2017 ANC National Conference - Gauteng
I have written about Polokwane - where Zuma ascended to President of the ANC, and branch meetings, and previous party splits before.
The ANC has no term limits for its president, but South Africa’s constitution has a two term limit for the president of the country, and to avoid two centres of power the ANC has kept their president, the de-facto president of the country, to two terms as well.
I was invited to participate in BBCWorld Service ‘Africa have your say’ call-in programme to discuss Zuma’s request to Gordon Brown that sanctions be lifted. I was given 30 seconds very near the end of the programme, and I handled it poorly. This post is to make up for it :)
Africa have your say I have blogged about Zimbabwe here before. the bbc programme was prompted by Jacob Zuma’s official visit to the UK, and his request for the lifting of Zimbabwe’s sanctions.
Jacob Zuma: president of South Africa
Jacob Zuma has made no meaningful stamp on the history of South Africa.
I have blogged about Jacob Zuma’s rise to power in the ANC before.
I am reminded of Winnie Mandela’s response when asked for comment about Thabo Mbeki’s re-election bid in 1999 - she said he “deserved another chance”. I am sorry - “deserve” is a strange modern word like “it’s not fair!” -creation of a concept that did not exist 100 years ago.
Zimbabwean Home Affairs, food security
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Zimbabwe is position in the Zimbabwean government is currently subject to a tussle of control between Zanu-PF and MDC. However it is overshadowed by the Provincial administration in the communal areas, which largely controls food distribution.
The Ministry of Home Affairs controls, among others, :-
Zimbabwe Republic Police (responsible for internal security) Registrar General (Electoral roll) Immigration Board of Censors (Newspapers, TV, Radio) Lotteries and Gaming Board (Income in tourist areas) Especially because it controls the Police Force, it is a powerful ministry.
Splitting South Africa's ANC party
The African National Congress has led South Africa since 1994 - the start of majority rule. Disaffection with Jacob Zuma’s recall of Thabo Mbeki has set an unwanted ball in motion - a potential split of the party before the next election.
I have written about the ANC before - about Leadership in Africa, the election process, the rise of Zuma, and the election at Polokwane,
While it is not a one-party state, the ANC dominates the political landscape, with over the 2/3rds majority needed to change the constitution.
Zimbabwe - Thabo Mbeki and Aziz Pahad
Since the election itself, we have watched, in slow motion, the frantic backpedalling of ZanuPF to steal the elections after the fact.
We have all watched Zimbabwe’s slide from prosperous neighbour to failed state in the past 8 years. There was much wringing of hands by western countries - watching another African basket case grow from what was a functioning economy with educated populous.
Granted - there was a lot of unfinished business from independence -particularly about transfer of ownership of land to black Zimbabweans.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Zimbabwe went to elections last weekend. The Movement for Democratic Change use the open hand as a symbol, ZanuPF the cockerel. ZanuPF were so bereft ofideas that their slogan was “Get behind the fist” - a clear counterpoint to MDC’s open hand. That makes international opinion the Scissors - unable to conquer the Rock.
I have watched, aghast, Zimbabwe’s economic slide for 6 years. My first visit to Southern Africa was in 1999 - and I decided against visiting Zimbabwe then because my trip would have been too short.
Aftermath of Polokwane
The Polokwane conference was a triumph of process, and a disaster for results. Much negotiation remains to be done during the last 18 months of Mbeki’s presidency.
Winston Churchill famously said
No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Democracy was the winner at Polokwane, but democracy requires a well-informed and responsible electorate.
Zuma for President!
All the indications are that Jacob Zuma will be elected as ANC president at the 52nd annual ANC conference in Polokwane from December 16 through December 20.
Much effort has been put into consulting the grass roots of the party, and the result is in - the majority of ANC branches around the country want Zuma to lead the party. This might have been as much to do with the lack of other candidates - rank and file members were informed of the process, but many were unfamiliar with many of the names put forward.
ANC elections - the Eye of the Needle
The next president of South Africa will be chosen this December at the December ANC conference in Limpopo. This is a tiny subset of the electorate that make this important decision.
There have been three Presidential terms since the beginning of majority rule in South Africa. The Constitution of South Africa limits each president to two terms - the first term was Nelson Mandela, who stepped down after his first term to hand the reins over to Thabo Mbeki, his deputy during the first term.