Never has the common expression “desperate times call for desperate measures” ever been more applicable to contemporary South African politics until this week, when ANC presidential hopeful and former African Union Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was sworn in as an Member of Parliament.
The postulated desperate move for the NDZ camp has only confirmed the public sentiment of how far Zuma is willing to go to ensure his ex-wife succeeds him. What South Africans have witnessed once again is the political patronage of Jacob Zuma in action.
The President has never disappointed in exercising his executive authority to deploy several political figures in suspicious echelons of government. Up until now, their only commonality was their selection by a cabal family, familiarly known as the Guptas.
But the Guptas have jumped ship. After their undeniable exposure of state capture complicity through the Wikileaks-style ‘Guptas Leaks’ emails and the demise of the spindoctor savages, Bell Pottinger, the scheming brothers of Uttar Pradesh have bailed the Zupta marriage in an attempt to savour what is left of their fortune.
So who is really benefiting from NDZ’s fresh credentials?
The candidate, and her ex-husband. In a bizarre Days of Our Lives storyline, Ex-wife returns to save ex-husband.
What has been much populist speculation among the electorate is the allegation that if NDZ were to win the ANC presidency in December, and go on to win in 2019, the former Minister of Home Affairs would be able to blockade any legal action against JGZ, possibly pardoning him of any wrongdoing, allowing his peaceful escape to Nkandla, or the UAE.
A more likely scenario, which has been supported by various inside sources, is that after the elective conference on condition of NDZ’s success, Jacob Zuma would step down as President of the Republic, making way for NDZ to assume the Presidency before the 2019 general.
All of this speculation strongly supported by her sudden deployment to Parliament. Sunday national weeklies last week, published reports that NDZ would be appointed to Minister of Higher Education in a possible cabinet reshuffle before December.
This paves a shining gold-brick road towards the Presidency for NDZ – no need to wait for 2019 like the rest of us.
But that’s if she can win this December.
It would be ridiculous to assume that NDZ’s deployment is simply to ensure a smooth transition of power between her former husband and herself. If this was truly the only reason, they would be taking for granted that NDZ would win in December.
Perhaps holding such a sentiment earlier this year would have been plausible but the Zuma camp have suffered blow after blow as the number of days toward the National Conference continue to decrease.
Just this weekend, Free State Premier Ace Magashule according to the Sunday Times might not support NDZ for her presidential bid, despite being a cheerleader for the the ANC hopeful since her the inception of her campaign. And let us not forget how Magashule was a staunch ally of Zuma during his campaigns for the ANC presidency in 2007 and 2012, having during the latter year delivered the support of the Free State for number 1.
Recent polls have also shown favour towards NDZ’s strongest competitor, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. CR’s campaign continues to strengthen with the speculated possibility that fellow ANC presidential hopeful and Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu will accept the offer to be CR’s deputy on his ticket.
This can only really mean that the NDZ camp has entered a period of complete panic. Ramaphosa seems to be on the way towards a smooth victory, unless the compromise candidate option of Zweli Mkhize is further explored.
Therefore, it really makes sense for NDZ to be appointed to some political office. Since her tenure as AU Chair came to an end earlier this year, she has no incumbent credential to flaunt. CR has the Deputy Presidency and Sisulu has Human Settlements and Baleka Mbete is Speaker of the House. All three have a powerful platform to stand on until at least the elective conference (unless Sisulu is dumped in the next cabinet reshuffle).
This is a failing campaign that is desperate to abuse what resources have been made available to them in order to ensure a victory for NDZ. It is a desperate move to provide the candidate with a platform to become more visible in the public eye and warm voters toward the Zuma camp’s preferred successor.
But desperation is an unattractive quality – especially when you’re trying to woo someone. Perhaps irrational decision making has already captured this campaign and will continue to doom it to a humiliating loss.
Only three months to go. Anything is possible.
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