Perhaps this is too late? But it must be said… I’m watching you Mr Zuma.
Jacob Zuma is undoubtedly (short of being found guilty of some or other fraudulent activity, and even then one can’t be sure…) going to become our next president. He will be democratically elected in a free and fair election. He will ride to his victory by being the champion of the people. Well, I’m a people and I have some stuff to say.
I can look past the multiple wives. I can even *gasp* look past the womanising with one of his struggle comrade’s daughters… She was 31, a fact that the media repeatedly seemed unable to report — preferring the phrase “young daughter” instead. Bill Clinton was one of the better U.S. presidents with regards to policy and finance. He too had a womanising problem, but he never led the U.S. into a recession or sent their boys to die in an unnecessary war.
JZ was found not guilty. We have to respect the courts, especially in the political climate at the time… For those South African’s still living in a dualistic, white vs black world, you need to wake up and realise that just because the government is predominantly black, doesn’t mean they all like each other. If Mbeki had wanted to, and our courts were flexible enough with their justice, one could assume that Zuma would have been found guilty… but he wasn’t, and to me that says that he probably was innocent. Bottom line: There were plenty of powerful people who would have loved for him to disappear… but he didn’t. However Mr Zuma, you have said some pretty stupid things; case in point being your statement in court about showering after sex with an HIV positive woman. Now I realise that unlike Mr Mbeki, you didn’t attend fancy universities overseas and learn about how not to stick your foot in your mouth, BUT, that was a pretty stupid thing to say. One that resonated throughout South Africa, and the world, like the sound of a bone snapping in some horrific youtube video of a guy falling off his skateboard. I hope like hell that you realise how much you made us cringe.
I must however admit that my overwhelming optimism is beating a path for you in the bush of skepticism that is my current outlook on your looming presidency.
You did not go to a fancy university and learn how to be calculated and politically correct, and inefficient. You are a champion of the people. (or at least you claim to be). You have spoken out against South Africa’s lack of response with regards to Zimbabwe. You have promised to work hard at eradicating poverty. You are essentially spouting all the rhetoric that is required of the non-incumbent, with one small difference… you might just follow through.
Case in point, Thabo Mbeki. Great guy, comes from a great family but about as politically active and efficient as the Queen Mother. I can’t think of anything he did besides not say stuff… even with your own fraud and rape trials, the very leader of this country spoke in calculated, non-committal terms and never once gave the impression that he actually had a point of view. While this might be the “presidential way”, it’s certainly not something that the “people” want.
South Africa does face a lot of unique challenges, foremost being the gap between rich and poor, which manifests itself in our high crime rate. Sure, we might have corrupt police chiefs and/or corrupt officials, but so do many other countries who don’t have ridiculous murder and rape statistics.
This is a grass roots issue… the average Joe needs to be able to get a job and live a dignified life before we can expect the crime rates to actually drop to reasonable levels.
I hope like hell that you truly are the champion of the people and will be the leader, not of a party, but of a group of knowledgeable South Africans dedicated to making South Africa a better place. I don’t care if you get another 10 wives in the process. This is Africa, we need an African leader. I just hope we’ve found a good one in you. And if the job wasn’t hard enough, you need to put the people first while not pissing off the middle class and the elite.
Ultimately Mr Zuma, history will judge you, not the media. Your term comes at a time where South Africans are still predominantly voting along cultural lines and no true opposition exists. You have, as they say, “got it in the bag”. But as South Africa matures there will be greater pressure from the people for a government that is not dominated by one party. South Africa is evolving… So Mr Zuma, take it as a foregone conclusion that during your term the pressure to govern with excellence will increase, perhaps not to the point where you or the ANC need worry about losing grip, but perhaps enough to highlight any cracks in your stature that might be showing… and if those cracks exist there will be pressure to purge you and appoint the new hero du jour… Mbeki took the safe option, he never stuck his neck out and as a result he can leave office without looking too bad, or too good. I think it is a foregone conclusion that with your charismatic personality you will be sticking your neck out… South Africa will be watching and hoping for the best.
The people might not be revolting, but they are fickle.
Ps. If you need any help with decision making, I’m always available on my cell.