If I had to cook up an explanation ….

(I posted this in the boarding queue at Cape Town International on my way to Johannesburg and that means there were a few typographical errors, some of which I have now corrected. Where the sense has changed – as in the final paragraph – I indicate the changes I have made.)

If my life depended upon cooking up an explanation for why Julius Malema was attacking Jacob Zuma in the open and forthright way he has been doing in the lead-up to the National General Council it would go something like this:

If when those who wish to be king arrive at the National Conference of the ANC in 2012 and Jacob Zuma is still president of the country and organisation and Kgalema Motlanthe is still his deputy, then there is a very strong imputation that Kgalema will go on to become president – of the party and the country.

So those who wish to be king (and because of age or some other factor cannot wait until Motlanthe serves a full term) would have to be angling for some way of achieving the recall of Jacob Zuma before that conference. That way, Kgalema could do another caretaker job between now and 2012/14 and the regal aspirants could gear up for a 2012 (ANC National Conference)/2014 (general election) coronation.

To achieve the recall of Jacob Zuma, it would be necessary to portray him, his presidency, his sexual behaviour and the accumulation of wealth of his family as constituting a clear, present and current emergency and crisis for the state and for the ANC. (In a non-relative sense this alarmist claim is true and appropriate. In a relative sense, Jacob Zuma is not alone amongst top ANC leaders in behaving in this fashion.)

A recall of Jacob Zuma could have even more catastrophic consequences for the ANC than the recall of Thabo Mbeki. I discuss some of the consequences of the recalling of Mbeki as part of an argument for why I think it is unlikely that Zuma could be recalled before his first term of office expires here. What I don’t mention in that article is the additional conflicts and problems that might arise from the recalling of Jacob Zuma in his Kwazulu “constituency”. This is not just about ethnic chauvinism, but it is persuasive to me that there would be myriad and dangerous consequences attached to recalling “100% Zulu Boy” before he has even got going.

So whose attack dog does that make Julius Malema? Work that one out for yourself. It is not difficult. There are several candidates, take your pick.

3 thoughts on “If I had to cook up an explanation ….

  1. It’s a semi-patronage state too. Zuma may have kept more cake than could reasonably be allowed (under unwritten patronage law) but his patronagista- comrades have not shown any organizational priapic ability to skewer Zuma, mount the seat of power and do anything beyond what Zuma is already doing. The ANC started to splinter when Mbeki was ousted. That may save us from a Mugabe or a Putin but not necessarily from the ANC itself.
    It’s jolly unfair of you to throw in a question like that at the end and not answer it. You imply that Malema isn’t his own man. He’s on record as saying, one person, one partner. He’s a faithful guy. It’s just a question of to what and whom he’s faithful. I’m hoping enough people to keep weakening the Alliance.

    1. You know Anthony, it is not only unfair, it was also a little silly – you might see that I tried to change it … the dangers of trying to hit “publish” before getting to the end of a boarding queue. I suppose I am referring to the main (visible) challengers (whether they are being backed by others or backed by themselves) for higher office including Mbalula, Sexwale, Phosa, and Sisulu – and I am sure there are less visible plots and candidates. I wouldn’t be hugely surprised if someone told me that Julius was acting on behalf of any of the first three in that list … but I suspect that the truth, when it eventually reveals itself, will be crazier and more arbitrary than I imagined.

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