Waxing patriotic, Zuma finally takes a bow
By Nsikan Ikpe
The handwriting was all too clear. Jacob Zuma’s sins had piled up to overflowing. It was no longer a matter of whether he would be shown the way out of office and lose influence in South Africa, it had now become one of when.
But he stalled, pushing several cards, trying to cow his critics, bullying his party members and playing the old ‘African big man’ card; oblivious of the fact that many things had indeed shifted in the politics of the nation and continent.
And so, when the full weight of the new power variables were very openly shoved onto his face, Tuesday, as both the party and the security services (through their very high-stake raid of the untouchable Zuma allies, the Guptas) joined other critical elements within and beyond South Africa to insist on his ouster, Jacob Zuma, like Robert Mugabe before him eleven weeks earlier, knew that his bluff had comprehensively been called. It was time to make the exit he had long dreaded, and one that could ultimately see him spending a considerable length of time in jail.
But he would not leave without making one final speech ‘for the road:’
“I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment. I will continue to serve the people of South Africa and the ANC. I will dedicate my life to continuing to work for the execution of the policies of our organisation.
No life should be lost in my name. The ANC should never been divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect.’
Analysts say that all of this is ‘talk’ and that Zuma now must begin to face the prospect of going to jail in the next few months while also continuing to talk more humbly and very soberly and discreetly with the one he tried to stop at all costs, his now promoted deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa.
With Ramaphosa’s emergence as the new kid-on-the-block,’ Zuma’s best card would be to hope for a deal that after Ramaphosa’s formal election in next year’s presidential polls, he could then give him a presidential pardon and a get-away from jail card ‘in the spirit of forgiveness, national unity and humane compassion for a 76-year old man who also fought for the liberation of the country from white minority domination’ before he lost his head!’
Considering a pardon any time before then would be putting Ramaphosa and the ANC in the very untidy situation where he and the ANC could be nationally rejected at the polls for the first time since the victory of Nelson Mandela at the very historic 1994 polls.
And should Zuma decide to fight this path of a ‘soft landing’ and the ANC is defeated in next year’s polls in favour of perhaps a Julius Malema victory, then someone should as well be prepared to almost quite ‘literally rot in jail!’
Former South African President, Jacob Zuma