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Will the ANC Rule South Africa Until Jesus Comes Back?
by Newropeans-Magazine
2008-10-22 09:31:16
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A few weeks ago, Mosiuoa Lekota was one of the most respected members of the South African ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC). He used to be a central figure in the struggle against apartheid, a prisoner on Robben Island, the Chairperson of the ANC, and the country's defense minister.

Mosiuoa Lekota is a close ally of Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa who was recently ousted after a judge suggested he may have interfered in the prosecution of Jacob Zuma, the ANC president, on corruption charges.  

Lekota disagreed with the way Mbeki was treated and announced a possibility of leaving the ANC and forming a new political party. Lekota added that his decision to break away from the ANC was also influenced by the "arrogance and the elimination of internal democracy within the party." He has since been supported by a number of prominent ANC members in a bid to form a new party.  

The ANC began fracturing in 2005 when Thabo Mbeki dismissed Jacob Zuma, then his vice-president, amid allegations of corruption. The divisions widened last December when Zuma took control of the ANC. 

The ANC split would perhaps be a good thing for South Africa. As some analysts believe, an effective opposition would keep the ruling party on its toes. The ANC will have to work hard to win elections instead of only counting on the vote of the black majority due to the country's history. If left unchallenged, the arrogance of the ANC could only lead to a dictatorship. 

Immediately after Lekota announced a possibility of a breakaway party, he was called a traitor and charlatan by the ANC leaders. This week, the ANC suspended Lekota from the party.  

Many who only a few weeks ago saw Lekota as a hero, today say that he is a hypocrite and traitor. At a recent ANC meeting where Jacob Zuma lashed out at Lekota and sang his signature song "Bring me my machine gun," the ANC delegates danced and sang "Lekota is a hypocrite." 

Zuma promised that the ANC "will crack down hard on dissent." He said "radical actions" will be taken against the dissidents, but did not go into detail to explain what those actions would entail. 

In May, Zuma said to his supporters that the ANC will stay united and strong because the party is "even blessed in Heaven. That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back." 

Jacob Zuma, the man who will probably become the president of South Africa next year, was acquitted of rape in 2006, but admitted to having unprotected sex with his HIV-positive accuser. 

Zuma, who before the rape trial headed the South African National AIDS Council, said in court that he took a shower to minimize the risk of infection. He claimed that he could tell by the way a woman sat whether she wanted to have sex with him and that his Zulu culture demanded he should oblige her. 

In a stunning comeback that surprised many, Zuma won party's contest in last December to become the ANC leader. Last month, a South African court dropped sixteen charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud, and racketeering against Jacob Zuma, thus clearing the way for him to be elected South Africa's president in 2009. 

When, after 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela came out in 1994 and began spreading the message of peace, reconciliation, and hope, he dreamed about building a society in which all South Africans would live in freedom, peace, harmony, and prosperity.  

But today the country is still facing numerous problems. Millions still live in shacks and informal settlements, without jobs, education, electricity, water, and hope. About 12% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS. South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and has the highest rate of rape in the world.  

If all this were not enough, the country is now facing unprecedented political crisis of the ruling party. 

Many in South Africa fear that the country could experience large-scale violence between the feuding ANC factions, especially during the upcoming campaign for the general elections scheduled for April 2009. 

The ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has already said that he was prepared to kill for Jacob Zuma. 

We will have to wait and see if reason will prevail in South Africa or if the country will become yet another autocratic and failed state, like many on the African continent.

Savo Heleta*
Port Elizabeth - South Africa


* Savo Heleta is a postgraduate student in conflict transformation and management at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is the author of “Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia" -> Visit his blog: http://www.savoheleta.com/.

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