Cyril Ramaphosa: A Presidency long overdue


I have noted with some trepidation at the general deterioration of what was once the first and foundational political party in Africa, the African National Congress (ANC).

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The ANC was founded in 1912 with very African and modest aspirations, at the core of its value system was the people. Hence in 1955, the ANC ractified a Freedom Charter whose cornerstone is - the people shall govern. In present day South Africa one begs the question, which people shall govern - the people in ANC?

I would like to imagine that in 1955 before anyone tasted the sweet nectar of power, "the people" were the ordinary men and women of South Africa; not merely the party leadership of ANC.

The leader Party leader  of ANC have always stirred the party towards the common center of South Africans. However, as I have written before the democratic challenges of Southern Africa coupled with corruption are turning what was once an institution ( ideal political party) to a peripheral case..



A recent agreement between ANC and several liberation parties in the Southern African region to collaborate in fighting "neocolonialism" is an example of misplaced priorities; rather than agreements that give solutions to developmental issues, there are agreements to deal with "neocolonialism." Since when do political parties reach a compromise across borders to retain power and on how to handle the opposition? There is a word for this, it is called - Totalitarianism:  a complete lock down on internal political freedom.  This is what George Orwell wrote about in his novel 1984 - a police state that enforces "thoughtcrimes." The word Cybercrimes is also an accurate way of contextualizing this.

The opposition in Africa, just like the liberation parties were, are an African phenomenon - a product of Africa's thirst for individual freedom. To say the opposition in Africa exists because of the west is to create a subculture of armed resistance like in Mozambique where RENAMO has threatened to go back to the bushes. I  am confused here: did African liberation parties fight for DEMOCRACY or was the fight for POWER? Was the fight not to replace one system (Colonial) with a democratic one, in the words of the late freedom fighters: the indomitable Josiah Magama Tongogara and the indispensable Chris Hani.


It appears that African democracy has taken a step backwards since Africa gained her independence. Totalitarianism is mistaken as a form of homegrown African democracy.

If we examine this "neocolonial" charge it does become a slippery slop towards insanity. For example, Christianity and Judaism are external to Africa; this in light of Ethiopia and other communities, like the Lemba, showing credible indigenization of these religions. According to this theory of Western Neocolonialism, the only religion that is African is Ancestral Workship. Incidentally, the only country that was never colonized is Ethiopia, who are predominately a Christian country.

There are new challenges, and the center has shifted and no longer is Apartheid the problem but developmental issues in a developing nations. And at the core is stability, peace and security in a democratic country. This is why the ANC to survive should quickly rein in deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa as President of the party, and subsequently South Africa.

Mr. Ramaphosa, a favorite of Madiba, and a known trade unionist, has business sense and an understanding of South Africa's power politics. Mr. Zuma's presidency has been characterized by an unexpected attack on the person of Mr. Zuma, as never been seen before since Verwoed, the then South African Primeir  Vervowed who came to embody Apartheid in the flesh. Even to this day when you talk of the name Verwoerd the response to any South African is that he started Apartheid and was very bad man. Concidentally, when you talk of President Zuma you hear corruption, Nkandla, Gupta etc. You don't hear of any national doctrine or philosophy, perhaps unlike Mbeki who pioneered the idea of African Renaissance. I remember listening to his Thabo Mbeki's brother's (Moletsi) speech in 1997 at Jan Smits Library Wits University, and thinking how we as South Africans were on the right path. How premature I must have been.


The vitriolic discourse in South Africa's parliament is not even worth mentioning here, but at the center of the attacks is not ANC but the head of ANC - Jacob Zuma. Indeed part of Malema's anger is targeted at President Zuma is in an individual capacity.  I never even once heard of Nelson Mandela speaking of any of the white politicians individually in such a crude manner. All this suggests that perhaps the personal leadership of Zuma, while charismatic, is not effective and is inherently divisive.

Effective leadership requires a consensus, confidence and stability. You cannot be an effective leader when people have no confidence in you.

In order not to lose something, I believe historically should continue as long as South Africa grows and develops; an institution which brought down Apartheid the couch of leadership should pass from Jacob Zuma to Cyril Ramaphosa.




Ken Tecumseh Sibanda is a South African (Transkei) born American Constitutional attorney, known affectionately as “Tecumseh,” for his writings and articles. He has written for numerous publications, in the US and South Africa, and including for “The Jerusalem Post,” in Israel.
 
He is the author of the book: International Law: Peace Accords, Tovakare Press (2015).
He has received numerous awards and citations including in 2000 at International House, for “extending International cooperation.”
 

 
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share