Malema: a stick being used to beat Zuma? Just a thought …

I am sure no-one has failed to notice the flood of South African high achievers passing through the United Kingdom over the last week or so.

A golfer was there recently, some swimmers,  a group of cricketers … and, oh yes, Julius Malema.

Julius told BBC and Sky News that he was in London working hard and meeting investors behind closed doors – to explain the ‘economic freedom campaign’ – and to give nuances on the nationalisation call.

He – charmingly – defended the racial make-up of the South African Olympic team: “we are proud of our athletes”, he said; and he came clean on his support for Kgalema Motlanthe to succeed Jacob Zuma at Mangaung in December.

This is his Mangaung prediction:

“I am coming back to the ANC in December; once we have removed president Jacob Zuma – because we are going to remove him successfully in December … and then I will walk into that conference, shake his hand and proceed to occupy my rightful seat.” (Catch that BBC clip here.)

It is difficult not to admire the audacity … and delight in the anxiety that those who conducted the Polokwane Putsch must be feeling.

But to my mind things swerve away from the comic and towards the dark when I think about this a little more.

It is a series of small things that worry me.

Surprise! (From New Zimbabwe, August 1 2012)

He pitched up at the Chingford Rugby Club and joined a group of Zimbabweans for a braai – and was apparently welcomed with open arms. He dined with Lenox Lewis

With Lenox Lewis in London – (from New Zimbabwe August 1 2012)

and spoke to a group called the Pan African Congress (not our PAC – but it has some similarities) and was covered in a spooky online journal called The Zimdiaspora  under the headline “We are inspired by Mugabe – Malema” as follows:

Turning to … Zimbabwe and its politics of land and mineral wealth redistribution, Malema had glowing praise for the president of Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe for confiscating land from the whites and giving it to blacks. He stated they found inspiration from the actions of Mugabe as an African leader and were grateful to see him standing up against whites and their economic enslavement of blacks.

Glowing praise for president of Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe? Sounds like a writer constrained by the diktats of belonging to a government department, something like, say … hmm … the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation?

What would covert aspects of the Zimbabwean state get from promoting the increasingly virulently, anti-Zuma Malema in London ? (I am not unaware that there is a wild leap in that last sentence … but still am going to just take it and move along.)

It’s a tenuous link but my nose is twitching: Zanu-PF’s preparation to hold off the MDC challenge is multifaceted and very sophisticated. A significant part of the pressure on Zanu-PF to meet its obligations under the Global Political Agreement and move towards democratic elections is coming from the SADC facilitation under the leadership of Jacob Zuma.

The next Zimbabwean election is going to be won or lost on the precise wording of the laws and constitution that set the conditions for elections – including how the security apparatuses will be controlled.

That wording is being finalised as I write this …. as Julius Malema takes his campaign against Zuma to the world stage, during the Olympics … no expenses spared.

I realise I have to be cautious; it is not as if the Malema ANC Youth League faction is not brilliant at self-promotion and has an almost preternatural ability to play into the current media obsessions.

Malema was quoted in the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail in June saying that Jacob Zuma was not the right person to be the SADC mediator in Zimbabwe because ‘he hates Robert Mugabe.’

I think that the possibility that Malema is acting as an asset for a (partially) hostile foreign power will play against him in the ANC’s internecine strife … or at least his enemies will try and make that case to his detriment. (Note added on 03/08/2012: I am not suggesting that there is necessarily any intention on Malema’s part … the point is rather that in effect he might be fulfilling Bob’s/Zanu-PF’s agenda as opposed to ‘the national interest’ as embodied – supposedly – by the South African president … or even more narrowly that the possibility of this being true will probably been used against Malema by the incumbents he is campaigning against.)

We must guard against paranoia and the instinct to see everything we can’t quite explain as evidence of the hidden hand of spies, aliens or the Elders of Zion – but equally we would have to be very naive to believe that the hundreds of billions of real dollars spent each years on espionage and dirty tricks just disappears into the ether, leaving no imprint on the world.

7 thoughts on “Malema: a stick being used to beat Zuma? Just a thought …

  1. How soon do you think it will be before SARS is seen publicly getting more serious about Julius Malema and the money trail?

    1. I think the SARS wheels probably have to turn at the rate they do naturally … and any evidence of “political interference” will potentially give Malema an “out” … which means the incumbents are probably being very cautious, because they don’t want to waste a trump card (like Zuma’s opponents did with the corruption charges and the Scorpions). That being said, I have no doubt that wheels are turning – there have GOT to be tax liabilities; there hasve got to be strands for The Hawks to be pursuing … If I remember correctly the Public Protector said she is hanging back for the moment – I assume because she is obliged to wait for whatever “formal processes” are underway to take their course .. and she is brought in if those process are somehow faulty …. I would be really interested to hear any additional views – speculative or factual – on this?

    1. Hi Ian … can you say which comments you are referring to? I will try and put the links up here for you, but I used several different news sources for that … so I just want to make sure I know what it is you wanted.

  2. I LOVE a conspiracy theory so I have to be careful how I think about things like this. Your latest blog comes uncannily soon (!) after this article appeared in The Witness newspaper of 27 July 2012 following Barry Gilder’s address at a Cape Town Press Club luncheon and publication of his memoir “Songs and Secrets”.
    Any foreign power thinking they are using Malema strategically is going to find themselves scrambling for the damage-control button sooner or later – I mean, look where it got the ANC. My last word on Malema: as I believe he is a narcissist/borderline personality disorder “it’s all about me, stoopid”.

    I am now going to delve into my interesting new book ……

    1. Hi Mandy – I do think “foreign powers’ work hard to achieve whatever they perceive as their ‘national objectives’ and they have a host ways of attempting that – from the straightforward to the seriously tricky … but I am faintly worried about my idle speculation …. because it really was idle speculation … I was heading off just wanting to make the point about the South African high achievers in London and to quote Malema from that interview … which I thought was funny,and I doubted that many people would have seen … and then I just wandered down the path … and ended up with Zimbabwe using Malema … it came across more definite than I intended. Barry G would know about this kind of stuff … I was just ambling down a path .. something I don’t usually do here … usually much more cautious … and I have had quite a bit of interest in the piece and suddenly I wish I had taken a little more care about how I phrased things. Cheers

  3. Yo Nic — I don’t think you should be so bashful about your conspiracy theories. Between the lines of Fiona Forde’s account of Julius’ fateful visit to Zimbabwe in Easter 2010 one discerns an unmistakeable confluence of interest between the voracious Juju and Zanu-PF vultures intent on cornering the market in platinum. Would such vultures bother to put money where their mouths are? Hmmm. A free-thinking South Africa is bothersome to them. Their lives would be so much easier if our government was eager to suck Cde Robert Gabriel’s unmentionables. Julius is on is knees, sucking. If two and two equalled five, Bob would be your uncle.

    But let’s not be boring. Let’s rather make book on Julius’ comeback. I offer 3-2. ie I say Julius will be reinstated after Mangaung and put up R3 for every R2 bet against me. The Hon. Borain will take control of the stakes. Any takers? R Malan, Joburg.

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