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Dear Mr Zuma: So what’s your next move?

Dear Mr Zuma

My excitement has gone beyond fever pitch and well into the realms of renal failure in anticipation of just how you are going to steal the limelight back from the Pres.

You must admit he’s been pretty darn shrewd firing old “prosecute-and-be-damned-Pikoli” so soon after getting at that attention from firing the deputy health minister.

I can’t wait to see your next move, and I reckon it going to have to be pretty soon because the Pres is on a roll. So, don’t spend too much time thinking about it; get weaving. Any more delay and you’ll have three-quarters of the population saying things like “What machine gun?” and “Jacob who?”.

Frankly, I would be at a bit of a loss to know what to suggest you have to do to get back on the high ground. You’ve pretty well done the HIV/Aids thing, in spite of your shower theory making Manto’s garlic-and-vegetable soufflé sound almost credible. You could add another wife or two — hey, that’s not a bad idea; how about a white one just to make sure that Tokyo doesn’t steal a march on you?

And talking about Tokyo, I am surprised that in spite of you being more politically savvy than a brace of Bushes, 10 Blairs and an ayatollah or two, you haven’t yet played your Tokyo trump card.

You know, the one about it being easier for a populist to gain the confidence of big business than it is for a big businessman to currying favour with the masses. Frankly, when it comes to the popularity stakes, you’ve got it made. The great unwashed, and now even some of the washed, seem to love you to bits and don’t seem to lose any sleep over the corporate sector wringing its hands and gnashing its underlings’ teeth at the thought of you as president. Just look how the bulk of them cosied up to everyone from Verwoerd to Vorster and even the late, great Krokodil. Trust me, the old business ethic of supporting whoever is in power will work a treat for you when the time comes.

Now, you might well ask why I am so excited about your next move. It’s because I am a marketer and completely fascinated by the sense that you, more than anyone else, have a grasp of just what marketing is all about. I’m beginning to feel like the leader of the Conservative Party in the UK who grudgingly admitted a few weeks after Gordon Brown became PM that “I am beginning to like the cut of his jib …”

Unlike every other politician other than Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill, you are sticking to the fundamentals of marketing, to a strategy that makes you an instant hit with the masses.

That fundamental you obviously know well, but allow me to repeat it for the benefit of other politicians who might have read this letter so far without having run out into the street and hurled themselves in front of a cement truck: “It is not what you want to say but what the consumer wants to hear.”

And that’s what is making you so popular. While all the other politicians in South Africa — with the exception of the DA’s zap-’em-when-they’re down Zille, who shouldn’t be counted because she was after all a journalist and therefore endowed with above-average political communications skills — where was I, oh yes, while all the other politicians are grabbing voters by the lapels and forcing them to listen to what they have to say, you are casually captivating the masses by simply telling them what they want to hear. Smart.

I tell you, Mr Shoe-in-for-the-Next-ANC-President Zuma, I am beginning to like the cut of your jib. From a purely academic marketing point of view, of course.

I must admit, though, that while I respect your culture I don’t understand it. Particularly, I don’t understand where you get all that stamina to have a whole lot of wives all at the same time and then every now and then having a shot at getting a bit of leg-over when the opportunity presents itself. Heaven forbid, I get exhausted and suffer erectile dysfunction just thinking about it.

You must have an extraordinary libido and enough energy to run the Comrades Marathon, play two rugby Tests and a game or three for Bafana Bafana and then indulge in a bit of how’s-your-father with a brace of wives, all on the same day!

I would appreciate any advice you can give me on adding just a touch more energy to my lifestyle, even if it’s just enough to stop me feeling whacked just from the effort of waking up in the morning.

But, most of all, don’t dilly-dally with your next move. Not so much from the point of view of losing ground against the Pres, but because my irritable bowel and I just can’t stand the strain. Sure, some might think you are a wacko, but to me you are a wonderful marketing case history in the making.

Respectfully (except for the shower bit) yours,

Chris