Tag Archives: Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma Zooms Around Corruption Charges

The possibility of “imminent” corruption charges being filed against Jacob Zuma, who was elected head of the African National Congress, raised new issues concerning his bid for the presidency of South Africa. His financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, is already serving a 15 year sentence after being found guilty of taking bribes. Initial corruption charges against Zuma were halted in September, but due to a continuing vigorous investigation, it appears the basis for an indictment now exists. Acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, said, “the investigation is complete. All that we are doing now is to tie the loose ends. The investigation, with the evidence we have now, points to a case that can be taken to court.”

Zuma indicated he wanted his day in court to present his version regarding the allegations of corruption. At a press conference, he stated his willingness to work with outgoing President Thabo Mbeki, despite the acrimonious relationship between the two leaders of the African National Congress. In response to questions about Zimbabwe, Zuma made vague remarks that he continued hoping there would be changes in the collapsed nation ruled by Robert Mugabe, but he opposed sanctions against the country. “We are going to continue with quiet diplomacy.”

It is unusual for a presidential candidate in any nation have to spend time in court responding to charges of corruption. The more intriguing question is what would happen if Zuma was convicted as well as winning the election to the presidency? Could he pardon himself?

Jacob Zuma Gains African National Congress Leadership

A tumultuous African National Congress which witnessed heated arguments between supporters of outgoing President Mbeki and his rival for power, Jacob Zuma, concluded with the election of Zuma into the role of head of the African National Congress. Since the ANC is the dominant political party in South Africa, it is almost automatic that whoever it selects to be its leader will also become president of South Africa. Mbeki expressed his concerns about the character of Zuma who he believes has the potential to encourage corruption as well as many charges regarding his sexual misconduct. Zuma ran on a populist platform that promised to redress needs of those in poverty who feel left out of South Africa’s booming economy. He had strong support from trade unions and those on the political left. helen Zille, head of the opposition Democratic Alliance expressed fears that Zuma will undo the constitutional government that has evolved in South Africa and which has avoided conflict between those of African and those of white European backgrounds. She fears that Jacob Zuma has less commitment to such constitutional guarantees as freedom of the press and speech. It was notable during the ANC convention that many members of the media clashed with security guards whom they believed were trying to halt their right to report.

South Africa is Africa’s leading democratic nation and one which smoothly made the transition from being a nation controlled by whites to one in which black skinned people are the majority, but they also ensure equal rights to whites. Jacob Zuma’s reputation indicates he may not have that strong a commitment to a society based on equal rights for all. His rhetoric of populism and promises of redressing inequality can serve as a springboard for real reforms or it can be used as a springboard to stifle those of European background and cause them to leave the nation. A departure of whites would create economic chaos in South Africa since it would frighten world businessmen and make it difficult for a South African government to obtain needed financial support from the world’s banking community.

Winnie Madikzela Mandela Offers Compromise Solution

Controversial African National Congress veteran, Winnie Madikizela Mandela suggested a compromise solution to resolve the current impasse between President Mbeki and Deputy President Jacob Zuma who are vying for leadership of the ANC. She decried the extensive name-calling and growing bitterness between the two men which she believed would be destructive of the African National Congress as an institution. Her compromise proposal included:
1. Both men would retain their present positions of leadership of the ANC,
2. Jacob Zuma would receive ANC support in his bid for the presidency of South Africa.
3. “A solution would be found for the legal difficulties that confront the deputy president.”
4. A gender equity solution would be found to ensure equal rights for women in leadership.
5. Leadership of ANC would contain a diversity of viewpoints.

Ms. Mandela’s solution has several key points such as seeking equal rights for women, but one can not readily dismiss “legal difficulties” with a wave of the hand. If Jacob Zuma has legal difficulties they are best resolved in a court of law, not through manipulation of the legal system.