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What are Zuma and Mbeki lobbyists smoking?

Someone must invest in a sledgehammer and knock some sense into the heads of the supporters of Jacob Zuma for excluding President Thabo Mbeki from their list proposals for the powerful ANC national executive committee.

That person should also deal a good blow to Mbeki’s backers for doing the same with Zuma.

Turn that sledgehammer to both Zuma and Mbeki. Knock them dizzy for winking at their supporters who have embarked on these foolish efforts to purge those who are not dancing to their tunes.

You have to be dumb and must have smoked too much of the green stuff from Pondoland if you believe either Zuma or Mbeki will sulk and take a sabbatical to political oblivion should they be defeated in Limpopo.

If one of these once great leaders does win and purges the other camp, then the talks of healing the rifts in the ANC will be nothing more than just that — talks.

If this happens, then the ANC will emerge even more divided and all the bloodletting will continue to the next elective conference.

Indeed, someone must wake Zuma’s supporters from their dream that has led them to thinking their vendetta against Mbeki means South Africans will support them in their quest to dance at Mbeki’s political grave.

Mbeki has served this country and the ANC to the best of his ability. I am even tempted to say he has served with distinction, but I am disturbed by his recent behaviour, almost akin to that of a bull in a china shop.

The Mbeki-ites must also be smoking something way stronger than the president’s trademark rum and maple tobacco if they think they will go to the centenary of the ANC without Zuma in tow.

Really, what are Zuma and Mbeki supporters smoking?

Cosatu KwaZulu-Natal paved the way for this exclusion scandal when it left out Mbeki from its proposed list. Now we have a situation where people think the ANC is an organisation for pals and bosom buddies.

How, for instance, can one explain the fact that the Zuma supporters believe Cyril Ramaphosa can no longer add value to the NEC? Both teams think ANC presidential hopeful and South Africa’s first television politician Tokyo Sexwale should be out of the NEC.

The Mbeki-ites seem to have had enough of Blade Nzimande’s accusations that Mbeki leads a pack that seeks to derail the ANC from “its socialist agenda”. They won’t take a chance with Zwelinzima Vavi.

Only the gods know what the Zuma lobby plans to do with our energetic Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, if they were to take over. They booed her in KwaZulu-Natal and did the same during the Cosatu conference last year. They will not have her in their NEC.

They are not interested in the expertise of Defence Minister and party chairman Mosiuoa Lekota. He has correctly criticised the behaviour of Zuma’s supporters during his court appearance and has spoken against Zuma’s failure to reign in Zulu traditionalists in his camp.

The Mbeki-ites on the other hand will not stomach Gwede Mantashe and will not support Mathews Phosa’s spirited political comeback.

Whichever way you look at the two lists, you can’t help but picture two misguided groups seeking to rip apart the very soul of the ANC.

Both camps claim the ANC will emerge more united than ever after the conference in Limpopo.

In my view, if any of these camps is allowed to do as it pleases in the ANC, then we are all fucked because the bloodletting will continue beyond Limpopo 2007.

I believe someone will knock some sense into the lobbyists of both camps and make them realise that they need the expertise of the guys in the other camp if the party is to emerge more united. Whoever rules the ANC and runs the country will have to realise that the future of the ANC going to its centenary in 2012 should include both Zuma and Mbeki.

Any political solution, presumable brought about by a compromise candidate, that will deliver us from this mess will include both Mbeki and Zuma.

Both are currently among the most senior sons of the movement. They were both born in the struggle, as it were — Mbeki much more so than Zuma, if you will. Only a fool would downplay Sexwale’s experience in ANC politics or deny that he did in fact put his life on the line for the attainment of the freedom that we now enjoy. He is a son of the soil and has a hell of a lot more fire in his belly — he is up there in the list of leaders that will take us to the ANC centenary.

If these camps do, in fact, purge each other in the way that they seem determined to do, then we need a third way.

At this point I hope Cyril Ramaphosa is taking notes, for he is definitely one of the man who can deliver us from evil.

If he does save us from the mediocrity that we see, I hope he also gets more leaders from Limpopo into the ANC NEC and even the Cabinet. The people of Limpopo have shown their commitment to the movement over and over during the elections.

They can no longer be used as voting cattle playing second fiddle to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape in terms of influence and representation in the party.

Enough of the ethnic wars that we see in the ruling party; it’s time for the building of a new and even stronger ANC.

Ramaphosa should also take note that people like Trevor Manuel have paid their dues to the country. Uncle Sam owes Manuel a lot more than he can ever repay him. The guy can hardly put a foot wrong. He now dons the green and gold on the rugby field and I saw him effortlessly achieving the challenging feat of blowing a vuvuzela. The idea of non-racialism preached by the ruling party should go beyond the rhetoric.

In the event that Ramaphosa does not have an appetite for the presidency of the country, Manuel — I submit — is the man for the job. Imagine a combination of Manuel and Maria Ramos in the Union Buildings. Promising stuff indeed.

Now imagine other combinations and then join me in ticking next to the box marked Manuel.


  • Zukile Majova

    Zukile Majova is Head of News for YFM 99.2. He is a former Mail & Guardian Investigative Reporter. He writes politics for Sowetan Newspaper. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, [email protected], 011 280 0300 and 071 681 0192