Very much a man many would loath and the most controversial President South Africa has ever had. With a trail of non-ending shenanigans, one would wonder why the ANC would want to re-elect him as the president for a second term. In a country where HIV is rife, he has four wives, has been accused of rape and has had sexual relations outside marriage. Among other things, he has escaped massive corruption charges and his friend Schabir Shaik who was found guilty of the corrupt dealings between the two of them is now out of jail under the guise of being at ‘death’s door’. Who are they trying to fool? This is a classic case of you scratch my back and I scratch yours.
Let me not even touch on the Nkandlagate issue, that’s another topic on its own which evokes emotions many would share with me.
These traits and mishaps are not what one would expect from a State President let alone to be proud to have such a person as the first citizen. Jacob Zuma is loved by many and concurrently disliked (very tempting to use the word hate instead of dislike) by others.
As the saying goes, there is always some good that comes out of the bad. With the ANC being the majority party for as long as it has been, it is difficult to even imagine South Africa being ruled by the alternative. Ideally, as many would agree with me, an opposition is very essential for a full democracy, bringing with it a strong sense of accountability to those in power.
One of the dangers of a dominant party as we have seen with the ANC is that there is a tendency of the ruling party to appoint party officials to senior positions irrespective of whether they possess the required qualities to execute such duties with efficiency or not. To that end, the abysmal mess in our government proves that the deployment of non-skilled cadres to key positions in the economy is as dumb as appointing a kitchen cleaner to do a heart transplant.
Come election times, the ANC knows well that it is assured victory. When one is assured victory, there is a tendency not to perform, as is the case with our bureaucrats. There is no sense of fear and it is this fear that we need to instill in our politicians for them to run the country with the right amount of efficiency necessary/essential for a better developmental state.
This then brings me to the idea: “Zuma is not so much a bad idea for South Africa in the context of a true democracy!” Some would think that this is an insane statement given how Zuma is not favoured by many of the country’s conscious citizens. Zuma will most likely alienate a sizeable amount of ANC voters in the coming 2014 elections. This will, in essence, translate into the oppositions getting more votes as compared to the previous elections. In particular, the DA will probably acquire a larger voter base than it did in the 2009 elections.
One might think that the marginal increase in votes to opposition parties will be a drop in the ocean, but then again, the ocean would be less without that missing drop.
Implicitly, President Jacob Zuma is a key in reducing the “soft-authoritarian” power of the ANC; where oppositions are too weak or ineffective to seriously challenge the abuse of power which comes in various forms of corruption, violation of the constitution and cultural values unfavourable to change that intentionally undermine the ability for an effective opposition to thrive.
After all, Zuma being a president for the second term would not be such a bad idea given that the probable alienation of ANC voters would bring with it some positivity, thereby slightly reducing the immense support that is currently being bestowed upon the ANC.