others, such as Vivian Reddy and Don Mkhwanazi, helped finance his
Nkandla homestead. Controversial ANC members such as former ANC chief
whip Tony Yengeni feature prominently on Zuma’s list for the national
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